Trib HSSN football team of the week for 2023 Week 2

Monday, September 11, 2023 | 6:27 PM

Thankfully this “streaking” thing that the Waynesburg football team has grown accustomed to has nothing to do with the crazy fad from 50 years ago.

The Raiders put to rest an ugly 13-game losing streak, including a winless 2022 season, when they won in Week Zero.

Now the script has flipped and Waynesburg has won three straight games to begin the 2023 campaign.

“A lot of the credit goes to my coaching staff and my kids,” Waynesburg third-year coach Aaron Giorgi said. “It’s a tremendous coaching staff, and the kids believe. That’s all we can ask for, is that they show up every day, play hard and believe.”

Giorgi credits new offensive coordinator Kevin Bromley, who brought in a more wide-open passing offense, and the players have taken to it.

“He worked with them this summer and got the kids ready for 7-on-7 and the kids learned how to compete,” Giorgi said. “They had success in 7-on-7s, which is carrying over now to the regular season.”

Not only are Giorgi and his staff turning the program around, they are doing so in dramatic fashion.

In the first three games in 2022, Waynesburg lost to Carmichaels, Jefferson-Morgan and California by a combined score of 100-15.

In the first three games this season against the same three schools, the Raiders are 3-0 and have outscored the Mighty Mikes, Rockets and Trojans 81-16.

Giorgi said the kids kept coming and working hard last season and in the offseason, and it’s great that their efforts are paying off.

In Week 2 against 2-0 California, Waynesburg relied on its one-two punch on offense.

Junior quarterback Jacob Stephenson was 5 of 6 passing for 107 yards and two touchdowns while senior running back Breydon Woods rushed for 203 yards on 15 carries and scored on a 71-yard run.

Stephenson has thrown for 300 yards and four touchdowns in the three wins while Woods, who missed all of last season due to injury, has rushed for 475 yards and two scores.

Giorgi feels those two have been able to accomplish what they have thanks in part to a much improved and stronger line up front.

After a perfect first three weeks, there is genuine excitement in Waynesburg about this Raiders team, which opens up Class 2A Century Conference play Friday at home against Keystone Oaks (1-2).

“It’s a wonderful place to be on a Friday in Waynesburg,” Giorgi said. “The student section always comes out, and we have the support of the band, cheerleaders and administrators. These kids really believe in themselves and really feel they belong on the same field with a lot of these teams we’re playing.”

Week 2 honorable mention

Canon-McMillan Big Macs

After losing their Class 6A opener in Week 1 to defending champion North Allegheny, Canon-McMillan was staring at a near must-win game, even though we aren’t even midway through September. With only two Class 6A games left after Week 2, the Big Macs rose to the occasion in grand style at home against Seneca Valley. Senior quarterback Michaels Evans was 11 of 15 passing for 164 yards with a touchdown pass and scoring run as the Big Macs blanked the Raiders, 38-0.

Belle Vernon Leopards

After starting last season 1-2, Belle Vernon went on to win WPIAL and PIAA gold and has now built the longest current winning streak in the WPIAL at 13 straight thanks to a thrilling win in Week 2. The Leopards lost to McKeesport in Week 2 last season, 14-6, but turned the tables thanks to senior quarterback Braden Laux, who connected on 13 of 21 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, then scored the game winner in overtime on a 3-yard run as Belle Vernon edged McKeesport, 21-14.

Knoch Knights

Huge turnaround seasons have been a legit story this season. Waynesburg goes from winless to 3-0 while Knoch, which won one game last season, is also 3-0 thanks to an eyebrow-raising victory this past Friday. It was nice when the Knights beat Hampton and Indiana at home, but how would they do against Class 2A power Beaver Falls on the road? Quite nicely, thank you, as junior quarterback Codi Mullen threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns as the Knights stunned the Tigers, 28-24.

2023 Trib HSSN football teams of the week

Week 1 – Aliquippa Quips

Week Zero – Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils


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