CORAOPOLIS – One of the only lowlights of Peters Township’s 2019 season took place out by the airport.
In its lone regular season loss, Peters came out flat against Moon last October, falling 21-13.
Now, Saturday night’s game wasn’t a chance for revenge. The Indians got that last November when they ended the Tigers’ season in the WPIAL quarterfinals. It did, however, give PT coach T.J. Plack and his team a chance to return to the scene of the crime.
The location was the same. The result was quite different.
Peters scored 26 unanswered points against a normally stout Moon defense and kept the Tigers from reaching the end zone in a 26-3 romp in a Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference game.
The Indians’ defense forced seven punts, and the offense got two long touchdown passes from Logan Pfeuffer to Breylen Carrington – who eclipsed the century mark in receiving yardage for the season – and Corban Hondru, respectively, in what was a complete team effort.
Plack attributed some of last year’s loss to his team overlooking the Tigers. That wasn’t an issue Saturday.
“Last year, we came in maybe a little overconfident, maybe reading the press clippings,” Plack said. “They took it to us, man. They took it to us … we didn’t want it to happen again. They’re a really good football team over there. Very disruptive, very physical. They have some playmakers. I think our guys did a great job. They responded and they matched their intensity.”
Moon quarterback Tyler McGowan completed his share of passes, going 20-for-29 for 157 yards, but most of his completions were for short gains, and as a result, the Tigers couldn’t do much damage.
The Indians’ defense didn’t get off to an auspicious start. After Peters’ first possession ended in a punt, the Tigers worked a methodical drive that took more than six minutes off the clock before ending in a field goal. It turned out to be an early climax for the hometown fans.
After Indians (3-0, 4-0) tied the game on a 35-yard Andrew Masucci kick, the biggest play of the night happened in the second quarter. Pfeuffer found Carrington for a 90-yard strike, giving the Indians a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. In the second half, Peters’ do-everything tight end Hondru hauled in a pass and ran in for a 63-yarder making it 26-3 and effectively putting the game away.
As a punter, linebacker and tight end, among other things, Hondru does everything but fill up the water cooler, and Plack was quick to sing his praises.
“He might be the best high school football player I’ve ever been around,” he said. “He’s an outstanding linebacker. He’s an underrated tight end. He may not be the best punter, but he’s a threat back there. He’s played quarterback for us. He’s played receiver. He does everything. He’s so intelligent on the field … he’s phenomenal. I’m going to miss him, but I’m glad we have a couple more weeks with him as we see how far we can go.”
Despite only throwing the ball 10 times, Pfeuffer hit the 300-yard mark on just seven completions.
Pfeuffer had a big challenge, taking on a defense that came in allowing under 14 points per game. He took a few licks, getting sacked a four times, but overall, he was up to the challenge.
“I think Logan did a great job,” Plack said. “He became more confident as the game went on. I think the game slowed down for him after a while. He had a bad game here last year, and I think once we got out of the first quarter, he settled down. I think he settled down and became more confident. I’m really proud of him.”
In theory, the road gets easier for Peters next week when the Indians take on Bethel Park, a team in transition that has yet to win a game in 2020. It doesn’t get much easier for Moon (0-2, 3-2), which travels to Upper St. Clair.
In preparing for games, Plack’s has instilled a mindset within his program similar to that of Penn State coach James Franklin. Franklis emphasizes the need for his team to go “1-0 this week,” and Plack holds the same mindset.
“We have one team on our schedule, and it was Moon,” he said. “We took care of that. We’re going to go to sleep, wake up, watch film, and then we have to go 1-0 against Bethel Park. They’re the only team we’re playing.”
Hondru echoed that sentiment.
“We’re not even focused on (WPIAL) playoffs or states,” he said. “We’re just focused on winning every week, and we’re going to prepare for Bethel.”
Peters has had to deal with a lot of adversity this season, missing a game because of COVID-19 issues. As a result, it’s taken longer for the Indians to get moving. For Hondru, the offense, and the team in general, they have finally hit their stride.
“The first two weeks were a little shaky since we didn’t have the camp,” he said. “We didn’t have the chemistry yet. But now we have the chemistry, now we’re clicking. It’s dangerous. It’s going to be a fun year, for sure.”