Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week for Week Zero
Sunday, August 25, 2019 | 10:33 PM
Connellsville junior running back Ky’Ron Craggette had a win in Week Zero on his “bucket” list.
Craggette spent his first two years in high school playing at Uniontown. His Red Raiders lost in their season opener the last two years to Connellsville in the long time battle for the old Coal Bucket between the two Fayette County schools.
This summer, Craggette transferred to Connellsville, putting a little more spice in Friday’s contest between the Falcons and Red Raiders.
“He never really came out and said it all week,” Connellsville coach Marko Thomas said. “But he is a competitor and you know that he was fired up to play this game. You couldn’t wipe the smile away from his face after the game.”
Craggette could finally kick the bucket after he rushed for 235 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 65, 67 and 10 yards in leading Connellsville to a 42-17 victory at Uniontown.
“Ky’Ron played exactly how we felt he could,” Thomas said. “We have played against him the previous two years and knew he was something special. He was able to show off his strength and speed all night long, often dragging players along with him, then breaking away from everyone.
“When we needed a big play, we knew that we could count on him to put the offense on his shoulders.”
Thomas believes the strength of Craggette’s game is his strength.
“His legs never stop churning,” Thomas said. “You may think you have him, but if you try to wrap him up high, he can take you for a ride.”
While Craggette carried the load in Week Zero for the Falcons on offense, Thomas liked what he saw on the other side of the ball from his team.
“I believe our defense was able to step up when needed, stopping Uniontown three times deep in our own zone,” he said.
So what about this Coal Bucket?
Before Connellsville opens Class 5A Foothills Conference play at home against McKeesport in Week 1, they will savor their trophy and nice start to the 2019 season.
“It’s bragging rights for Connellsville until we meet again,” Thomas said. “The players and community really rally around the game. This was the 84th meeting between the two schools, and we had a great crowd show up to support the team. The players take pride in keeping the Coal Bucket, especially because they did not want to be the group that gives it away.”
Thomas admits there is a chance the bucket may have found a permanent home.
“With realignment looming, we don’t really know if or when we will play each other again,” he said.
WPIAL Week Zero Honorable Mentions:
Zuriah Fisher – Aliquippa
When he wasn’t harassing Clairton quarterback Brendan Parsons, Aliquippa senior linebacker Zuriah Fisher was turning defense into instant offense for the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A champion Quips.
The Division I recruit twice picked up Parsons fumbles and returned them for long touchdowns.
The first was a 48-yard return near the end of the first quarter that broke a scoreless tie in a quarter that had been dominated by the host Bears.
The second was a 45-yard thing of beauty. He picked up the loose pigskin with one hand while using his other to stiff arm would be tacklers before heading to the sidelines where plenty of teammates helped him into the end zone for a back-breaking score in the third quarter of a 35-14 triumph for Aliquippa.
Teddy Ruffner – Mars
You’ll excuse Mars for ruffing it in Week Zero.
The Fightin’ Planets unveiled their latest version of the Wing-T offense on Friday, and the reviews were two thumbs up nearly 200 yards later.
Junior Teddy Ruffner rushed for 197 yards and scored three first-half touchdowns on runs of 35, 14 and 84 yards as Mars ruined the debut of Rod Steele as West Mifflin coach in a 28-6 win over the Titans.
David Altimore – Greensburg Central Catholic
It wasn’t a perfect start for Greensburg Central Catholic quarterback David Altimore, but it was pretty close.
The junior first year starter hit on 7 of 9 passes for 146 yards with some big strikes that went the distance for the Centurions.
Altimore connected on a 7-yard pass to Ben LaCarte that put GCC up for good in the second quarter.
The Centurions quarterback then found Brandon Brown on touchdown passes of 61 and 23 yards, and Greensburg Central Catholic won 21-18 over Monessen in the coaching debut of Bret Colbert.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.