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U.S. Steel Game of the Week: Connellsville at McKeesport

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After a perfect regular season record, a trip to the WPIAL Quad-A Quarterfinals and an overall mark of 10-1, the McKeesport Tigers will be looking to open their 2014 season at home with a win against fellow Foothills Conference foe Connellsville.

McKeesport comes into the year looking to replace 22 seniors from last season, including quarterback David Queen, who ran for 14 touchdowns and was second on the team in rushing with 698 yards, and running back Mikell Moore, who ran for 1,136 yards and 16 scores, averaging over 103 yards per game. Other key departures include running back/defensive back Allen Wright, who put up nearly 1,000 all-purpose yards, and fellow defenders Carlos Hudson and James Wyatt. The three of them finished in the top four for the team lead in total tackles during 2013.

Head coach George Smith says that moving the ball is one of the biggest challenges his team will face over the course of this year.

“We haven’t been as successful (offensively) in our scrimmages,” Smith said in reference to his contests with Central Catholic and Woodland Hills.

The Tigers are expected to be led by junior strong safety/running back Khaleke “Hit Man” Hudson, who is the only returning player from last season to rack up both 300 all-purpose yards and 50 tackles, and senior quarterback TyWann Smith, who averaged over 8 yards a carry and scored four touchdowns in limited playing time in 2013. Smith has not had a lot of experience throwing the ball, attempting just two passes last year, one of which was picked off.

McKeesport has dominated Connellsville over the past few years, as the Tigers have beaten the Falcons every season since 2008. Last year McKeesport won by a score of 47-12 on the road.

Connellsville went 2-7 overall in 2013 with a 2-6 conference mark. That 2-7 record matched the program’s second best win total since 2006.

After a 0-4 start to the 2013 season, head coach Dave McDonald’s team won two of their remaining five games and lost two other games by a pair of scores or less. Seventeen players on Connellsville’s squad are seniors, so the Falcons do have a veteran-laden team that could help them this year.

For Smith though, he is focusing on the opening game. As for last season, the Tigers are trying to keep that playoff loss in the past.

“(We’re) not concerned about what we did last year,” Smith said. “We’re thinking about improving our offense, defense and kicking game.”

Friday night’s game is the Pittsburgh Sports Report and US Steel Game of the Week. Students and fans, be sure to take plenty of pictures and Tweet them to @PghSportsReport #HSFootball. The best photos will appear online after the game!

2014 US Steel Game of the Week ScheduleMcKeesport High School Football
8-29 Connellsville at McKeesport
9-5 McGuffey at Charleroi
9-12 Knoch at Ringgold
9-19 Hollidaysburg at Belle Vernon
9-26 Uniontown at Elizabeth Forward
10-3 Jeannette at Clairton
10-10 Uniontown at Thomas Jefferson
10-17 Clairton at Monessen
10-24 Penn Hills at Woodland Hills

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