McKeesport clinched a perfect regular season this past Thursday with an impressive 49-12 win over host Gateway. The Tigers finish the regular season at 9-0, complete with a Quad-A Foothills Conference title.
A big part of the Tigers' success has been a close-knit senior bunch. A key member of that class is running back/defensive back Allen Wright.
Wright leads the team with 80 tackles this season, and is part of a three-headed monster in McKeesport's triple option attack. He's rushed for 345 yards, including a key second quarter touchdown against Gateway. Joining him in the backfield is quarterback David Queen (592 yards, 12 TD) and fellow running back Michael Moore (795 yards, 14 TD).
Wright was big in the field position game on Thursday night, returning three kicks for a total of 132 yards, including a 56-yarder. All three kicks led to McKeesport touchdowns
Wright won't take full credit for McKeesport's success. He says it's been a whole group effort.
"Since we were younger, it has always been that way with our age group," Wright said. "Nobody ever gets paid attention to, going back to our days in midget football. We've been waiting for this. There's probably about 18 in our senior class."
Wright also credits the return of longtime head coach George Smith, bringing them to the season they've had.
"I went to practices when my brother played for him," Wright added. "It feels more comfortable. It's a big difference. There's discipline, there's respect."
Based on to season's success, Wright is looking to gain some late interest from the colleges. Interestingly, an injury last season propelled him to work even harder, in hopes for the type of season he's had. He's found it be a very strong life lesson.
"Honestly, it was just being afraid to not succeed," Wright said. "Because I've never really been taken away from football, last year hurt me. Watching our team lose, hearing all the critics, it made me work harder.
"It just taught me to always work hard. Somebody out there is working just as hard as you are. If you slack off for one second, that could be the difference."
McKeesport has sent some guys to Division I programs in recent years. Ty-Meer Brown is a starting safety at Connecticut, where he has 52 tackles on the season. Delvon Simmons transferred from Texas Tech to USC, where he must sit out this season. He started all 13 games for the Red Raiders last season, finishing with 27 tackles. Branden Jackson is a sophomore linebacker for Texas Tech, where he's played in eight games this season with 19 tackles.
Wright looks up to some of those former players who have gone on to some success at the next level, and hopes that a strong 2013 season for he and his classmates, they too will be able to do the same.
"I do look up to them," Wright said. "There's many people from McKeesport that has had DI ability. To be that and be a student-athlete, that's inspiring, That's one of the bigger things aside from football."