WPIAL Plays of the Week – Week One 2016
Tuesday, September 6, 2016 | 4:38 PM
Although “Week Zero” featured some thrilling contests, last Friday marked the true start of the 2016 high-school football season. With games that actually count towards the standings, the intensity was increased, and the level of play followed suit. This compilation includes a game-saving interception, a touchdown toss in the final seconds, a quarterback using his legs to cap off an impressive comeback, and a kickoff return that turned a marque matchup into a lopsided affair. Without further adieu, here are the top four plays of the initial installment of the 2016 plays of the week.
1. McKeesport 14, Franklin Regional 7
While the football realignment brought an end to some classic rivalries, it also reignited many intriguing matchups. To that point, Franklin Regional and McKeesport, now Big East Conference adversaries, played for the first time since the 1990s. The contest did not disappoint, as the host Tigers took an early lead, but Franklin Regional mounted a comeback bid in the closing minutes. With just more than 1:30 left, the Panthers appeared to be closing in on the potentially tying score, reaching the 16-yard line. On the decisive play, Franklin Regional’s Simon Behr fired into the end zone for Bennett Verona. McKeesport’s Breon Green delivered a jarring hit to Verona, though, and as the ball popped into the air, Davon Brown corralled the game-saving interception.
MSA Sports’ Paul Paterra and Lou Rood detail the decisive play:
2. Indiana 40, Laurel Highlands 38
Although the matchup between the Little Indians and Mustangs was a nonsection clash, it certainly did not lack dramatics. After host Laurel Highlands scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than three minutes remaining, Indiana had its back against the wall. The Indians made the most of their final possession, though, as they marched into the red zone with 30 seconds left. With the game on the line, sophomore quarterback Luke Thomas delivered a pass that Ryan Hoff hauled in for the go-ahead 12-yard score with just 21.5 ticks remaining on the clock.
WDAD-AM 1450’s Jack Benedict and Scott Mossgrove have the call of the winning touchdown:
3. Western Beaver 30, Summit Academy 22
A Saturday afternoon clash in Herman pitted a pair of teams that were winless in 2015. The new campaign provided new hope for both Summit Academy and Western Beaver, though, and the Golden Beavers managed to seal a comeback bid thanks to the efforts of their quarterback. Jeddy Young notched three touchdowns, including the go-ahead scamper with 4:13 left. Young found the endzone on a physical 4-yard run to cap off 22 straight points for Western Beaver.
MSA Sports’ Sean Meyers and Greg Kuntz provide the commentary in the Golden Beaver’s conference-opening triumph:
4. Aliquippa 44, Beaver Falls 13
Although it was just Week 1, the Aliquippa Beaver Falls tilt had the feel of one of the biggest games in the WPIAL this regular season. The battle of powerhouses in the Beaver Valley Conference ultimately proved to be one-sided in favor of the Quips, but the outcome was still in doubt at the half, with Aliquippa holding an 18-7 edge. The first play of the second half quickly showed that the Quips would not be denied, however, as Antwan Brooks returned the kickoff 90 yards for the score. His touchdown staked Aliquippa to a three-score advantage, and the Quips never looked back.
WBVP-AM 1230’s Bob Barrickman and Kerry Lacey have the call of the special-teams strike that broke the game open in the Quips favor:
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