McKeesport gets impressive victory vs. Penn-Trafford

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Friday, September 2, 2022 | 11:52 PM


It might have been youth night at Warrior Stadium, but this was big boy football.

Or was it Big Boyd football?

Running back Bobbie Boyd gave McKeesport a pronounced edge in a statement win for the Tigers.

Boyd ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns and intercepted three passes to lead the Class 4A No. 3 Tigers to a 19-7 victory over Class 5A No. 2 Penn-Trafford on Friday night in Harrison City.

The back-breaking run for Penn-Trafford came from Boyd with just more than four minutes to play.

Boyd took a handoff and bounced wide to the outside, melted off a few defenders and somehow managed to stay inbounds as he tight-roped his way to a 39-yard touchdown.

Though the extra-point attempt was no good, the Tigers (2-0) had a 19-7 advantage and their defense held tight while Penn-Trafford quarterback Conlan Greene tried to sling the Warriors back.

“I thought I was out of bounds at first,” Boyd said. “I just kept running. This is a big win for us, but we can’t get too big-headed. We have made some progress.”

Boyd has a number of Division I college offers, including from Akron, Austin Peay, Richmond, Duquesne, Robert Morris and St. Francis (Pa.).

It seems every time McKeesport and Penn-Trafford play, shoulder pads crack, helmets smack and every yard is earned.

The latest matchup was no different.

“We had to fight for that extra yardage tonight,” Boyd said. “We knew how big Penn-Trafford was up front.”

Greene, who threw for 335 yards last week against Canon-McMillan, finished 12 of 38 for 115 yards and three interceptions.

The Tigers’ defense showed out with pressure and sound play in the secondary.

“I am really happy with our kids’ effort,” McKeesport coach Matt Miller said. “Penn-Trafford is a physical team. It means a lot to come in here and come out on top. Our kids persevered.”

Penn-Trafford (1-1), plagued by penalties and out of rhythm in the passing game, could not take advantage of opportunities with the score tied 7-7.

“We were really sloppy and had some brutal penalties,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “We had way too many dropped passes. I called some bad plays. We fully expected McKeesport to be a great football team. They played physical and were tough up front. Credit to them.”

An early miscue by Penn-Trafford led to McKeesport’s opening touchdown. Tommy Kalkstein took the snap and was about to attempt a punt, but his knee inadvertently touched the ground, giving McKeesport the ball at the Warriors’ 11.

Five plays later, following a 9-yard completion from Jahmil Perryman to Ben Eastman, Boyd ran in from the 3 with a hard second effort. The score followed a series of penalties on the Tigers.

“Bobbie is a special player, and he had a special day,” Miller said.

Perryman left the game briefly after taking a hit from lineman Joe Enick, a Central Michigan recruit.

The Warriors’ Jake Otto intercepted second-string quarterback Garrett Tarker and returned it 55 yards to the end zone, but an unnecessary roughness penalty negated the score.

The Warriors still had possession and made the most of it, with Tasso Whipple breaking loose for a 24-yard touchdown to make it 7-7 with 6 minutes, 56 seconds to play in the second quarter.

Whipple ran for 75 yards on seven carries.

Penn-Trafford recovered an onside kick to open the second half. Logan Swartz did the kicking and the recovering for the Warriors, but their ensuing drive was dumped by a turnover.

Boyd intercepted Greene late in the first half, but the Tigers could not produce points despite a 30-yard run by Perryman with two seconds remaining.

“Boyd was awesome,” Ruane said. “He is every bit as advertised.”

Boyd intercepted Greene again midway through the third, and the Tigers grinded their way downfield to take the lead. Boyd carried five times on a seven-play drive, including the capper: a 4-yard touchdown run.

Perryman connected with 6-4, 220-pound Ahmir Culmer for a 30-yard gain — somehow. A Penn-Trafford defender tipped the ball, but it landed in the arms of Culmer, who was nearly flat on his back.

The extra point was no good, so the Tigers led 13-7.

Culmer caught three passes for 76 yards. Daniel Tarabrella had a game-high five receptions for 50 yards.

Shayne McGraw was disruptive defensively for the Tigers as he forced Greene to throw under duress. He had six tackles and a sack.

Devin Long led the Tigers with nine tackles.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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