The Battle of McNeilly Road

By: Kevin McLane –

One long stretch of asphalt is all that separates two rival schools from each other. Two schools filled with animosity toward each other. The Rebels of Seton-LaSalle stand across from the Eagles of Keystone Oaks. Atop a high hill; the Rebels overlook their rivals.

These two schools compete with each other for pride, bragging rights, and even playoff implications. All of this rivalry, pride and tradition comes together for a knockdown drag out brawl, showcased under the bright lights of Dormont Stadium on a Friday night.

This rivalry game dates back ages. Only since 2008 have the two schools returned to class, to competed in the same WPIAL division. However, generations of families remember their games against their respective rivals. Coaches, players, fans and media outlets alike all circle this game on their calendars.

Starting last year, this game took extra meaning and long time coaches of the Rebels (Greg Perry, Jim Feeney and Paul), left Seton-LaSalle to coach across the street at Keystone Oaks.
While only the current Junior and Senior players at Seton have played under the aforementioned coaches, one coach has not only coached with Perry, but has also played under him. Coach Rob Carter, the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Rebels, has a special connection to this game as he has played and coached under KO’s poached Coach Perry.

Mr. Carter said, “Coaching the game means a lot of pride, it’s a rivalry game, so you can throw records and stats out the door cause you know KO is bringing their best shot. On top of that, long time coach for me and mentor, Coach Perry is the head coach at Keystone Oaks and I would want nothing more than to shut him out. He is a great coach, a good offensive mind. I respect him; but I want bragging rights.”

Nolan Abbiatici, Junior and first year starter, who was coached by Perry, also feels a special connection to this game. Abbiatici, a promising up-and-coming quarterback, has shone brightly through the first 8 weeks of the Rebel’s season. Perry, coaching quarterbacks along with being the head coach during Abbiatici’s freshmen year, worked very closely with this Rebels starting quarterback.

When asked what playing against his former coach in one of the biggest rivalries of the year means to him, Abbiatici had this to say, “Coach Perry was a good coach, I learned a lot from him. Seton versus KO is always an exciting matchup and I’m just excited to play another week against a quality opponent.”
This game, no matter the statuses of the two teams, is always a good one.

However, Abbiatici is correct in his statement that KO is another quality opponent as the Eagles boast a 5-3 record. While this game has been lopsided the past few years in favor of the Rebels, Perry and the Eagles have crept into a playoff spot and certainly have the firepower to give the Rebels of Seton-LaSalle a run for their money. This was the first time in years that this game held playoff implications.

We are proud to report the Rebels won this year’s match-up

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