Top-ranked Moon edges Peters Township to stay undefeated

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Saturday, October 9, 2021 | 3:12 PM


The difference between the first half and the second half of the Moon at Peters Township Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference football game was night and day.

Literally.

Both halves were tight throughout and the game that started Friday evening and ended Saturday morning came down to a little Tigers trickery and a big defensive stand as top-ranked Moon remained undefeated with a hard-fought, 29-26 victory over host Peters Township.

“It was different,” Moon coach Ryan Linn said of the game being played over two days. “We have a senior-laden team that is very mature. We talked to our kids and told them they have a job to finish. They did a great job (Saturday); they battled through some adversity.”

Both teams exchanged first and second quarter touchdowns with both defenses and special teams playing a key part.

Moon scored on a Taite Beachy 39-yard touchdown pass from Tyler McGowan that came on the first play after a strip-sack by the Tigers defense.

A Peters Township fumble recovery set up its first touchdown, and with the Indians leading 13-7 with 9 seconds remaining in the first half, Moon blocked a punt for a touchdown to take a 14-13 lead into the half.

A couple of minutes into the third quarter lightning first delayed the game, and then suspended it until Saturday morning.

While the first half featured big plays on defense, both offenses came to life and had success when play resumed Saturday.

“I think when you sleep on some things after you see it first hand, its like a long halftime,” Peters Township coach T.J. Plack said. “You make some adjustments that really helped out the offenses.”

First, Moon extended its lead on another McGowan to Beachy strike, this one for 34 yards to put the Tigers ahead 21-13.

However, Peters Township, a WPIAL finalist the last two years, answered with a Rich Woods 17-yard run. The Indians went for the two-point conversion, but quarterback Sam Miller was hit when he tried to throw and fumbled as the attempt to tie the game failed.

Late in the third quarter, the Indians hit on a big play as Miller found Jacob Macosko along the sidelines, and a couple of broken tackles later, the PT senior was streaking into the end zone on a 61-yard scoring play.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Moon drove inside the Peters Township 5-yard line, but a couple of losses on run plays set up a critical third-and-goal for the Tigers.

Moon dialed up the ‘Tigers special.”

McGowan handed the ball off to senior running back Dylan Sleva who then pitched the ball on a reverse to senior tight end Ben Bladel, who rolled to his right and found McGowan in the end zone for what would be the winning touchdown.

“We ran it for the last four years, and we’ve scored 4 for 4 on it,” Linn said. “The kids make fun of (Bladel) saying, Ben’s going to pump fake it. Well thank goodness he pumped faked it today and was able to hit Ty in the back of the end zone; it was huge.”

The play wasn’t without a little controversy. On the Peters Township side of the field, coaches felt McGowan had stepped out of bounds to avoid traffic to finish his pattern in the end zone and they thought Bladel may have stepped past the line of scrimmage at the 7-yard line.

Down 29-26 after a McGowan to Bladel two-point conversion pass, Peters Township started a drive at its own 25-yard line and marched it to the Moon 31 in the waning minutes of regulation.

After a Miller 3-yard run, the Indians QB was sacked by Bladel on second down at the Tigers 36. A couple of incomplete passes and Moon was celebrating its closest victory of the season.

“You have to bring you’re A-game,” Linn said. “We try to tell the kids, you’re going to get everybody’s best game week in and week out.”

The win for Moon (7-0, 2-0) sets up a big clash next week at home when it battles Upper St. Clair (2-0, 4-3).

“Upper St. Clair is going to be a big test next week,” Linn said. “Then Bethel’s 2-0, so it’s a grind. It’s five weeks of the best ball you can play.”’

Peters Township (4-3, 0-2) must regroup before a visit to Bethel Park on Friday.

“A game like this, back-and-forth, four touchdowns against four touchdowns, we had a blocked extra point and we went for two to even the score and didn’t get that, that’s the difference in the game,” Plack said of Peters Township’s first home conference loss since October 2017. “It’s been the story of our guys; they’re inexperienced and inconsistent. You can’t win games being inconsistent.”

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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