McKeesport – St. Joe’s Prep Preview
Written by: Josh Funk on Monday, August 31st, 2009
The game: McKeesport Area (7, 0-0) vs. St. Joseph’s Prep (12, 0-0)
When: Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 @ NOON
Where: Wheeling Island Stadium, Wheeling, W. Va.
About the game: In a cross-state clash, McKeesport’s vaunted flexbone offense, with what some have called the best backfield in the state of Pennsylvania, take to the gridiron against a rough-and-tumble, physical bunch of Hawks from the Philadelphia Catholic League. Each team is a respective traditional powerhouse in its own specific region. It’s one of the better speed-versus-power match-ups available in Week 1.
About McKeesport Area: The Tigers are not new to a big stage. Last season, the red and blue opened up their season in the Herbstreit Classic against powerful Cincinnati-based Colerain, falling to the Cardinals 14-7 in overtime. In Colerain, the Tigers faced a mirror-image of itself. The Cardinals ran a flexbone, triple-option offense just like McKeesport does.
The Tigers have outscored their opposition 2,236 to 871 since the start of the 2004 football season, which works out to an average score of 36-14. McKeesport’s offense has topped the 40-point plateau 29 times in that span, a remarkable feat considering the flexbone is, after all, a running-oriented attack. Last season, the Tigers scored 458 points, the third time since ’04 that the Tigers have surpassed 450 points scored in a season.
George Smith, winner of 189 games in his career, spent entirely at McKeesport, returns a quality quarterback in Ty-meer Brown (885 rushing yards, 20 total TD) and a hulking linebacker and offensive lineman named Carlows Brown, a 260-pound athlete.
McKeesport Area went 9-3 last season.
About St. Joseph’s Prep: St. Joe’s Prep is not new to the big stage, either. In 2005, the Hawks knocked off the #1-ranked team in the land of high school football, Cleveland St. Ignatius, 28-14, en route to its 5th Philadelphia Catholic League championship under head coach Gil Brooks. That ’05 PCL title is the school’s 15th title overall since the league formed in 1920, the most out of all PCL affiliates. SJP has even taken on the likes of Don Bosco Prep, Brooklyn Poly Prep, Gillman’s School, and Pittsburgh Central Catholic.
In its history, the Prep has won at least 462 games. There was a six-year window of time, from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, that the Hawks were not affiliated with the Catholic League. Prior to Brooks’ arrival at the school, the Hawks only had one single 10-win season, which belonged to Gamp Pellegrini during a 10-3 run to the City Championship in 1977.
St. Joe’s Prep finished the 2003 season ranked #3 in the nation according to the USA-Today, the highest national ranking ever achieved by a PCL representative.
Offensively, the Hawks are led by 800-yard rusher Garrett Compton and prized offensive lineman Seth Betancourt, a 290-pound specimen who is going on to play college ball at Boston College. Defensively, the Hawks boast linebacker Mike Labor and sophomore defensive back Skyler Mornhinweg, who has verbally committed to play football for Stanford.
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