Fast start helps No. 1 Steel Valley take down No. 3 East Allegheny

Saturday, October 14, 2017 | 12:51 AM

In a WPIAL Three Rivers Conference matchup between two of the top-ranked teams in the their classification, No. 1 Steel Valley utilized its stiff defense and athletic, versatile offense to defeat No. 3 East Allegheny, 34-13, and re-establish its stronghold in Class 2A.

In the first half, the Ironmen (6-0, 4-0) put the lock down on the high-powered Wildcats' offense and opening a 20-0 lead by halftime.

Senior safety Trevon Adams was key in helping to put the clamps on East Allegheny star T.J. Banks, who finished with four receptions for 84 yards but only accrued one rush for 4 yards in the first half.

“We knew we'd be able to match up with them, athlete-wise. Schematically, we had to do things a little bit differently because of their offensive scheme. You don't want to stay in a scheme that opens things up for them,” Steel Valley coach Rod Steele said.

“We had to make some adjustments; we did some different thing on defense tonight.”

Defense wasn't an issue for Steel Valley, and neither was scoring on offense. Besides his standout defensive performance, Adams contributed 86 yards on nine carries and added 22 yards and a touchdown on two receptions.

Freshman quarterback Ronnell Lawrence, in his second start filling in for Trey Karfelt, who has a sprained knee, completed 6 of 15 passes for 102 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

“I think he managed the game well,” Steele said. “We had a couple of delay of game penalties, which I don't like. This kid has only been in there three times. He's a ninth grader. If that's the worst of it, I'll take it. He manages the game well for us.”

Kameron Williams tallied 72 yards and two touchdowns on 14 rushes for Steel Valley, and chipped in two receptions for 9 yards and another score. Amonte Strothers caught two passes for 71 yards and one touchdown.

On the other sideline, East Allegheny (5-2, 4-1) eventually found its groove with its passing attack in the fourth quarter. Before then, Ambre Hunter scored the team's only touchdown on a 39-yard interception return.

Khyree Marshall eventually scored the Wildcats' second touchdown of the night on a 2-yard run, but it was clear the team's offense went with the play of quarterback Tamaine Underwood, who was 15 of 32 for 187 yards.

Banks finished with four receptions for 84 yards, most of which came in the fourth quarter. Dan Kasmier also reeled in four passes for 78 yards.

Despite the loss, East Allegheny coach Dom Pecora remained undeterred after the game, saying he still likes his team's chances against anyone.

“I'll go to war with my kids,” Pecora said. “Put me in a foxhole with T.J. Banks every single time, and we'll come out of it. Put me in a foxhole with Jake Jenkins and Tamaine Underwood, put me in a foxhole with any of these guys, and we'll come out of it. I don't care who we play. Is Steel Valley good? Yeah, they're real good. They haven't lost in 21 games for a reason. But I still think we can measure up with anybody.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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