Thomas Jefferson’s Max Shaw named Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week
Thomas Jefferson’s great success over the decades has been a simple recipe.
Dominate the line of scrimmage and run the ball down the opponent’s throats.
That popular menu item in Jaguars Country was on display in Week 8 as Thomas Jefferson plowed Greensburg Salem, 70-21, in a matchup of possible playoff teams from the Class 4A Big Eight Conference.
Senior running back Max Shaw was the workhorse, toting the pigskin 25 times for 286 yards.
For his performance, he is the Trib HSSN Football Player of the Week.
“Max had a great game vs. Greensburg Salem,” Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak said. “I think they said he had (over) 280 yards rushing and really only played a half of football. He played the first series of the third quarter. His stats would be crazy if he played in the second half of games.”
Cherpak credits another sport for Shaw’s football success.
“Max has his own style of running. He is shifty and hard to tackle but can also go the distance. He has great balance from being an excellent wrestler. He breaks a lot of tackles.”
Shaw scored six touchdowns on runs of 10, 5, 1, 30, 1 and 9 yards in the Jaguars’ biggest offensive output of the season.
“Our offensive line has been really good,” said Cherpak, a former outstanding O-lineman himself. “They are big but can all run pretty well. They have controlled the line of scrimmage in every game.”
The win kept Thomas Jefferson perfect at 8-0 overall as it prepares to play West Mifflin in Week 9. A victory gives the three-time defending champion Jaguars the outright conference championship and likely a top seed in the Class 4A playoffs.
“This team is very similar to many of our good teams from the past in that we are very physical.” Cherpak said. “We always want to run the ball on offense and play excellent defense and special teams. The key as always is to stay healthy. This can be one of the best we have had.”
WPIAL Week 8 honorable mentions
Logan Pfeuffer, Peters Township
All year, competitive games have been the norm in the Class 5A Allegheny Eight Conference. Even the teams near the basement of the conference have played the top teams tough. So when two of the four teams tied for first met, eyebrows were raised when Peters Township cruised past Bethel Park. Indians quarterback Logan Pfeuffer did his part in the runaway victory, hitting on 12 of 14 passes for 137 yards and three touchdown passes, as well as a scoring reception that delivered the exclamation point.
Jalen Price, Armstrong
Armstrong started the season 3-1 overall but dropped four straight games and was on the brink of elimination heading into back-to-back homes games against Fox Chapel in Week 8 and Kiski Area in Week 9. Following Friday’s win, it’s one down, one to go as far as earning a playoff berth this season for the River Hawks. The one down came in part to quarterback Jalen Price, who connected on 10 of 13 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown, to go along with four scoring runs in the Hawks’ 41-14 triumph over the Foxes.
Larry Callaway, Belle Vernon
Belle Vernon does not seemed phased by the fact it lost its starting quarterback for the season as the Leopards continue to run wild on the ground. Last week, Mason Pascoe rushed for 204 yards; this week it was Larry Callaway carrying the load on offense. Callaway rushed for 262 yards and touchdown runs of 9 and 69 yards as the Leopards cruised to a 48-0 whitewash of Plum in a nonconference game.
Skyy Moore, Shady Side Academy
Since beating Steel Valley in Week 3, Shady Side Academy put it on cruise control in staying undefeated heading into tough challenges in the final two weeks with both East Allegheny and Avonworth on the slate. The Indians didn’t blink in their regular season home finale as they pasted East Allegheny, 56-21, with Skyy Moore doing damage through the air and on the ground. Moore was 5 of 6 for 163 yards passing and two touchdown throws while also rushing for 174 yards and two touchdowns. SSA is one win from a perfect regular season two years after a winless campaign.
Max Pisula, Greensburg Central Catholic
They may not be heading to the playoffs, but that is not going to slow down Max Pisula and Greensburg Central Catholic. In a Class A nonconference game between teams that will just miss out on postseason play, GCC quarterback Pisula connected on 13 of his 20 passes for 220 yards with touchdowns of 15, 56, 47 and 1 yard, to go along with 122 rushing yards and a pair of scoring totes as the Centurions rolled past Cornell, 43-8.
Bonus mention, Latrobe playoff bound
In 2009, Latrobe ended up 3-3 in the Foothills Conference and tied Woodland Hills for third place behind Gateway and McKeesport. The Wildcats were given the No. 13 seed in the 16-team Quad-A playoff tournament and were quickly bounced by No. 4 North Allegheny, 47-0. Little did fans of the orange and black attack know it would be nine more years before their favorite football team would get another taste of postseason play. Latrobe clinched a spot in the 2018 Class 5A playoffs with a 48-0 shutout of Albert Gallatin.