McMURRAY – On a team with one player committed to SEC power Florida and another slated to play at MAC stalwart Miami of Ohio, it was an unsung member of the Peters Township squad that grabbed the spotlight Friday night and made it his own.
Breylen Carrington spent much of the 2019 season off the field with an injury, but he made sure the 2020 campaign would be different with an emphatic on-the-field statement against visiting Penn-Trafford. Carrington snagged an incredible four interceptions of Warriors quarterback and Villanova commit Ethan Carr, returned two for touchdowns and led the way to a pulsating 24-21 non-conference win.
The Indians’ scheduled opener against South Fayette was postponed last week and pushed back to next Friday, making this the opener for a team that has serious aspirations for a WPIAL Class 5A title that barely eluded them last season.
Friday night, though spotty most of the time on offense, was a good indication that the Indians (1-0) are prepared to make another climb at the Class 5A summit.
“We’ve had some great defensive backs here,” Peters Township coach TJ Plack said. “I did not know he had that many interceptions until our defensive coordinator told me. He had a great, great game.”
The Indians’ defense forced six turnovers in all and sacked Carr four times. Along with Carrington’s monster game, Miami commit Corban Hondru logged two sacks and a fumble recovery while Austin McKinnon nabbed the defense’s fifth interception late in the fourth quarter. McKinnon also got a sack and a key fumble recovery in the third quarter.
Florida commit Donovan McMillon started the game off with a sack of Carr on the first play, when he read a quarterback rollout and reacted.
“We knew that they liked to get him out and moving so I read that and made the play,” McMillon said.
Peters Township needed every once of defensive heroics as its offense was only able to muster one touchdown and one field-goal drive over the course of the evening.
Two plays later, Carrington announced his presence when he intercepted Carr and took it into the end zone for a 28-yard interception return for a score. Andrew Massucci’s kick was good and the Indians led 7-0 less than 90 seconds into the contest.
But as they did all night, the Warriors (1-1) responded as Carr led a 78-yard drive that culminated in a 16-yard scoring strike to Chase Vecchio that made it 7-7.
The Indians responded with a 73-yard march that was capped by an 11-yard Vinny Sirianni touchdown run, giving the hosts a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter that they would carry into the locker room at the half.
Peters Township had a chance to extend the lead in the second quarter following Carrington’s second pick, which it them the ball on the Penn-Trafford 30, but Logan Pfeuffer’s pass intended for Hondru in the end zone was intercepted.
Carrington ended the half with his third interception on the Indians’ 27, helping to preserve their seven-point lead.
If that wasn’t enough, the senior picked off his fourth pass midway through the third when he stepped in front of a Warriors receiver and raced 30 yards untouched to the end zone for his second scoree, giving the Indians a 21-7 advantage.
“Man, that dude was a baller tonight,” McMillon said about his teammate.
Carrington said that never in his wildest dreams that he would ever have a performance like he did.
“I never, ever thought this would happen,” he noted. “I cannot believe I did that. We just wanted to come out and win and we did that.”
They almost did not as Penn-Trafford gamely answered with two scores in less than 90 seconds. Carr, who finished 13 for 24 for 203 yards, found Brad Ford for a 37-yard score early in the fourth to cut the lead to seven. The ensuing Peters Township possession saw Cole Darragh take a Pfeuffer pass 20 yards for an interception return to the end zone, knotting the game at 21.
To Pfeuffer’s credit; he directed a 60-yard march that was capped by Massucci’s 36-yard field goal with 4:48 remaining that provided the winning margin. The Indians defense held strong down the stretch with McKinnon’s interception and a Nico Pate fourth down stop of Carr on fourth and 20 to effectively ice the game.
“That’s a great program we played and beat tonight,” Plack noted. “They are so well-coached.”