WPIAL Football Player of the Week: Week 2
Sunday, September 8, 2019 | 9:01 PM
One thing has become clear after Week Two of the 2019 high school football season: The Knoch running game is in good hands.
Senior running back Matt Goodlin tied a school record for most rushing yards and most touchdowns in a game Friday in a 42-7 rout of Beaver.
The win improved the Knights to 2-0 in the Class 4A Northwest Eight Conference.
Goodlin rushed for 296 yards, tying the Knoch record held by Tim McNerney set in a 42-24 first-round playoff win over New Castle in 2007. His five touchdowns tied the mark set two years ago by Ivan Stapchuck.
“It’s huge to have a back pick up that kind of yardage,” first-year coach Brandon Mowry said. “It fuels the entire offensive group, especially the linemen. Setting the single-game rushing record was a big team effort.”
Mowry is a former lineman at Knoch who was a long-time assistant before taking over as coach this fall. He knows what Goodlin accomplished Friday is special.
“I think the way he made certain cuts off by reading the action key and or his lead blockers showed that he is a very special kid.
“His strength is that understands the game. He’s extremely football savvy and uses that to his advantage.”
All five of Goodlin’s touchdowns came in the first half, including scoring runs of 4, 14 and 7 yards in the opening quarter as the host Knights jumped out to a 21-0 lead.
Goodlin added scoring runs of 44 and 1 yard in the second quarter as Knoch led 35-7 by halftime.
“Our biggest key to success this week was looking to play a complete 48 minutes of football,” Mowry said. “We challenged the kids this week to put together their most complete effort.”
While his record-tying performance brings attention to Goodlin’s offensive talents, his work on the other side of the ball has been just as important to the Knights’ perfect start.
“Matty’s a big key to our success offensively and defensively,” Mowry said. “Teams are going to key on him while on offense, so we have to take advantage of that. Defensively, he’s playing a tremendous inside linebacker. His reads at linebacker equal what he does on offense.”
Every win is huge for Knoch. The Knights started last season 0-3 and finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Northwest Eight Conference but lost the final playoff spot tiebreaker to New Castle.
“It’s huge,” Mowry said. “As we got into and broke camp, we talked about starting fast and not putting ourselves in a hole early. We didn’t want a playoff berth to come down the third level of tie-breakers. These kids want to make it in on their own accord.”
WPIAL Week Two Honorable Mentions:
Teddy Ruffner – Mars
Coming off a tough Week 1 loss to Moon, Mars got rough and ran wild in Week 2.
A 20-0 second-quarter advantage helped Mars roll past Greensburg Salem, 47-28, in a nonconference game.
Teddy Ruffner scored all three touchdowns in the second on runs of 88, 71 and 19 yards.
It was part of a monster game in which the junior running back rushed for 328 yards and finished with five touchdowns, giving him 10 scores for the season.
Jacob Davis – West Mifflin
With starting quarterback Jaylen Dukes on crutches after being shot in the leg earlier in the week, Jacob Davis made the most out of a tough situation.
Davis stepped in to quarterback the Titans and connected on 8 of 11 passes for 297 yards and touchdowns passes of 15, 83 and 98 yards.
But the senior didn’t forget his running back roots as he rushed for 117 yards, including a 75-yard run that was the capper in a 40-0 shutout of Trinity.
West Mifflin is 2-0 and tied with Thomas Jefferson atop the Class 4A Big Eight Conference.
Ben Jackson – West Greene
The Chartiers-Houston at West Greene matchup in Week 2 was an interesting one going in. Both teams were 2-0, with the host Pioneers having scored 143 points and the Bucs pitching two shoutouts.
Something had to give. Ben Jackson made sure of that.
The senior West Greene running back rushed for 310 yards on only 15 carries, giving him a stunning 729 yards three games into the season.
Jackson also scored five touchdowns against Chartiers-Houston, giving him 16 scoring runs through the first three games, as the Pioneers rolled 50-12.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.