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McKeesport Pulls Away From Erie in the Second Half @ErieRoyalsFb @mckeesport

Written by: on Sunday, August 26th, 2018


The McKeesport Tigers showed why they are one of the premier teams in the state as they pulled away from the Erie Royals 45-26 in a hard fought and extremely physical game Saturday afternoon.  The contest was held at the Wolvarena in Turtle Creek as part of the Western Pa. vs. Everyone showcase that featured six games in two days.

The first half was a real Battle Royale as the two teams traded punches, trying for that knockout blow.  In this age of passing attacks, it was interesting to see the old single wing of Erie take on the triple option or flexbone offense of McKeesport.  The running games of the two opponents thus presented itself to a more physical game of on both sides of the ball.

Danny Blue

Erie took the opening kickoff and drove 55 yards in eight plays, staying on the ground the whole time.  Danny Blue punched it in from a yard out and the Royals led 7-0 after Tyler Vera’s extra point.  McKeesport answered with a 56-yard scoring march of their own in only five running plays.  QB Konota Gaskins found the end zone on a four-yard sneak and Anthony Beitko tied it with his first of six PATs.  Gaskins also had the big play in that drive running for 36 yards.

After the teams traded three and outs, McKeesport held Erie again and forced a short punt putting them in good field position at the Royal 42.  From there, the Tigers drove to the thirteen, but a penalty and a loss pushed them back to the 29.  Facing a 3rd and twenty situation, head coach Matt Miller called the first Tiger pass of the game and Gaskins responded by hitting Thomas Wyatt with the touchdown toss and thus giving McKeesport their first lead, 14-7, less than four minutes into the second quarter.

Erie came right back, traversing 58 yards and scoring on a Tony Foster one-yard run to tie the game at 14 with 4:06 remaining in period two.  McKeesport struck quickly, going 66 yards in two plays.  FB Rahmon Powell took the ball up the gut 43 markers to the house and the Tigers retook the lead 21-14.  The Royals hit back when John Woodward bounced off a few would be tacklers and raced 56 yards for Erie’s third touchdown.  But McKeesport maintained their lead 21-20 when Devin Sims blocked the point after attempt.

McKeesport closed out the first half scoring on Beitko’s 22-yard field goal with two seconds left in the second quarter.  After the dust had settled from the frantic finish to the half that saw 24 points scored in the final four minutes, the Tigers led 24-20.

The second half saw McKeesport kick it up a notch on defense.  They forced a turnover that led to a touchdown, stopped an Erie fake punt, and most importantly kept the Royals from scoring until five minutes left in the game.  By then the contest was well in hand.

The Tigers opened the second half scoring after Dylan Vaniel recovered a fumbled Royal punt at the Erie 37.  A penalty put the ball back at the McKeesport 48.  From there Powell did most of the work carrying the ball four times for 39 yards including a five-yard TD.  That put the Pittsburgh area team ahead 31-20 with a little over 7 minutes on the third period clock.

The knockout blow came with 10 seconds left in quarter three when Vernon Andrews returned a punt 56 yards to the house which gave the Tigers breathing room in a close game up to that point

McKeesport tallied in the fourth quarter on a Gaskins to Lance Robinson 21-yard TD toss.  With McKeesport’s lead at 45-20, Erie put together a long drive to finish the scoring.  QB Trevon Tate hit Tay Carr with a nice pass that went for 27 yards.

Game Notes: Powell led all rushers for the game with 144 yards and two scores.  278 of McKeesport’s 301 rushing yards were accounted for by Powell, Gaskins, and Sims.  Gaskins had 63 yards carrying the pigskin with a touchdown.  He was also 3 for 5 passing for 65 yards.  Two of the three completions went for touchdowns.  Erie’s top rusher was John Woodward with 68 and he did it on only three carries.


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