Defense, running game carry Peters Township past West Allegheny

Saturday, September 14, 2019 | 12:03 AM

After shutting out two of its first three opponents, Peters Township relied heavily on its defense and rushing attack to get another big win in conference play Friday night.

Senior running back Ryan Magiske led the rushing attack for Class 5A No. 2 Peters Township with 151 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns and the Indians defense limited West Allegheny to 120 yards of total offense in a 23-7 win in Class 5A Allegheny Eight Conference play at Peters Township Stadium.

“It’s three conference wins. It’s one step closer to playoffs. Any conference win, especially over a storied program like Upper St. Clair, Woodland Hills and now West Allegheny, are great wins,” Peters Township coach T.J. Plack said.

Even with Peters Township (4-0, 3-0) playing well on defense, West Allegheny (1-2, 1-2) had an opportunity to make it a one-score ballgame with less than eight minutes left in the game.

With the score 17-7, West Allegheny junior running back Nico Flati ran 27 yards down the left sideline to take the ball to the Peters Township 17.

Two plays later, Flati took a bad snap out of the wildcat and was tackled at the 34. West Allegheny couldn’t convert on the long fourth-down play and turned it over on downs.

“It has been all year that mistakes have killed us,” West Allegheny coach Chris Lucas said. “We cut way down on the mistakes from last week. It just seems like when we’re in a crucial moment, we have that mistake come up and we have to eliminate that.”

Peters Township capitalized on the West Allegheny miscue two plays later when junior quarterback Logan Pfeuffer connected with senior wide receiver Josh Casilli, who was held in check most of the night, for a 67-yard touchdown pass to give the Indians a 23-7 stranglehold on the game.

“We like our odds with 5 (Casilli),” Plack said. “We targeted him a couple times earlier. We just tried to take a shot. We like any play with 5 in it. We were trying to get the ball to him as quick as possible and he was able to outrun the defense.”

After a sluggish start for both teams, Peters Township got on the board first when Magiske capped off an 11-play drive with a 7-yard run with 35 seconds to go in the first quarter.

Sophomore kicker Andrew Massucci hit a 37-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the half to give the Indians a 10-0 lead.

The Peters Township defense held West Allegheny to 30 yards of total offense and two first downs in the first half.

Plack called for a fake punt near midfield on the first drive of the second half, but Peters Township fell one yard short.

West Allegheny took over at Peters Township’s 49-yard line and Flati finished a nine-play drive off with a 4-yard run to make it 10-7 with over five minutes left in the third.

“If it works out, you’re a great coach and it’s a great play call, but if it doesn’t, who knows what is going to happen? The team bailed me out,” Plack said.

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