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McKeesport offense explodes in 4th quarter, Tigers rout Altoona |

McKeesport offense explodes in 4th quarter, Tigers rout Altoona

| Saturday, September 6, 2014 12:51 a.m

ALTOONA — McKeesport erupted for 26 fourth-quarter points and rallied to overtake Altoona, 33-17, in a WPIAL Quad East game Friday night at Mansion Park.

Junior running back Khaleke Hudson scored all four of the Tigers’ touchdowns in the fourth quarter on runs of 11, 40, 77 and 14 yards and finished with 236 yards on 21 carries.

Hudson, a 6-foot, 202-pound junior, had five TDs and 346 yards rushing in a 36-7 season-opening win over Connellsville last week.

Altoona took advantage of three McKeesport fumbles to build a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter, but the Tigers didn’t panic and never strayed from their game plan — a bruising ground game that produced 348 rushing yards and 19 first downs.

“This team is inexperienced, and we’ve been struggling with turnovers,” McKeesport coach George Smith said. “But, the good thing is that the kids are resilient. I thought our offensive line hung in there.

“We stuck with the game plan,” Smith said. “I wasn’t going to get away from it.”

Altoona’s James Metzgar booted a 28-yard field goal following the first McKeesport fumble, and Eli Mencer ran for a 7-yard score following the second fumble to give Altoona a 10-0 lead after one quarter.

Another errant quarterback pitch gave Altoona the ball at the McKeesport 34 midway through the second, and the Lions turned it into another TD — a 4-yard pass from Devin Miller to Kevin Givens — and a 17-0 lead.

Mark Cromerdie’s 33-yard scamper cut the deficit to 17-7 at the half.

Hudson’s 11-yard run made it 17-13 early in the fourth, and the Tigers turned the game around when Justice Smith intercepted a pass and ran it back 32 yards to the Altoona 40. Hudson scored on the next play.

The Tigers tacked on two more scores late in the game — both by Hudson — to make it a rout.

Jim Lane is a freelance writer.

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