Is Trinity loss last game for Dalton?
11/6/2010 3:31 AM
IMPERIAL - West Allegheny ended Trinity's football season with a 35-14 victory in a WPIAL Class AAA first-round playoff game Friday night.
The bigger question is whether West Allegheny also ended the coaching career of Ed Dalton at Trinity.
The Trinity School Board stripped Dalton of his athletic director duties and transferred him to a teacher's position in June. This action came after the school attempted to fire Dalton last December, then rescinded those plans, allowing him another season as football coach.
Now, the waiting begins anew to see if he is retained.
"I don't know what's going to happen," said Dalton, who is in his 12th season. "That is for someone way smarter than me to figure out. I can only do the best I can do."
Trinity (6-4), the third-place team from the Big Eight Conference, could not compete against the larger linemen of West Allegheny, hemorrhaging 249 yards on 46 carries against the Indians' wildcat offense.
Running back Aaron McKinney did the most damage, gaining 163 yards on 27 carries and scoring West Allegheny's first three touchdowns.
His runs of 15, 3 and 1 yards gave the Indians a 21-0 lead. McKinney, who stepped in when senior Mike Caputo went down with an ankle injury early in the season, went over the 1,000-yard mark. He has 1,002 yards rushing this season.
"I'm not surprised," said WA head coach Bob Palko of McKinney's success. "He's as tough a kid as you will find. He's strong and he gets it. We miss the threat we had with Caputo, but that gave Aaron the opportunity."
McKinney's third touchdown hurt Trinity the most. It came after Tyler Yocca had the kickoff to open the second half bounce off his shoulder and West Allegheny's Zech Medved recovered at the Hillers' 8-yard line. Three plays later, McKinney gave the Indians a 21-0 lead.
"We thought we could get back into the game (heading into the second half)," Dalton said. "We went right down the field after that and scored."
"That was huge," Palko said. "It was a great play by Medved. That's how you coach them to do it, and we took advantage of it."
Patrick Frey brought the Hillers to within two touchdowns when he scampered around left end for a 23-yard score with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter.
Whatever hopes Trinity had of rallying were dashed on West Allegheny's ensuing drive, which consisted of 14 plays and covered 75 yards. Dylan Bongiorni hit Alex Sinclair with a 6-yard pass on a third-and-goal to make it 28-7 with 10:06 remaining.
Bongiorni, a transfer from Burgettstown, completed three of four passes for 36 yards and spent most of the game at split end in the wildcat formation.
That drive was one of three grueling marches against Trinity's defense. The Indians went 80 yards on 12 plays to open the game, then followed it with a nine-play, 52-yard drive. Both were capped by McKinney touchdowns.
"We're not big up front," Dalton said. "We've been able to get away with it with our athletic ability. Xavier (Severns) is our only full-sized lineman. We couldn't stand in there with him. McKinney is obviously a good player. He has good will and good drive."
West Allegheny ended its scoring with Nick Halbedl bounced off tackle and raced down the left sideline 33 yards to the end zone.
Trinity had two opportunities to score dashed when a reverse pass from Ty Billie intended for a wide open Mike Cleveland hung in the air. Another chance went awry when a Brad Martin pass for Frey down the right sideline sailed just past his fingers.
Martin completed four of 11 passes for 63 yards and was sacked four times, two of those coming on fourth-down gambles by Dalton in the first half.
"I'm proud of the way our kids came together this season," Dalton said. "They were unselfish and no one cared about stats. These kids handled a difficult situation all year long." Copyright Observer Publishing Co.