Trib HSSN Football Team of the Week for Sept. 13, 2021

Monday, September 13, 2021 | 7:45 PM

The nonconference portion of the 2021 McKeesport football schedule has been like a box of mixed chocolates: Each one is different from the other and no two are alike.

The Tigers have gone from Class 6A Baldwin to very athletic and run-oriented Woodland Hills to pass-happy Armstrong.

Thus far, each opponent has been successfully digested.

“Yeah, it was three totally different teams,” McKeesport coach Matt Miller said. “It will help us as the season progresses, to know what we do well and what needs work, and we definitely need to improve.

“But it is real nice to be 3-0.”

Trailing by four points at halftime, McKeesport rallied for a pair of second-half scores to win at previously unbeaten Armstrong, 24-14.

After Tigers starting senior quarterback Caleb Reist went down before halftime of the Woodland Hills game with an injury, senior Jacob Miller has stepped in and the offense hasn’t skipped a beat.

Miller threw for 66 yards, and he was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 128 yards and a touchdown.

“Jake did amazing. We have total confidence in his ability,” Matt Miller said. “He helped us win the last two weeks. He did a great job leading us.”

The River Hawks defense did a nice job slowing down one of the district’s top running backs in Bobbie Boyd, limiting the junior to 57 yards on 17 carries.

However, Jacob Miller, senior Kanye Thompson and senior Keyshawn Humphries combined to gain 268 yards on the ground with two touchdowns.

“It was great to see other players step up,” Matt Miller said. “It was not a surprise. We all know that Perryman, Thompson and Miller and the rest of our guys are capable of making a big play every time they touch the ball.”

The key play for McKeesport came in the third quarter when Thompson ripped off a 64-yard scoring run that put the Tigers in the lead to stay.

“Kanye Thompson’s run was huge,” Matt Miller said. “He was given a nice hole to run through, then he made a guy miss and he was off to the races. It was a big score, and then our defense settled down and made some big stops late.”

The Tigers defense held one of the WPIAL’s leading passers this season in check. Armstrong junior quarterback Cadin Olsen connected on only 13 of 26 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

“Olsen is really good,” Matt Miller said. “He hurt us with his legs. We did a good job of putting some pressure on him and did a nice job in coverage. We made some different adjustments, played some more base defense and that limited their screens and quarterback scrambles.

“It was a great defensive effort.”

Now, a treat from a different state is the Week 3 opponent and the final tune-up for McKeesport before it begins Class 4A Big Eight Conference play as the Tigers battle Canisius from the Buffalo, N.Y., area.

“Canisius will pose a big challenge for our team,” Matt Miller said. “We have to travel up to Edinboro and play a New York powerhouse program. I’m excited about the challenge, and it will be good to see our guys have another style to go against.”

2021 HSSN Team of the Week

Week 2 – Shaler Titans

Week 1 – Northgate Flames


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