MUNHALL, Pa. — The was expected a heavyweight battle between two smaller WPIAL powerhouses.
Punch for punch, Steel Valley and Shady Side Academy delivered. The two Class 2A teams exchanged blows and momentum throughout the night on Friday in a back and forth brawl that saw Steel Valley creep back from an early hole to tie the game before Shady Side Academy responded with a fourth-quarter knockout for a 56-36 victory.
Shady Side Academy threw the first punch with Skyy Moore, who finished the game with eight touchdowns, four in the air and four on the ground. Moore had two rushes for 43 yards on the first drive, including a two-yard touchdown keeper to take a 7-0 lead. They knocked Steel Valley off balance a bit and the Ironmen looked fazed early.
Steel Valley turned the ball over on three straight possessions in the second quarter, and Shady Side capitalized on two of them instantly. Both scores off of turnovers came on one play drives, the highlight being a 72-yard bomb to Dino Tomlin, who finished the game with 157 yards and two touchdowns. The quick score helped Shady Side get out to a 22-6 lead early into the second quarter.
However, it would not have been a heavyweight slugfest without Steel Valley fighting through adversity to get themselves back into the game. Did they ever. With the score 36-21, Moore left the game with an apparent injury. The very next drive, Tomlin went down on a punt return. The two subbed in and out on offense and defense in the third quarter, leaving Shady Side a bit short manned.
Steel Valley saw their chance and took it, forcing two punts and scoring on back to back drives to tie the game up at 36-36. From there, the talented duo of Moore and Tomlin fought through their issues and made the most of the moment.
Moore and the Indians responded promptly with a 30-yard touchdown pass after a long kickoff return to take a 43-36 lead. Then, it was Tomlin’s time. He got open deep over the middle of the field and hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass. A 31-yard touchdown by Moore late capped off the night and delivered the final knockout blow.
The Shady Side Indians will host Neshannock next week, while the Steel Valley Ironmen will travel to Valley.
Hear from Moore, Tomlin and Shady Side Academy head coach Chuck DiNardo after the game: