PITTSBURGH — The McDowell Trojans (Erie, PA) defeated the Taylor Allderdice Dragons, 27-13 during their PIAA regional playoff game on Friday at Cupples Stadium on the South Side.
Allderdice’s defense started off hot, but McDowell wore them down in the second half.
The Trojans broke the ice with a field goal, helped by a shanked punt that landed at the Allderdice 10.
Allderdice followed the McDowell scoring drive with a long drive of their own, but a dropped fade in the end zone on fourth down gave the ball back to the Trojans.
On their next drive, Allderdice converted a fourth-and-four on a fake punt, gaining five yards on the ground. Senior athlete Noah Johnston made the gamble worth it a few plays later, running untouched into the end zone from ten yards out to take a 7-3 lead that held until the half.
The Dragons fumbled during the kickoff return to begin the third quarter, and McDowell recovered in plus territory. Running back Artis Simmons ran wild in the second half, beginning with a 20 yard carry to give the Trojans a 10-7 lead.
Simmons scored again just three minutes later, sprinting 60 yards to take a ten point lead. McDowell’s defense adopted a bend-but-don’t-break approach, stifling the Dragons every time they crossed the 50. Senior linebacker Bryce Wood, a Youngstown State commit, killed consecutive promising Allderdice drives on third down, stuffing a run on third-and-short before sacking Parker to end the next drive.
Trojans QB Ben Moore threw a 20 yard touchdown to senior receiver Mathew McGregor as McDowell pulled away.
Allderdice turned the ball over on fourth-and-three from their own 12 early in the fourth quarter, but held the Trojans to a field goal.
The Dragons made it 27-13 with five minutes to go thanks to a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Azerick Jetter to receiver Cornell Weems. They couldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick, however, and McDowell never gave the ball back.
McDowell will face the WPIAL champion in the state quarterfinals next weekend.