His team down a point with less than two minutes to play, Dorian Brown took the handoff and broke free, racing 80 yards to give Baldwin a shocking 21-14 victory against visiting Thomas Jefferson Friday night.
It was a major victory for Baldwin, as the Class AAAA Highlanders rallied from a 14-0 deficit against the neighboring Jaguars, a perennial Class AAA powerhouse and the No. 3 team in the Post-Gazette's WPIAL rankings.
Dom Presto broke a scoreless tie with two touchdown passes in the second quarter -- 10 yards to Zach Schademan and 3 yards to Ryan Ruffing --for Thomas Jefferson (2-2).
Brown, who gained 278 yards on 34 carries, scored on a 4-yard run in the third quarter to start the comeback. Zack Denardo 's 23-yard pass to Tarief Green later that period made it 14-13.
Ruffing finished with 165 yards on 22 carries.
Senior quarterback Dakota Conwell's leadership skills were in full splendor as he rallied the visiting Panthers from two double-digit deficits against the Class AAA Indians.
Conwell, a Pitt linebacker recruit, ran for four touchdowns in the second half to lead Upper St. Clair (3-1) back from a 27-14 halftime deficit. Conwell scored on runs of 3, 34, 50 and 9 yards, his 50-yarder breaking a 27-27 tie in the fourth quarter. He finished with 190 yards on 18 carries.
West Allegheny (2-2) took a 21-0 lead in the second quarter as Dylan Bongironi threw for two scores to Tanner Cogar and ran for one.
Then, after third-ranked Upper St. Clair drew to within 21-14 in the second period, Bongiorni ran 55 yards for another touchdown. He accounted for 317 yards on offense, 142 rushing and 175 passing.
Tied, 14-14, after one quarter, the host Tigers scored the final 35 points to rout McDowell in the Northern Seven. Mack Leftwich, who completed 15 of 23 for 284 yards, threw touchdown passes of 25 yards to Gregg Garrity and 21 yards to James Kleinhampl in the opening period for North Allegheny (4-0. 2-0). Greg Garman tied the score twice for McDowell (3-1, 1-1) with a 78-yard run and an 87-yard kickoff return. The Tigers, No. 2 in the Post-Gazette's WPIAL Class AAAA rankings, then scored five consecutive times on the ground, twice in the second quarter and three times in the second half.
Forrest Barnes rushed for four touchdowns to lead the Raiders to a 34-0 bulge early in the second half, and they coasted to a surprisingly easy non-conference triumph against the visiting Tigers. Barnes gained 230 yards on 23 carries and scored from 7, 2, 60 and 70 yards. Jordan Brown completed 8 of 16 passes for 172 yards and ran for a touchdown, and Michael Denny kicked two field goals for Seneca Valley (3-1). Ed Stockett completed 11 of 26 passes for 117 yards for McKeesport (3-1).
J.P. Holtz rushed for three touchdowns, including two in the second half that broke an 18-18 tie and sparked the host Titans to a Northern Seven victory. The teams were tied, 14-14, at halftime, as Holtz scored on a 4-yard run and Alex Conway on an 11-yard pass from Ryan Mincher for Shaler (3-1, 1-0), and Josh Hulbert on a 44-yard run and Jordan Blackman on a 79-yard punt return for Noth Hills (2-2, 1-1). Holtz's scoring runs of 3 and 4 yards in ther third quarter were the difference. Mike Thorpe gained 101 yards on 21 carries, and Mincher completed 8 of 12 passes for 113 yards for the Titans, who also intercepted four passes.
Austin Whipple threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score and Brock Baranowski scored twice on the ground, leading the Rams (1-3, 1-1) to their first victory. Baranowski scored on a 23-yard run and an 8-yard pass and finished with 140 yards on 16 carries in the Northern Seven matchup. Whipple completed 11 of 14 for 109 yards against the Golden Tornado (2-2, 0-2).
Off to a rare 0-3 start, the host Indians exorcised a number of demons in their Big East opener. Aaron Bailey carried nine times for 152 yards and one touchdown and Toreek Hester ran for two scores for Penn Hills (1-3, 1-0), which sprinted to a 34-0 halftime advantage. Jake Diguilio's 8-yard run in the third quarter broke the shutout for the Mustangs (1-3, 0-2).
The visiting Mountain Lions rallied from a 14-3 halftime deficit to shut down the Cavaliers in the Big East. Altoona (2-2, 1-1) scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to take the lead for good and added an insurance touchdown in the fourth. Kiski Area (0-4, 0-2) had two turnovers, both interceptions.
Zachary Cooper scored on runs of 83 and 75 yards, leading the visiting Falcons (2-2, 1-1) to a Foothills victory. Cooper finished with 177 yards on 12 carries. The Wildcats fell to 2-2, 0-2.
The Spartans traveled to neighboring Norwin and prevailed in this matchup of rivals and Foothills Conference teams seeking their first victory. Hempfield hoisted its records for 1-3, 1-1 and Norwin fell to 0-4, 0-1.