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Upper St. Clair scores 29 unanswered points, defeats Penn-Trafford

Written by: on Friday, September 4th, 2009

UPPER ST. CLAIR, Pa. – During the fourth quarter, some members of the Upper St. Clair football staff threw on the song “Renegade” over the stadium speaker system.

Early on, it was Penn-Trafford that was playing like it had nothing to lose.

The Warriors (0-1) held a 20-19 in the second quarter, but the Panthers (1-0) rattled off 29 unanswered points to win going away, 48-20.

In short, the game could have been summed up as the ugliest 48-20 football game in the history of 48-20 games. That’s how WPIAL veteran coach Jim Render saw it.

“I couldn’t have said it any better myself,” Render said.

Upper St. Clair grabbed the opening score of the game, going up 6-0 on a Jacob Siwicki (11 rush, 67 yards) one-yard score, set up by a 30-yard loss when an errant snap went over the Penn-Trafford punter’s head.

Penn-Trafford, though, immediately countered. Tyler Zimmer found Matt Hyland on a 77-yard wide receiver option pass, and the score was knotted at 6-all.

Upper St. Clair scored the next two touchdowns on a Mitchell Fawcett 32-yard run and an Alex Park 44-yard pass to Tom Kitka to stake itself to a 19-6 lead. But Ryan Austin, like a bolt of white lightning, streaked through the Panther special teams unit for a 99-yard kickoff return, and the score was 19-13.

It got worse for USC before it got better. After the Warriors recovered a Dakota Conwell fumble, they used a full-house, I-form backfield to bruise the Panthers’ defense. Zimmer’s 1-yard scoring run gave Penn-Trafford its only lead at 20-19.

It was at this juncture that Alex Park warmed up, speaking solely in terms of touchdown passes. He found Connor Scott wide open from 11 yards out to cap the Panthers’ first half scoring, and then added two more scoring passes to Kitka of 32 and 21 yards in the second half.

Dakota Conwell scored the Panthers’ other touchdown on a 23-yard interception return. Dakota is the brother of former Panther running back Dane Conwell.

“He’ll be a good one,” Render said. “Keep an eye on that guy.”

Park finished the night completing 7-of-13 passes for 179 yards and four scores against one pick. Kitka caught five passes for 139 yards and a trio of touchdowns. What did Render think of his pass-and-catch duo?

“They’ve been working together since January,” Render said. “When it didn’t snow, they were out throwing.”

NOTES: Penn-Trafford had not one, but two errant snaps go over the punter’s head in the game. Those two team rushes netted minus-47 yards rushing for the Warriors, who finished the game with 28 carries for just 1 net yard. The Warriors finished with 157 yards of total offense and just five first downs.

Upper St. Clair ran for 197 yards on 36 carries, averaging nearly 5.5 yards per carry. The Panthers finished the game with 376 yards of offense and 13 first downs.

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