4th-quarter scoring spurt propels Mt. Pleasant past Greensburg Salem

Friday, September 30, 2022 | 11:13 PM

Mt. Pleasant and Greensburg Salem were locked in a close battle early in the fourth quarter when Vikings junior linebacker Camden Moore came up with a clutch interception at his team’s 29-yard-line.

His play stopped the surging Golden Lions, and the Vikings went on to put the game away by scoring three times in less than a minute in a 45-28 WPIAL Class 3A Interstate Conference win Friday at Mt. Pleasant Vikings Stadium.

The Vikings were clinging to a 25-21 lead when Moore made the pick with 9 minutes, 16 seconds left.

“That was a key point where we needed a stop,” Mt. Pleasant coach Jason Fazekas said. “We needed to have something happen.”

The Vikings (4-2, 1-0) drove down the field and extended their lead to 33-21 when Lane Golkosky, who rushed for 119 yards and scored four touchdowns, ran 18 yards for a score. Robbie Labuda added the 2-point conversion run.

Things quickly went south for the Golden Lions (3-3, 0-1). Backup quarterback Peyton Chismar was picked off by Tyler Reese, who returned it 31 yards for a score. And on the ensuing kickoff, Lucas Nicotera pounced on a Greensburg Salem fumble, and one play later, Golkosky scored on a 31-yard run.

The Golden Lions turned the ball over four times and were penalized 11 times for 141 yards.

They also lost the special teams battle.

“We were bad on special teams, and the penalties are unacceptable and I can’t take it,” Greensburg Salem coach Dave Keefer said. “We lost field position, and it started on the opening play. They did a better job on special teams than we did, and that bothers me.”

Both teams were able to move the ball.

Not only did Labuda and Golkosky have big games, the Vikings got contributions from Reese, Dante Giallonardo, Cole Chatfield and Jackson Hutter. The Vikings rushed for 315 yards, and Chatfield completed 6 of 10 passes for 86 yards. Golkosky had four catches for 85 yards.

“We’re able to move the ball sometimes when we have to,” Fazekas said. “We had some adversity this week with the practice schedule and a tough loss at Freeport. Our kids played great, and I’m really proud of how they performed. We didn’t finish drives at Freeport. We had our opportunities. Tonight at times we were able to finish.

“These kids are so unselfish. No one cares who gets the football; they know they’ll have an opportunity to take advantage of it. The extra points will be a big focus for us; but the special teams overall were good for us.”

The Vikings only converted 2 of 7 attempts.

Mt. Pleasant scored on its first two possessions of the first half to grab a 13-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown by Golkosky and a 2-yard run by Labuda.

Greensburg Salem responded as Kai Brunot’s 44-yard run set up Cody Rubrecht’s 1-yard run, and then Rubrecht raced 70 yards for his second score to give the Golden Lions a 14-13 lead at halftime.

Rubrecht rushed for 149 yards and completed 9 of 12 passes for 170 yards. Brunot rushed for 107 yards.

“They did a better job in the second half of executing their scheme,” Keefer said. “We hit a couple plays early, but we just didn’t make enough plays in the second half.

“We didn’t set the edge in the second half like we did in the first half. I felt as the game went on it would be a seven-point game at the end.”

Golkosky scored on the Vikings’ first possession of the second half on a 43-yard run. The Golden Lions responded to take a 21-19 lead when Rubrecht hit tight end Julian Stevens with a 2-yard score.

But Chatfield’s 25-yard run set up a 1-yard run by Labuda to make it 25-21.

“This was a big win,” Fazekas said. “That was a good team we played. I’m taking that win, and I’m feeling good about it.

“It’s going to be a tough road, tough conference, so we’ll take them when we can get them.”

Both teams face tough opponents next week. Greensburg Salem hosts Belle Vernon, and Mt. Pleasant travels to Elizabeth Forward.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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