Trib HSSN football team of the week for Week 7
Monday, October 26, 2020 | 10:45 PM
After the result came in Friday and fans throughout the WPIAL raised a collective eyebrow, one had to wonder what McKeesport coach Matt Miller said to motivate his Tigers prior to their big Class 4A Big Eight Conference showdown at Thomas Jefferson.
“Nothing different than any other game,” Miller said. “Our kids were aware of that, and they rose to the occasion.”
Rose indeed, to heights few Jaguars opponents get a chance to.
The Week 7 stunner in which McKeesport went to Thomas Jefferson and beat the defending champions, 20-14, earned the Tigers a three-way share of the Big Eight title with TJ and Belle Vernon.
“We had to play very good defense and win the turnover battle,” Miller said. “Fortunately, we were able to do that.”
The game was scoreless in the second quarter when McKeesport senior quarterback Terrance Glenn raced untouched 85 yards up the middle of the field for a Tigers touchdown.
“It was a huge play,” Miller said. “It’s always good to score first in a big game, but we knew we had to keep playing a lot of football. I never feel comfortable until the clock hits zero.”
Miller’s comfort level may have increased a tad when McKeesport scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to lead 20-0 heading into the fourth.
Glenn again scored on a 3-yard run while junior Caleb Reist broke off another long run and scored from 45 yards out for the Tigers.
While McKeesport did yield a pair of scores in the fourth quarter, its defense has been a big part of its success at 6-1 overall.
After giving up 47 total points in an opening-night loss to Belle Vernon and a win the next week over New Castle, the Tigers have allowed a combined 48 points these last five games.
What was the key to the team’s defensive improvement?
“Gang tackling and everyone getting to the ball,” Miller said.
Miller said the team’s run to a share of the conference championship was a total team effort but pointed out some of the key performers.
“Wow, so many players contribute. Terrence Glenn leads in rushing and plays multiple positions,” he said. “He led us to two early victories at quarterback. Defensively, we were sound all season long as a unit.
“Two sophomores are doing an outstanding job in Jahmil Perryman and Bobbie Boyd as has our senior linebacker core of Assad and Andre Robinson, Blaze Grabowsky and Devontae Hampton.”
As McKeesport prepares for the postseason, Miller believes the strength of the Big Eight will help his team much like playing in the Big East did the last few years.
“The conference was very challenging,” he said. “I also believe iron sharpens iron. Hopefully, it will pay dividends with a deep playoff run.”
The playoffs for the Tigers start with a quarterfinal visit to Plum to face the undefeated champion of the Greater Allegheny Conference. The Mustangs are old Quad East and recently Big East Conference rivals of McKeesport.
“They look like an undefeated football team,” Miller said. “They have numerous athletes on offense and aggressive players on defense.”
2020 HSSN Team of the Week
Week 6 – Elizabeth Forward Warriors
Week 5 – Aliquippa Quips
Week 4 – Serra Catholic Eagles
Week 3 – Avella Eagles
Week 2 – Peters Township Indians
Week 1 – Chartiers Valley Colts
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