MCMURRAY – Coming into their critical Allegheny Eight Conference matchup Friday night, both Peters Township and Bethel Park had the highest-scoring offenses in the conference.
Peters Township found their offensive touch early in the game, but Bethel Park’s offense struggled against the Indians’ defense that has allowed a conference-best 17.3 points per game.
Sophomore quarterback Logan Pfeuffer completed his first eight passes and accounted for four scores as Peters Township took another step forward to a potential conference title with a 35-0 rout over Bethel Park.
The Indians (5-1, 7-2) are tied atop the conference with West Allegheny and Upper St. Clair. If Peters Township can win next week, at home against Baldwin, they would earn at least a share of their first conference title since 1975.
“I think, from the coaches to the players this season, we are having fun,” PT coach T.J. Plack said. “Every week is a competitive battle and we know we have to play our best to be successful on the field. We love this stuff. We are going to sleep nicely after this win, but we know we have a big one against Baldwin next week.”
Bethel Park fumbled the ball on their fourth play from scrimmage and Peters Township was set up with excellent field position at the Black Hawks’ 22-yard line.
Five plays later, facing a third-and-goal from the four-yard line, Pfeuffer flipped the ball in the backfield to the motion man, Josh Casilli, and the junior wide receiver did the rest with a 4-yard scoring reception to give the Indians an early 7-0 lead.
After the Black Hawks (4-2, 5-3) were forced to punt, the home team doubled its lead to 14-0 after Pfeuffer threaded a 17-yard pass to Aiden McCall in the back of the end zone for a score with 5:37 remaining in the opening quarter.
“Logan got his feet wet early on in the season and he is just a sophomore,” Plack said. “It’s been two years in the making for him at quarterback for us. I said last year he was our scout-team MVP. He’s a very smart, cerebral kid. He has a lot of talented athletes around him.”
Peters Township found that scoring spark again as Ryan Magiske rumbled through the visitors’ front seven and tallied a 17-yard scoring run at the 8:39 mark of the second quarter.
Peters Township held a 21-0 lead halftime and its defense was dominant in the opening 24 minutes, holding Bethel Park to 96 total yards.
“We were out of character the whole night,” Bethel Park coach Jeff Metheny said. “We didn’t play our brand of physical football. We didn’t have an answer for anything. Hats off to Peters. They are a talented group and we couldn’t stop them. They won the battle up front, too.”
The Indians put the win away on their first drive of the second half when Pfeuffer found Jason McCloskey for a 16-yard touchdown pass that capped a nine-play, 61-yard drive.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, on fourth-and-five, Peters Township pulled out some trickery as Pfeuffer handed the ball to Casilli, who was in motion, only to have Casilli throw back to Pfeuffer for a 12-yard scoring pass.
“Logan is an athlete,” Plack said. “He’s a three-sport athlete and has excellent hands. I thought our kids did a nice job of selling the run. We had that play in for three weeks but never used it. Josh threw a nice ball, but it seemed like the ball hung in the air forever.”
Pfeuffer finished with 137 passing yards on 12-of-14 passing. Magiske carried the ball 15 times for 101 yards, and Casilli hauled in six catches for 56 yards.
Defensively, the Indians had six sacks and allowed only 116 total yards.
“Our defensive staff always does a nice job,” Plack said. “We knew we had to stop the run and keep their playmakers in check. We tackled well and played four, full quarters. The defense was lights out. We stopped the run and didn’t get fooled with play action. Our kids were focused.”