McMURRAY – Peters Township coach T.J. Plack said before the season he believed this edition of the Indians possessed the capability to not only earn another postseason berth but contend for an Allegheny Eight Conference title.
Though the Indians narrowly fell last week at Upper St. Clair, Plack’s squad had another shot at making a statement Friday evening at home against perennial power Woodland Hills.
The improving Indians, buoyed by a raucous home crowd, took the measure of the Wolverines 20-0.
Three short years ago, before Plack took over the job as coach at Peters Township, no one thought it was possible for this program to handle a storied high school team such as Woodland Hills.
But last night proved that it was possible to build and maintain a winner on the football field at Peters Township.
“We love the guys we got, it’s our third year with these kids, we’ve got some good ball players,” Plack said. “It’s about the Jimmys and the Joes, not so much about the X’s and O’s.”
Peters Township’s defense suffocated the Wolverines, holding the visitors to 43 yards in the first half, 107 for the game. The Indians sacked Wolverines quarterbacks six times and intercepted two passes.
“Up front, we like to do some different things and move some guys around, we have good linebackers and our secondary has some ball hawks,” Plack added.
Though the offense sputtered at times, it did move the ball on the ground when the need arose. Adrian Williams finished with an even 100 yards on 17 carries and Seth Luksik added 71 yards on six rushes.
Trailing by two scores and in need of a spark, Woodland Hills (0-3, 0-2) appeared to have gained momentum early in the third quarter when Taelen Brooks intercepted a Logan Pfeuffer pass and returned it to the Indians 32.
But two plays later, Peters Township’s defense put out the flames with an interception of its own when Aiden McCall intercepted Wolverines quarterback Rodney Stubbs at the Indians 10 yard line.
The Indians (2-1, 1-1) put the contest away early in the fourth quarter when Williams ended a 72-yard drive with a 4 yard scoring run, giving the Indians a 20-0 lead.
With 7:30 left in the game, Woodland Hills made one final gasp to get back into the contest, but McCall’s second interception of the half on fourth-and-19 from the Indians 20 in the end zone squashed another Wolverines threat.
“He’s only about 5-8, and people will try to throw the jump ball on him, but he has come up big for us,” Plack said about McCall.
Peters Township set the tone from the start. After an exchange of possessions early in the first quarter, the Indians struck when Josh Casilli fielded a line-drive punt on the Woodland Hills 38, cut right, then sprinted down the sideline and outraced the Wolverines coverage unit for the score. Brian Bruzdewicz’s kick was true and the hosts were up 7-0 eight minutes in.
Woodland Hills looked to even the contest early in the second quarter as the Wolverines moved to the Peters Township 20. But Stubbs fourth-and-nine pass into the end zone intended for Jayden Lucas fell incomplete.
Taking advantage of their defense’s stand, the Indians then marched 80 yards in seven plays. Ryan Magiske capped the drive with a nine-yard scoring run, pushing Peters Township’s advantage to 13-0, where it remained for the rest of the first half.
The drive was kick-started by a 40-yard Pfeuffer completion to Casilli that pulled the Indians out of their end of the field.
“We have some things to clear up because they were able to get some penetration on defense,” Plack noted. “But when we had to move the ball, especially on the ground, we did our jobs up front and made the plays we needed to win the game.”