Trib HSSN football player of the week for 2023 Week 3

Sunday, September 17, 2023 | 10:00 PM

Throwing for more than 200 yards in a high school game is solid. Rushing for more than 200 yards in a game is a very good night at the office.

To accomplish both in one game is rare air.

It is safe to say Trinity sophomore quarterback Jonah Williamson had a whale of a game in Week 3 as the Hillers edged Connellsville, 42-41.

“Jonah is a special athlete who does great things with his legs and his arm,” second-year Trinity coach Dan Knause said. “He’s an intelligent quarterback and does a lot for us in the run and pass game. He was calm and cool and controlled the game.”

It wasn’t easy to control one of the wildest WPIAL games this season as Trinity and Connellsville went back and forth until the final whistle.

Williamson rushed for 233 yards on 23 carries and scored on touchdowns runs of 32, 42 and 35. His last scoring run came midway through the fourth quarter with the Hillers trailing 41-36.

“We are a QB run offense,” Knause said. “Our first two games, he was done playing at halftime. A lot of what we do is read run game. He distributes the ball extremely well in both facets of the game. With our starting running back out, we knew he’d have more involvement in the run game. He’s big, strong and fast. That combination makes him special in the run game.”

Williamson was special in the passing game as well, connecting on 12 of 14 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns, two to Luke LaCock of 42 and 35 yards and one to Dante DeRubbo of 32 yards.

The emotional victory improved the Hillers to 1-0 in the Class 4A Big Eight Conference and 3-1 overall.

A year ago, Trinity missed the playoffs, finishing fifth with a 2-4 record in the seven-team conference, 4-6 overall.

“Last season he was a freshman,” Knause said. “It’s rare to start a freshman at quarterback, but he was mature and physically ready. The big difference is we’ve expanded his responsibilities due to experience. Jonah is smart and reads defenses well. His football IQ is high. It’s like having a coach on the field.”

Trinity will need all the help it can get in Week 4 if it is to remain undefeated in conference play. The Hillers hit the road to battle a McKeesport team that had the same 1-0, 3-1 record.

“We love the challenge of playing McKeesport,” Knause said. “They are a traditional power of the WPIAL. They have big, strong, fast kids and are well coached. Our players took Peters Township to the limit for three and a half quarters. We were disappointed in the result, but that game showed our kids winning against the elite is not easy.

“We need to be strong in all three phases. We are proud to coach our team and love the effort these kids bring on a daily basis. We will need to have a great Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before we battle on Friday. We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to play a WPIAL power.”

WPIAL Week 3 Honorable Mentions

Zachary Welsh, Canon-McMillan

A lot of the limelight from the success Canon-McMillan has enjoyed the last few years has been mostly on the strong play of senior quarterback Michael Evans. His passing has helped the Big Macs become a yearly playoff contender in Class 6A. However, in Week 3, Canon-Mac proved it can do damage on the ground thanks to senior running back Welsh, who rushed for 240 yards and scored two second-half touchdowns as the Big Macs cruised past rival Bethel Park, 28-8.

Cam Walter and Scoop Smith, Woodland Hills

A one-two 10th-grade punch through the air for Woodland Hills held up in their 5A Northeast Conference opener at North Hills. Barely. Quarterback Walter connected on 16 of 21 passes for 262 yards and touchdown tosses of 88, 18 and 5 yards, all to Smith, who ended up with 10 receptions for 210 yards as the Wolverines held off the Indians, 21-20, on a late fourth quarter failed 2-point conversion pass.

Braylon Thomas, Union

Week 3 of the 2023 WPIAL football season began with a rare Thursday night game, and the defending Class A champs and their quarterback shined bright in prime time. Thomas hurt visiting Shenango with his arm and his legs, connecting on 14 of 20 passes for 187 yards and four touchdowns — 22 and 3 yards to Grayson Blakley and 19 and 16 yards to Dayne Johnke — plus he rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown as the Scotties beat the Wildcats, 40-8.

2023 HSSN Players of the Week

Week 2: Jake Wolfe, Montour

Week 1: Bruce Giles, Connellsville

Week Zero: Cameron Epps, South Allegheny


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