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Penn-Trafford – Upper St. Clair Preview

Written by: on Monday, August 31st, 2009

The game: Penn-Trafford (7, 0-0) vs. Upper St. Clair (7, 0-0)

When: Friday, Sept. 4, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.

Where: Upper St. Clair High School

About the game: This is the fourth straight year these two schools have opened their seasons against each other. The Panthers won all three previous meetings, 27-9 in ’06; 17-7 in ’07; and 28-14 last year. The Panthers also met the Warriors in an epic WPIAL championship game in 1997 – again, Upper St. Clair got the best of Penn-Trafford, albeit narrowly, 28-27.

About Penn-Trafford: The Warriors went 4-6 last season, losing in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs to a Pittsburgh Central Catholic team that was simply on a mission, 42-0. In five of the Warriors losses last season, they allowed 28 or more points. Their two narrowest margins of defeat were to Upper St. Clair (14 points) and Northern Six conference champion North Hills (7 points) to open the season.

Penn-Trafford does boast Penn State commit Luke Graham, an imposing 6’6, 270-pound offensive lineman.

About Upper St. Clair: Upper St. Clair enters 2009 fresh off of a 6-4 campaign which also ended in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs to McKeesport Area, 34-28. But really, that should not have happened. With a 6-3 regular season record, the Panthers drew a controversial #13 seed from the committee that handled the seeding of the playoff brackets.

The Panthers return a quality quarterback in senior Alex Park. Last season, he threw for 1,589 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging nearly 159 yards passing per game. Leading rusher Jacob Siwicki (667 yards, 3 touchdowns) returns, as does offensive lineman Joe Laukaitis, a 280-pound behemoth on the front lines.

Jim Render returns for his 31st season with USC and his 41st year overall of coaching. In his tenure, Render, a two-time AP Coach of the Year (1989, 2006), has compiled 329 victories, second all-time in state history. One more win would put him at 330 for his career, a mark only reached previously by one other coach – 400-game winner George Curry.

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