Westinghouse tops University Prep, but ‘made too many mistakes’ for state title aspirations

Friday, September 15, 2023 | 1:16 AM

Westinghouse sophomore Kyshawn Robinson scored twice and senior Sincere Shannon forced a fumble with a strip sack, but neither was all too happy.

Their team won Thursday night at Cupples Stadium, defeating City League foe University Prep, 34-18, but the Bulldogs were mostly concerned with the mistakes they’d made.

Specifically, it was the penalties.

“We didn’t play our best football today,” said Shannon, a two-way starter on the line. “We made too many mistakes. I think they said we had more than 100 yards in penalties. We can’t do that. It’s unacceptable.”

Here’s why.

Westinghouse (4-0, 2-0) knows it’s talented enough to overcome multiple mistakes and win most City League games. The Bulldogs are the defending City League champions, but after reaching the state finals last fall, they’re chasing that statewide goal again.

“Of course, we respect every city opponent and we respect the City League championship,” Westinghouse coach Donta Green said. “It’s still a big thing for us, a milestone, but all that our kids talk about is making it back to Cumberland Valley.”

So, rather than compare themselves with the team across the field, Green encourages his Bulldogs to measure their efforts each week with what they needed a year ago to reach the state finals.

In that test, they felt they’d come up short

“We tell them all the time, and it’s no disrespect to anyone we play, but everybody is a ‘gray’ face,” Green said. “It doesn’t matter who we face. … If it’s a midget league team or the Pittsburgh Steelers, we have to do what we do, and do it at a high level.”

Against University Prep (2-2, 1-0), Westinghouse rushed 38 times for 248 yards in the first three quarters before pulling its starters for the fourth. Running back Ty Abram had 95 rushing yards on 11 carries, including a 33-yard touchdown run. Robinson had 52 yards on 10 carries with TDs covering 1 and 6 yards.

They scored on five of their first seven possessions, but also were penalized eight times in that span.

“We didn’t play our best brand of football,” Robinson said. “Of course, we put up more points on the scoreboard, but we didn’t win our game. Coach says every week we’ve got to get better. We got a little bit better, but we could’ve got a lot better.”

Still, on their opening possession, Westinghouse marched 82 yards in 13 plays, including 12 runs. The drive ended with Robinson’s 6-yard touchdown run, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead they never lost.

Westinghouse’s Laimon Bates added 53 yards on three carries, including a 28-yard touchdown run late in the third to lead 34-12.

“Our program prides itself on defense, but we can’t stop the run right now,” University Prep coach Lou Berry said. “It doesn’t really matter who the opponent is. We’ve got to get back to stopping the run.”

Trailing 7-0, University Prep answered with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Max Qureshi to Malik McDougal late in the first quarter, but the two-point conversion run failed.

Qureshi completed 21 of 37 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. He also was sacked four times, including twice by Shannon, who forced and recovered a fumble.

Westinghouse extended its lead to 21-6 with two touchdowns in the second quarter. Taymir O’Neal caught an 82-yard touchdown from Khalil Green, and Abram finished the next possession with a 33-yard TD run.

University Prep responded before halftime with a 65-yard drive, ending with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Qureshi to Daniel Cain. Cain had 10 catches for 134 yards.

Qureshi connected with Xair Stevenson for a 3-yard touchdown pass in the fourth.

“We have talent,” Berry said. “We have a lot of skill. And I feel we have the senior leadership that we’ll be around in postseason play. But walking off this field tonight, against certain teams, you have to earn everything you get.”

After leading 21-12 at half, Westinghouse scored twice in the third quarter. Robinson had a 1-yard touchdown run and Bates added his 33-yarder.

“We showed flashes of what we could be,” Shannon said. “I think we’re going to put it all together. We’re going to come together when it matters most.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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