WPIAL football player of the week — Week 10
Sunday, November 3, 2019 | 10:11 PM
For most of Friday’s WPIAL Class 5A first-round playoff game, it looked like Baldwin would pull off the road upset as the No. 11 seed and celebrate the school’s first football playoff win in 28 years.
However, McKeesport quarterback Devari Robinson had other ideas, and his second-half heroics kept another postseason streak intact.
Robinson rushed for 235 yards and scored on two long touchdown runs as McKeesport edged Baldwin, 21-20, to advance to the quarterfinals.
The win marks the seventh consecutive season the Tigers have won at least one WPIAL playoff game.
“Enjoy the win,” McKeesport coach Matt Miller told his team afterward. “Comeback wins don’t happen often. Get ready for another week of football.”
Robinson led the way for an offense that recorded 353 yards of total offense, but McKeesport struggled to put points on the board.
Baldwin led 14-0 at the half thanks to a pair of scoring runs by quarterback Mason Stahl.
However, the host Tigers never panicked. Miller credited Robinson and others for keeping the team’s spirits up through the first two quarters.
“He is a constant leader. At the half, Devari and several other of our seniors took it upon themselves to fire up the team and prepared the guys to come out in the second half with a new mission, to focus on their individual jobs.”
McKeesport’s offense came to life thanks to a 81-yard touchdown run by Robinson.
“It was a huge spark,” Miller said. “It was everything that we talked about at the half. Get a stop on defense and then run our stuff and score quickly. He made a great decision on keeping the ball and then made an outstanding run to the end zone.”
The Highlanders added to their lead with a touchdown before the end of the third quarter to increase their lead to 20-7.
The Tigers owned the fourth quarter thanks to scoring runs by Deamontae Diggs of 3 yards and Robinson’s game-winning 26-yarder.
“The offensive line did an outstanding job creating opportunities for our rushers the entire second half,” Miller said. “The hard running by Diggs created some space and the downfield blocking by our skill players sprung the last (scoring) run of 26 yards.”
Robinson has done more damage with his legs than his arm this season. He has rushed for 1,354 yards and scored 30 touchdowns.
“He is football smart. He is tough. He is fast and a true field general,” Miller said of his senior quarterback. “He has physical toughness by making most of his runs between the tackles and then having the breakaway speed to outrun the defenders.”
Up next for Robinson and the Tigers is a quarterfinal battle with defending state champion Penn Hills.
“Penn Hills looks tough,” Miller said. “They seem to reload every year. They have good-looking kids that play hard and fast. It will be a fun, competitive game. Nothing but respect for them.”
WPIAL Week 10 Honorable Mentions:
Evan Jones, Mt. Lebanon
Last year, Seneca Valley staged a playoff revenge tour in November that led the Raiders to the Class 6A title game. They beat two teams in the postseason after losing to them in the regular season.
Early in the third quarter Friday, it looked like SV wanted to repeat history. The Raiders lost to Mt. Lebanon earlier this season and enjoyed a 14-7 lead over the Blue Devils in their 6A quarterfinal.
But Jones, Mt. Lebanon’s senior quarterback, ran for 195 yards and scored five touchdowns, including four in the second half, as the Blue Devils coasted to a 35-14 victory.
Logan Pfeuffer, Peters Township
Space might be the final frontier, but it has no place in the WPIAL playoffs.
Pluto was once considered a planet, but scientists disagreed and now it is out. Mars used to be a district playoff team, but Peters Township said no and now the Fightin’ Planets are out.
Pfeuffer, a junior quarterback, connected on 15 of 19 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns to top target Josh Casilli as Peters Township cruised past Mars, 47-6, in the Class 5A first round rout.
Ben Hughes, Riverside
Burgettstown jumped to an early lead at home in its Class 2A first-round playoff game but never could deliver the knockout punch as Riverside stunned the previously unbeaten Blue Devils, 42-35, in overtime.
Hughes was 16 of 26 for 243 yards with a tying touchdown run and four scoring passes, including an 11-yard strike to Nathan Sciarro in overtime.
2019 Trib HSSN football players of the week:
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.