McKeesport jumped right over the WPIAL first-round hurdle that had plagued the Tigers the previous four seasons.
The No. 3-seeded Tigers (10-0) scored eight touchdowns on their first eight possessions on their way to a 54-28 win against No. 14 Peters Township (5-5) Friday night in the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.
McKeesport had lost in the first round four consecutive years despite earning seeds as high as No. 4 and 5.
There would be no upset this time as McKeesport looked every bit like a No. 3 seed. Its flexbone offense hit on all cylinders as the Tigers ran for 492 total yards. Fullback Mikell Moore carried 23 times for 228 yards and two touchdowns and running back Allen Wright scored on runs of 8, 30 and 53 yards.
McKeesport quarterback David Queen rushed for two touchdowns and completed his only pass for a 25-yard touchdown to Carlos Hudson.
Tim Swoope hooked up with Matt Augenstein for three touchdown passes to help the visiting Indians keep pace with the Tigers most of the game.
The teams combined for 762 yards of total offense and 82 points, but their styles were markedly different.
McKeesport attempted two passes, Peters Township attempted 38.
• Upper St. Clair 44, Kiski Area 13
Trevor Morrow rushed for five touchdowns and 157 yards to pace top-seeded Upper St. Clair (10-0) to a win against No. 16 Kiski Area (5-5). The host Panthers raced to a 21-0 first-quarter lead behind three Morrow touchdown runs. Upper St. Clair rushed for 350 yards as a team and led, 44-6, at halftime.
The 13 points allowed by Upper St. Clair was tied for most points allowed by the Panthers defense this season. Pat Turner rushed for 107 yards including a 79-yard touchdown run for the Cavaliers, who have not won a playoff game since beating Armstrong Central in the 1990 WPIAL quarterfinals.
• Seneca Valley 36, Hempfield 10
T.J. Holl passed for 265 yards and ran for another 113 to lift No. 5 Seneca Valley (9-1) to a win against the 12th-seeded Spartans (6-4). Holl scored on a 6-yard run and Brad Hensler rushed for scores of 3, 6 and 31 yards for the Raiders, who overcame three turnovers and a 3-0 deficit after the first quarter. Hempfield has not won a playoff game since beating Woodland Hills in the first round in 1997.
• Woodland Hills 35, Pine-Richland 14
After a quiet first half, Woodland Hills clung to a 6-0 lead. Then,Trevor Mathis opened the second by returning a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdowns, setting the tone for late-game offensive fireworks. Meanwhile, Art Thompkins scored on runs of 16, 29 and 33 yards as the No. 4 Wolverines (8-2) raced to victory against No. 13 Pine-Richland (5-5).
Mathis' kickoff return loomed large as the Wolverines barely outgained the Rams, 293-285.
Ben DiNucci completed 25 of 32 passes for 248 yards and D'ondre Gastion caught 11 passes for 88 yards for Pine-Richland, 0-3 in playoff games since moving up from AAA in 2008.
Connor Slomka rushed for 46 yards and accounted for both Pine-Richland touchdowns.
• Penn-Trafford 22, Penn Hills 16
Brett Laffoon tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Tim Vecchio with 27 seconds remaining to lift No. 6 Penn-Trafford (7-3) to a victory against No. 11 Penn Hills (5-5) in a first-round thriller.
Earlier, Vecchio returned a fumble two yards for a touchdown and Laffoon scored on a 13-yard run to stake the host Warriors to a 14-10 lead in the fourth quarter.
Penn Hills, however, responded quickly and well. Shawn Featherstone rushed for a 2-yard touchdown to put the Indians ahead, 16-14, with 1:38 remaining, but the Penn Hills defense that had forced three turnovers earlier could not hold.
• Central Catholic 56, Baldwin 10
Three players topped 100 rushing yards for Central Catholic as the No. 2-seeded Vikings (10-0) brushed aside an early deficit to roll to a win against No. 15 Baldwin (4-6) at Cupples Stadium. J. J. Cosentino (4 carries, 100 yards), Riley Redman (8 carries, 102 yards) and Luigi Lista-Brinza (13 carries, 120 yards) carried the load for the Vikings, rushing for a combined five touchdowns.
The Highlanders led, 7-0, after the first quarter thanks to Jacob Elk's 1-yard touchdown run, but Central Catholic dominated thereafter, piling up 509 yards of total offense.
• Gateway 33, North Hills 21
Gateway overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to hold off upset-minded No. 10 North Hills (5-5). The Indians took a 21-20 lead with 6:26 left on Montae Frank's second touchdown run of the game, but Delvon Randall returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards for the touchdown that gave No. 7 Gateway (8-2) the lead for good. Jimmy Moore tossed touchdown passes to Ricky Rogers, Montae Nicholson, Randall and Anthony Davis for the host Gators. Frank scored on runs of 6 and 9 yards for North Hills.