Steel Valley’s Todd Hill named Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week
For some teams, the regular season was an uphill climb.
For opponents of 2016 Class 2A champion Steel Valley, that climb is about to get a lot steeper.
After losing to Shady Side Academy in Week 3, the Ironmen have been dominant in winning six straight games and outscoring their opponents 296-44 in the process to finish in second place in the Allegheny Conference.
The engine of this Steel Valley team centers on running back/linebacker Todd Hill.
In his latest dominant performance, Hill rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns on runs of 34, 30, 26 and 7 yards, plus he led the team with 23 tackles as the Ironmen pounded playoff-bound South Side Beaver, 53-6, in a nonconference game that will catch the eye of the WPIAL football steering committee.
Steel Valley coach Rod Steele summed it up perfectly.
“He was dominant on both sides of the ball,” he said.
Hill is 5-foot-9, 215 pounds, which might be considered on the small side, but he plays like a giant on the field. Steele said besides his physical abilities, there is more that makes Hill a special player.
“Todd is a great leader,” Steele said. “He makes the call on defense. He’s like another coach on the field.”
Back in August, Hill joined Parrish Parker of West Mifflin and Terry “Tank” Smith of Penn Hills as WPIAL football standouts who verbally committed to Howard in Washington, D.C.
Next season is not on Hill’s mind right now, however, as he is focused on winning a second WPIAL football championship in the last three years.
Steel Valley’s big win on Friday should put the Ironmen near the top when the seeding committee brackets the 16-team Class 2A playoff field Monday.
Steele is happy with where his team is after rolling to a victory on Friday.
“It was a good win versus a quality opponent,” he said. “I like the way we are playing right now.”
WPIAL Week 9 honorable mentions:
Josh O’Hare, Canon-McMillan
A win this past Friday and Canon-McMillan would clinch a playoff berth for the first time this decade. Mission accomplished for the Big Mac attack and Josh O’Hare, who ran for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game’s first score on a 54-yard jaunt that led Canon-McMillan to a 43-13 triumph over Butler in Class 6A. The victory earns the Big Macs sixth place and a WPIAL playoff berth for the first time since 2008.
Sean McGowan, Bethel Park
In Week 8, Bethel Park was embarrassed by Peters Township to end the Black Hawks’ Class 5A Allegheny 8 Conference championship hopes. So if Bethel Park wasn’t going to win the conference crown, it made sure in Week 9 that rival Upper St. Clair wasn’t going to get a share of it either. Sean McGowan ran through a soggy Panthers defense to the tune of 230 yards, a touchdown run and even a scoring pass as the Black Hawks earned a home playoff game with a 20-14 win.
Skyy Moore, Shady Side Academy
And the beat goes on for Shady Side Academy and standout quarterback Skyy Moore. On Friday, with Mother Nature not at her best with steady to heavy rain affecting nearly all of the district games, Moore laughed at the elements and a good Avonworth defense by rushing for 336 yards and four touchdowns, plus he connected on 6 of 10 passes for 104 yards as the Indians finished off a perfect regular season with a 28-10 road victory over the Antelopes.
Jackson Hall, New Brighton
New Brighton lost three of the first four games this season and it looked like it would be “same old Lions.” But this cat has shattered that notion with four wins in their last five and ending the regular season with three straight wins. The latest victory came in a battle for third place in the Midwestern Athletic Conference thanks to a big effort from quarterback Jackson Hall. He hit on 17 of 27 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown pass as New Brighton edged Riverside, 22-16.
Israel Reed, Imani Christian
While the schedule listed it as a nonconference game, and it was the season finale for Chartiers-Houston, Saturday’s game for Imani Christian meant a lot. With the season on the line, quarterback Israel Reed decided to come up with a large effort as he connected on 14 of 19 passes for 424 yards and six touchdowns in less-than-ideal conditions at historic Graham Field in Wilkinsburg as the Saints rolled to a 54-0 whitewash of the Buccaneers to clinch the second wild card spot in Class A.
Bonus Mention -- No playoffs, but big performances
There will be no playoffs for half the WPIAL football teams, so this weekend was a close to the 2018 campaign for nearly all of the teams that are not postseason bound. Some players who ended their seasons with an exclamation point:
Jake Blumer of Leechburg with 240 yards rushing;
Matt Goodlin of Knoch with 234 yards rushing;
Max Pisula of Greensburg Central Catholic with 234 yards rushing;
Eric Wilson of Sto-Rox with 13 of 18 passing for 330 yards;
Luke McCoy and Daniel Blank of Laurel with a combined 388 yards rushing.