U.S.O. (University Prep, Sci-Tech, and Obama)’s senior quarterback Akil Young is pretty much satisfied with the fact that his Wildcats (6-3) are moving on.
|MONSTER GAME—U.S.O. quarterback Akil Young came up large on Nov. 9 against Somerset, throwing for 462 yards on 30 of 46 passing. (Courier Photo/William McBride/File)
His record-setting game on Nov 9 against Somerset (5-6), in which he threw for 462 yards on 30 of 46 passing, is what he described simply as, “nice.” No other quarterback from Southwestern, PA has thrown for that many yards in a state playoff game.
“I just took what the defense was giving me all game,” he said. “I feel like they didn’t play a bad game defensively but we had some really good things happen to us on offense.”
For the first time since Schenley did it after their final year as a program, the Wildcats—as their predecessors— walked away with a 47-38 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) play-in round victory at Cupples Stadium.
Not only did Young register the second-best pass yards mark in what will be the 25th year of the state playoffs, he tossed a staggering six touchdowns.
Allentown Central Catholic’s Brendan Nosovich set the modern mark, last year, with a 496 yard game in a PIAA match against Valley View.
“He played a monster game,” junior receiver Marcus Johnson said. “We didn’t try to go deep a million times and try to pound the ball down their throats. We tried to stay with the 10-yard range with our routes and found ourselves in good situations on offense.”
Johnson was Young’s number one target in the victory as he snatched six passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
By halftime, it was announced that Young already had 300 yards, passing. Both the quarterback and Johnson referenced a play that was a key in gaining the confidence necessary to pass the ball like they did.
“That 82-yarder to Marcus was the play in which I knew I was feeling very confident,” Young said about one of his six touchdown passes. “I really liked the play call. It was a play-action pass in which we just aired it out. At that point, I was just having fun.”
On that play, the Wildcats faked a reverse in which the Sommerset defense bit, which created a situation in which Johnson could get free.
“I faked a skinny post to the inside and once I noticed that the corner and safety stepped up,” Johnson said. “I saw that I and took off down the field. Akil put the ball right on me and I took it straight into the end zone.”
Somerset’s quarterback Tanner Stull passed for 205 yards on 15 of 29 passes with two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for a score.
“He had a good game,” Young said. “He was a solid athlete who was tough to contain.”
As for any reaction to the win, Johnson said that it was minimal.
“There wasn’t a huge or outlandish celebration after the game,” Johnson said. “We’re just focused on getting to the next round and picking up a state game on the road. We’re not at all content with just winning one game and then being eliminated. We’ve got bigger plans than that.”
The Wildcats will take on undefeated Clearfield High School (11-0), the winners of PIAA district IX, on Nov 17 at Clarion University.
On the day prior, the City League champions Perry (8-2), will take on Erie McDowell (5-5) at Fairfield High School for their Class AAAA first-round state playoff game.
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(Malik Vincent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @malikvincent)