There are plenty of traits Ryan Magiske knows he doesn’t have.
As he answered a question about his height, saying he was 5-10, Peters Township football coach T.J. Plack, listening from behind, laughed about the “very generous” answer.
The 190-pound running back isn’t going to blaze past opponents with his speed.
“He is the sloppiest, best running back I’ve ever seen,” Plack said of Magiske. “He is unorthodox. One of our coaches the other day said that he is always a 4.8. He never changes speeds when he cuts or goes from left to right. He always maintains that 4.8 speed. But he doesn’t need much (room).”
Though being unorthodox and a little undersized, Magiske put together one of the most impressive seasons by a Peters Township tailback in program history as a junior. He ran for 1,133 yards, fourth most in a single season for the Indians. His 19 touchdowns in 2018 are tied with Mike Minjock’s total in 2012 for the most in a season.
Now, it might be about proving to people last year wasn’t a fluke.
“I’m just trying to help out the team in any way that I can,” Magiske said. “I started off slower at the beginning of last year, but when we played West Allegheny something clicked. We clicked for the rest of the season after that.”
Magiske’s record-setting season flourished during last year’s game against West Allegheny. He had 12 carries for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 42-28 win, which led to five more conference victories, a share of the league title and two playoff wins before falling to eventual Class 5A state champion Penn Hills in the WPIAL semifinals.
Tonight, West Allegheny (1-1, 1-1) visits Peters Township (2-0, 3-0) in a Class 5A Allegheny Eight Conference game.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
After what Plack called a program-changing win over West Allegheny last year, a victory tonight could put Peters Township alone in first place in the conference. That success could start with Magiske, a three-year starter at running back and linebacker, who, play after play, decimated West Allegheny last year.
“I think we all have that chip (on our shoulder),” Plack said. “That’s instilled in him. We call him ‘Mad Dog’ because that’s how he plays the game. That’s the type of kid he is. It’s an eight-yard gain. Then he busts through for four yards, sticks move. Then we throw a screen. We come back to him for another first down. Sticks move again. It wears opponents down and gives us momentum. He is always leaning forward, getting that extra yard or two.”
Through Peters Township’s three victories, Magiske has 270 yards and three touchdowns on 55 carries. He is still familiarizing himself behind an young, inexperienced offensive line that has continued to grow each week.
“We are getting there this year,” Magiske said. “As you keep playing you get that trust. We have competitive guys and nobody wants to lose. Everybody goes 110 percent on every play.”
In last week’s win over Woodland Hills, Magiske eclipsed 2,000 career yards.
“My brother was the original ‘Mad Dog,’” Magiske said. “It just kind of stuck with me. I’m always running towards contact. I just have a passion for the game. I’m a very competitive person. Honestly, I just love football.”