Fourth Quarter Comeback Sends Penn Hills To Class 5A WPIAL Championship Game

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It was a battle of the Indians in Friday night’s Class 5A semifinal game between No. 2 Penn Hills and No. 3 Peters Township at Norwin High School.

With 22 unanswered points and 14 in the fourth quarter, Penn Hills came away with a 22-14 win, booking their return ticket next week for the WPIAL Championship Game.

After a scoreless first quarter, Peters Township jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Junior Ryan Magiske scored the first touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run. The Indians extended their lead later in the quarter on a 20-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Logan Pfeuffer to senior Jackson McCloskey.

Down 14-0, the Penn Hills offense finally woke up. Before the half, senior quarterback Hollis Mathis connected with classmate wide receiver Dante Cephas for a 7-yard. Senior Daequan Hardy ran in the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 14-8 at the half.

Both defenses stood tall with a scoreless third quarter, but the Penn Hills offense had two much firepower in the forth quarter to keep under control for Peters Township. Penn Hills tied it up on another connection from Mathis to Cephas, this time from 24 yards. The conversion attempt failed, keeping the score at 14-14.

The game-winning drive was set up by a Hardy interception of Pfeuffer. Penn Hills took advantage of the turnover with a 5-yard rushing touchdown by senior Terry “Tank” Smith with 3:37 remaining in the game to seal the victory.

Mathis finished the game 9 of 28 for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Cephas was his main target, hauling in four catches for 75 yards and both scores.

Penn Hills improve to 13-0 and will seek its first WPIAL Championship since 1995 on Friday against No. 5 West Allegheny at Norwin High School at 7:30 p.m.