Peters Township defeats Upper St. Clair in Allegheny 8 opener

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Saturday, August 31, 2019 | 8:45 AM


Peters Township used a pair of scores from Josh Casilli to knock off Upper St. Clair, 29-21, in the teams’ WPIAL Class 5A Allegheny 8 Conference opener Friday night.

The No. 2-ranked Indians (2-0, 1-1) started fast with a long return from Aidan McCall on the opening kickoff. Peters Township’s drive ended at the 1-yard line when Ryan Magiske was stopped just short of the end zone. The field position hurt Upper St. Clair as Luke Banbury was tackled for a safety on the next play, and Peters Township led 2-0.

The Indians scored the game’s first touchdown after the ensuing free kick. Quarterback Logan Pfeuffer found Josh Casilli open in the end zone from 33 yards, and after Andrew Massucci added the extra point, the Indians led 9-0.

“I had a choice route there and the defensive back bit on the play action, and I was able to get behind him,” Casilli said.

The Panthers got their first touchdown on a fourth-down conversion early in the second quarter. Quarterback Ethan Dahlem rolled right and threw toward Brandon Shearer at the near pylon. Shearer made a great catch and was able to tip-toe the boundary to make the score 9-7.

Peters had the answer and again it was Casilli, this time using his legs. The senior wide receiver lined up at quarterback in the wildcat formation and scampered to paydirt from 10 yards.

“They put me back there at quarterback on a read option,” Casilli said. “I found some space and cut back for the touchdown.”

Although he had run the wildcat before, the play came as a surprise to Casilli.

“Last year we implemented it, but I didn’t know if we were going to do it this year,” he said. “Coach Plack just told me I’m in, and it worked.”

Peters Township took a 23-7 lead in the third quarter when Magiske scored on a 1-yard run. Upper St. Clair struck back one play later. David Pantelis took a short pass from Dahlem, found a seam and raced 84 yards to the end zone. The 2-point conversion pass was no good and the lead was 23-13 Peters Township.

The Indians focused on ball control on their next drive, taking over 6 minutes off the clock before Pfeuffer found McCall on a 26-yard scoring strike as Peters Township led 29-13.

The Panthers (1-1, 0-1) struck quickly again with an answer. Two plays later, Dahlem hit Mateo Cepullio for 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown. This time, Dahlem found Pantelis for the 2-point conversion and Upper St. Clair pulled with 8 points with 9:17 left.

Peters Township was forced to punt and Upper St. Clair got the ball back with about 4 minutes remaining. The Panthers drove into Peters Township territory, but a sack and a penalty brought up a fourth and long. Dahlem found Pantelis on fourth and 35, and the junior receiver made a great effort but ended up 2 yards short of the first down marker. Peters Township ran out the clock to finish out the 29-21 victory.

“The loss last year left a bad taste in our mouth,” Casilli said of a 16-14 loss. “It’s nice to get a win, especially in the conference opener.”

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