Trib HSSN Football Team of the Week for November 15, 2021

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Monday, November 15, 2021 | 5:07 p.m.


So what does a head coach think when the opposing team prepares for a potential equalizer in the dying seconds of regulation?

“I’m just thinking about the overtime plans, what we would do if we win the toss, how to attack Gateway, who we would have available due to injuries and cramps,” said Penn Hills coach Jon. LeDonne. “We preach all the time playing a full 48 minutes and how special teams can impact big games.”

Overtime never happened as Gateway missed a 30-yard field goal at the end of time, giving Penn Hills a fierce 23-20 Highway victory on Friday that saw the Indians advance to the halves. class 5A WPIAL finals.

The quarterfinal rematch played out very differently from the teams’ first meeting, which was easily won by the Gators, 41-13, in Week 2.

“The biggest difference is the growth and maturity of our young players and taking care of football,” said LeDonne. “We had a lot of mental mistakes in the first game due to the fact that a lot of guys were playing in their second college football game. As these players gained college experience, the game started to slow down for them, allowing them to play faster.

“We changed our offensive line from the second game of the season, which had three new starters on their second start. They have also become a much more cohesive unit.

After a scoreless first quarter, Penn Hills took control with 17 points in the second quarter on a pair of Julian Dugger touchdowns and a 30-yard field goal by Charlie Rosemeyer.

“We played our physical style of football and minimized turnovers and mental mistakes,” said LeDonne. “In the second half we had minor injuries and cramping issues that put some players in different positions. Not being able to move the ball much in the second half with a quarterback sidelined really had an impact on the game plan. Our players adapted and Julian was able to come back for the winning stroke in which he made two big plays. “

Gateway came back strong in the second half with 20 unanswered points to take a 20-17 lead at the end of the fourth quarter.

Battling cramps in both legs that kept him from playing most of the second half, Julian Dugger returned to create a winning workout with a big run and pass that set up goalkeeper Amir Key who put the Indians in place, 23-20.

“It was an intense moment,” said LeDonne. “We hadn’t been doing this all year. Big guys hit big in big games, and that’s exactly what he did. The block in front of him led him into the end zone.

Gateway attempted to rally again, descending the field for the last-second field goal attempt that sailed wide.

Second-year student Julian Dugger was huge all year for the Indians, but his performance back in the game to lead the race to victory while in full limp mode was legendary.

“Julian struggled with intense cramps the entire second half,” said LeDonne. “He’s a tough boy, mentally strong. I knew he would be back with the game in play. He still couldn’t open up and run, but he did what he had to to make things happen. He’s the contender in him, the best quarterback in the state. It’s going to be fun watching him as he continues to evolve and grow.

Dugger and his Indian teammates’ next challenge is perfect. On Friday, Penn Hills will face the undefeated and seeded Moon in the 5A semi-final at North Allegheny.

“They are undefeated and have the No. 1 ranking for a reason,” said LeDonne. “Coach Linn did a great job building a culture there, developing the program. I hope we can match their intensity after such a big game the week before.

2021 HSSN Team of the Week

Week 10 – Laurel Highlands Mustang

Week 9 – Southern Allegheny Gladiators

Week 8 – Leechburg Blue Devils

Week 7 – Bobcat lynx

Week 6 – Adventurers of Seneca Valley

Week 5 – Panthers of Haute-Sainte-Claire

Week 4 – Mohawk Warriors

Week 3 – Union scotties

Week 2 – McKeesport Tigers

Week 1 – Titans Shaler

Week zero – Northgate Flames

Tags: Penn Hills


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