Football: McKeesport's season ends in overtime

Written by Joe Koch on .

Joe Koch profiles the McKeesport football team.

"McKeesport Area's hopes for an extended run in the WPIAL Class AAAA football playoffs seemed all too real as the Tigers held a 32-21 lead with 1:56 left in the third quarter of their quarterfinal game with Penn-Trafford this past Friday night at Gateway.

McKeesport even held a 32-24 lead with 4:11 left in regulation after a Warriors field goal.

But a turnover on downs, and a late Penn-Trafford touchdown extended the game into overtime and the Warriors took a 39-32 lead in the extra period when quarterback Brett Laffoon hit Tim Vecchio on a fourth-and-21 play for the winning score.

McKeesport was unable to move the ball on its overtime possession, and the Tigers' season came to an end with an overall record of 9-2. Both of their losses came against Foothills Conference rival Penn-Trafford."


Alumni Update - Allen Wright (Indiana Pa.)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

INDIANA, Pa. – Sophomore football player Allen Wright and senior women's basketball player Zhané Brooks have been named the IUPWright IUP Athletes of the Week, for the week ending on Sunday, Nov. 15.

This is Wright's first career IUP weekly honor after scoring a pair of touchdowns in the Crimson Hawks' 62-0 victory over Cheyney in the regular season finale on Saturday.

Wright, a McKeesport graduate, scored on a 23-yard interception return and also on a 34-yard return off a blocked punt. They were the first two touchdowns of his career.

The interception return came with 5:00 left in the fourth quarter, stepping in front of a Cheyney pass and sprinting down the left sideline and into the end zone.

The cornerback's second touchdown came just moments later after linebacker Diamond Jones (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne) blocked a punt, as Wright picked it up on the left hash, cut back across the field, weaving through defenders for the score.

Wright and the Crimson Hawks advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs and will play at Charleston (W. Va.) this Saturday.


(photo courtesy of Indiana Pa.)


Basketball: Cash not done doing her family proud

Written by Joe Bendel on .

Joe Bendel profiles former McKeesport basketball star Swin Cash.

"Swin Cash welcomed a struggling teenager into her Cash for Kids program a few years back. The youngster had endured disciplinary problems at McKeesport High School and was in need of a structured environment.

In short order, he was challenged to recommit to his class work; to benevolently engage with peers; and to work within the framework of a basketball team.

It took time, but the young man eventually bought in.

"He didn't go on to college, but knowing that he graduated from high school, we considered it a major success," Cash was saying the other day, in town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her Cash for Kids foundation. "We're in a day and age where you don't just look for home runs, but you look for small things to conquer along the way.""


College Football: McKeesport grad is a scream at Illinois

Written by Joe Bendel on .

Joe Bendel profiles McKeesport graduate T.J. Neal, who is now a standout football player at Illinois.

"In football, big hits are often followed by bigger celebrations. There was the Shawne Merriman "Lights Out" Dance. The Jared Allen "Cattle Rope." The Joey Porter "Kick."

And then there is the T.J. Neal ... Scream?

One of the more memorable ones occurred after the Illinois middle linebacker, by way of McKeesport Area High School, torpedoed into the backfield and threw running back Jeremiah Bryson of Middle Tennessee State for a 1-yard loss.

"Knocked him off of his feet; he went flying into the air," Neal said, his voice getting more audible. "I let all my emotions out, all my rage. I get the chills when I get a big, nice hit like that. I get this energy.""



Football: South Feature Athlete - McKeesport's Khaleke Hudson

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Khaleke Hudson
School: McKeesport
Grade: 12
Sport: Football
Position: Running back-Safety

Background: Hudson rushed for 150 yards and scored on a 72-yard touchdown run to vault McKeesport to a 42-7 win at Norwin last Friday. Hudson leads the Tigers in rushing (768 yards) and touchdowns (20 touchdowns). He's averaging 10.1 yards per carry. Hudson's impact has been felt on defense, too, as he leads the team in interceptions and fumble recoveries, and is second in tackles.