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PETERS TWP., Pa. — Peters Township scored the game’s first nine points and coasted to a 29-21 win over Upper St. Clair in the teams’ Class-5A Allegheny Eight Conference openers on Friday night.
The hot start almost didn’t happen.
Peters Twp. took the opening kickoff to the 32-yard line and four plays later, was forced into a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line. Star running back Ryan Magiske took a handoff and plowed to the goal line.
When the artificial turf rubber settled, 10 Peters Township players were signaling touchdown, but the far-sideline referee signaled he was down at the one-inch line and the Indians turned it over on downs.
On the next play, Upper St. Clair’s Brandon Shearer was stopped in the end zone for a safety, and the Indians jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead.
Peters then took the free possession straight down the field and capped it off when Logan Pfeuffer found Josh Casilli on a 33-yard go-route for a touchdown.
Upper St. Clair cut into the deficit early in the second quarter when Ethan Dahlem found Shearer on a broken play for a 26-yard touchdown. Dahlem, who was a threat to run all night, scrambled in the pocked, bought time and found Shearer open just before he crossed the line of scrimmage.
Peters scored late in the second quarter when Casilli found the end zone from eight yards out and the Indians carried a 16-7 lead into the half.
The Indians scored on their first possession of the second half when Magiske scored from one-yard out to take a 23-7 lead.
Upper St. Clair answered with a touchdown when Ryan Pantellis took a short pass 84 yards for a touchdown, out running three Indians down the sideline.
Early in the fourth Peters extended the lead when Pfeuffer hooked up with senior Aidan McCall for a 25-yard score, but, again the Panthers were quick to answer back.
Two plays later, Upper St. Clair scored when Delham found Mateo Cepullio for a 65-yard score. The two-point conversion was good and the lead was cut down to eight with 9:17 remaining.
The Panthers wouldn’t get the ball back on offense until the 3:02 mark. The Peters Twp. offense did exactly what it wanted to do and took six minutes off the clock before punting.
Peters Twp. stopped the Panthers on a fourth-and-35 and the Indians kneeled out the clock.
Pfeuffer finished the game 15-29 for 272 yards and two touchdowns while Cassili hauled in 3 passes for 89 yards and a score to go along with a rushing touchdown.
For the Panthers, Delham 13-21 for 284 yards and three scores. He also paced the offense with 36 rushing yards. Pantellis caught eight passes for 156 yards and a touchdown in the loss.