Peters Township wins rematch with Moon in WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinal
Friday, November 8, 2019 | 10:17 PM
When Peters Township lost to Moon in the regular season, Josh Casilli’s stat line read: one catch, six yards.
His role changed dramatically in the rematch.
The Penn recruit totaled 183 yards from scrimmage and scored twice Friday night as No. 5 Peters Township defeated No. 4 Moon, 33-7, in a WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinal at West Allegheny. The senior wide receiver touched the football 17 times (15 carries, two catches) and once led the team on an 11-play, 98-yard touchdown drive as the Indians relied heavily on his wildcat quarterback skills.
“As coaches you sit back and think, ‘This kid is going to be gone next year. Let’s give him the ball,’” Peters Township coach T.J. Plack said. “He wants the ball. Let’s not try to out-coach ourselves. Give the ball to the kid who can make plays.”
The result was a reversal from Week 6, when Moon (9-3) won 21-13, handing Peters Township (11-1) its only loss.
“I assumed we’d see a little more Josh Casilli tonight, just to get the ball in his hands,” Moon coach Ryan Linn said. “The kid is a stud. He made them go.”
Casilli rushed for 129 yards and added 54 yards receiving. He scored on a 52-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard catch. But he wasn’t a one-man offense.
Running back Ryan Magiske scored twice on short runs and wide receiver Aidan McCall caught a 48-yard touchdown as the Indians scored the first 33 points in the rematch of Allegheny Eight Conference co-champions.
Moon was held scoreless into the fourth quarter.
“Sometimes it does take a loss to refocus us,” Plack said. “Ever since that game (on Oct. 4) we’ve been energized. The kids have refocused themselves. This is exactly who we are. It wasn’t who we were before.”
The win takes Peters to the semifinals for the second year in a row. The Indians will face top-seeded Penn-Trafford (11-1) next Friday at a site to be determined.
“Coach knew what we did wrong (in Week 6),” Casilli said. “He just wanted to get us the ball to make plays. That’s what we did.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Peters Township scored 21 in the second when Magiske, Casilli and McCall ended three consecutive possessions with touchdowns.
The first touchdown drive started with the Indians backed up to their own 2-yard line. With Casilli taking direct snaps, they moved 98 yards with help from all three playmaking seniors. The drive finished with a 7-yard touchdown run by Magiske.
“They did to us what we’ve done to pretty much everybody,” Linn said. “They ran the ball downhill and dictated the tempo and pace and physicality.”
Peters Township’s next possession was quick. Casilli took a direct snap on first down and sprinted 52 yards to the end zone. McCall later added a 48-yard touchdown catch just before halftime to lead 21-0.
“We want to get five, two and 35 the ball on every play,” said Plack, naming Casilli, McCall and Magiske by their jersey numbers. “That was the game plan. Those guys can make plays.”
Magiske added a 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Casilli caught a 31-yarder in the fourth to lead 33-0. Peters quarterback Logan Pfeuffer completed 9 of 13 passes for 144 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Moon’s pass rush wasn’t nearly as disruptive as it was in Week 6, when Pfeuffer went 6 for 23 passing. Quick passes and Casilli’s wildcat runs successfully slowed the Tigers rush.
Moon’s only touchdown was on a 15-yard catch by Jeremiah Dean with 7:47 left
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .