CANONSBURG, Pa. — Upper St, Clair (5-2, 1-2 Class-5A Allegheny Six) walked into Canon-McMillan’s (5-2, 1-2 Class-6A Tri-County Five) house and defeated the Big Macs 24-17 on Friday night. After a sluggish start to the game, the Panthers used a better offensive performance in the second half to overcome a second-half deficit and complete the comeback.
After a quick three-and-out by the Panthers offense to start the game, the resulting punt set the Big Macs up in prime scoring position. The Big Macs used a nine-play drive to kick off the scoring as Zachary Welsh finished the drive with a 17-yard rushing touchdown.
Upper St. Clair cut into the one-score lead later in the first half as Bennett Henderson booted a 25-yard field goal to get the Panthers on the board. The Big Macs would negate that field goal with one of their own later in the second quarter to push the score back to 7 points before halftime.
The Panthers looked as if they were going to tack on some more points to begin the third quarter as they moved the ball down to the Big Macs’ 17-yard line but were halted after two failed trick plays. During Henderson’s second field goal attempt of the game, Canon-Mac’s Tyler Armstead burst off the edge and blocked the attempt. As a result, Geno Galgaro picked up the loose ball and rumbled down the field for a special teams touchdown.
The Panthers rallied and answered back with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard quarterback keeper from Ethan Hellmann to bring the score back to one possession. The Panthers defense immediately answered with a three-and-out to get the ball back.
The offense of the Panthers thanked their defense by scoring again to tie the game up at 17 as Hellmann found Charlie Bywalski in the corner of the endzone for a 12-yard touchdown connection.
Two plays later, the USC defense stepped up again as it forced a Big Mac fumble that resulted in a quick change of possession. Hellmann gave the Panthers their first lead of the game minutes later as he rumbled in a 5-yard quarterback keeper.
The Panthers went on to seal their sixth victory of the season as Nico D’Orazio intercepted Ty Jansma’s pass with just under three minutes left in the game.
Next week, the Panthers will return home to play host to Moon in a conference matchup while the Big Macs will travel to take on Peters Township.