WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal capsule: Pine-Richland vs. McKeesport |

WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal capsule: Pine-Richland vs. McKeesport

Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Ben DiNucci carries North Hills' Brandon Wagner into the end zone on a touchdown run Friday Sept. 26, 2014, at Pine-Richland.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For Trib Total Media
McKeesport quarterback TyWann Smith (5) outruns Plum defensive back Patrick Crossey for a 61-yard touchdown during the first quarter of a WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal game Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, at Norwin.


NO. 1 PINE-RICHLAND (11-0) vs. NO. 5 MCKEESPORT (10-1) 7:30 p.m. Friday at North Allegheny

After a .500 season in his first year as coach in 2013, Pine-Richland’s Eric Kasperowicz couldn’t have asked for much more this season from a team that has won its first 11 games and has been challenged just once.

Other than a 28-24 victory over North Allegheny in the second game of the regular season, Pine-Richland has had an easy time of it, winning by an average of 35 points.

But the stakes are getting higher with each week of the postseason, where a semifinal matchup looms with McKeesport.

“They’re a great football team,” Kasperowicz said. “They’re 10-1 for a reason.”

Where Pine-Richland fell short in the 2003 state title game, McKeesport has won it all twice under coach George Smith.

“He’s one of the legends of the WPIAL,” Kasperowicz said. “He’s one of the best coaches to come out of Western Pennsylvania, and they run a unique offense.

“It’s something you don’t see every day,” Kasperowicz said of the Tigers’ flexbone offense. “It’s different, which always puts a little fear in an opposing coach’s eyes.”

McKeesport’s lone loss came in the third game of the season, 28-0 to Penn-Trafford, another undefeated team which is facing Central Catholic in the other Class AAAA semifinal.

“That was a long time ago,” Smith said of the rare Saturday afternoon home loss. “We just worry about each game as they come. One at a time.”

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