Of the 62 games involving at least one WPIAL team last week, 32 featured a team that scored at least 40 points and 15 had a team score 50 or more.
Baldwin was not one of those teams. The Highlanders put up a goose egg Friday night. But that's been par for the course for opponents of Upper St. Clair this season.
The WPIAL Class AAAA No. 1 Panthers (5-0 overall, 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference) blanked the Highlanders, 44-0, their fourth shutout in five games. USC has allowed a WPIAL-low 10 points in 2013, all coming in the first game of the season against Woodland Hills.
"We have eight senior starters returning," Panthers coach Jim Render said. "They're good players, they're experienced players and they like to play."
To those eight add Rori Blair, a Pitt recruit who missed last season after suffering a stroke, and more than 80 percent of the defense had starting experience coming into the season.
Blair has been a key so far this season, applying pressure up front.
"He's been doing some good things for us," Render said. "He's so quick up there. But we have other guys up front doing good things for us, too."
Joining Blair in the rotation on the defensive line are Robert Plummer, Mac Pope, Ben Haus and David Dougherty. The five players give Upper St. Clair depth and versatility.
The defensive line has been key to the Panthers' ability to stop both the run and pass.
Penn Hills entered Week 4 as one of the top rushing teams in the league, but the Panthers shut down the dynamic duo of Billy Kisner and Isaiah Jones in a 35-0 win.
Kisner entered the game against Upper St. Clair with 568 rushing yards in three games, but was held to just 36 yards against the Panthers. Jones had 438 yards through three contests, and managed only 13 against Upper St. Clair.
Then this past week, the Panthers faced a Baldwin team led by quarterback Doug Altavilla, who entered the game as the sixth-leading passer in the WPIAL. Altavilla completed just 9 of 28 passes for 44 yards and was intercepted twice.
The Highlanders managed just six first downs in the loss, two coming via penalty.
"One week, we were playing primarily a running team, and the next week, a passing team, and we had equal success," Render said. "It's a balanced group."
The Panthers haven't been too shabby on the other side of the ball, either. Upper St. Clair is averaging 36.6 points, the third best in WPIAL Class AAAA.
A main reason for the team's offensive success has been the running game, which is averaging 246 yards.
Trevor Morrow has led the way, rushing for 439 yards and eight touchdowns on 75 carries. Pope leads the team with eight touchdowns.
"Trevor has been a nice piece to the puzzle," Render said. "He has shiftiness and good size. He's been able to use both finesse and strength. He's also been complemented nicely by Mac Pope. We have a good group of backs."
Which has taken the pressure off first-year starting quarterback Joe Repischak. A senior, he had the tough challenge of replacing Post-Gazette Fab 22 performer Pete Coughlin, but Repischak has thrown for 498 yards in the first five weeks, completing 29 of 53 passes.
"He's been getting the reps and learning on the run," Render said. "He's made some mistakes, but he's also made some very good plays. He'll continue to improve."
The common thread among all the players mentioned -- Repischak, Morrow, Pope, Blair, Plummer, Haus, and Dougherty -- is their grade level.
They're all seniors.
Render, who has coached Upper St. Clair since 1979, said prior to the season this is the most senior-laden team he's ever had.
"All coaches talk about wanting veterans," Render said. "But with high school kids, you often don't have that luxury. But the way the cards fell, we had a lot of kids the last few years getting playing time as underclassmen and that's really helping us this year."