5 things we learned in high school football Week 4: Brownsville wins for 1st time in 4 seasons

Saturday, September 23, 2023 | 9:11 PM

The drive home from Cupples Stadium is about an hour, but good news travels faster than Brownsville’s team bus.

The Falcons had won.

“The bus came through town, and there were people on the street waving towels and stuff,” Brownsville coach Skooter Roebuck said. “We get back to the school, and there are, like, 100 people there. It was crazy. It was like we’d won a playoff game.”

They were celebrating because the Brownsville football team had just won its first game in four seasons, ending a 34-game losing streak that was the longest active among WPIAL schools.

The streak was snapped in dramatic fashion, too, as Brownsville defeated Carrick, 36-30, in overtime Friday afternoon. It was the first varsity win for anybody on the Falcons’ roster.

“It is big monkey off our backs,” said Roebuck, a second-year coach. “First of all, credit to the kids. … For them to stick with us and come to practice every day — we didn’t have anybody quit — it’s really big for the program.”

Brownsville’s most recent win came Sept. 25, 2019, over Beth-Center, 27-26. The string of losses since led Brownsville to leave WPIAL football for an independent schedule before last season.

The Falcons started this fall 0-4, but during Friday’s game, they realized a win was within reach.

Carrick is now 0-5.

“When we went in at halftime, the score was 8-8, so we had a feeling,” Roebuck said. “We were running the ball pretty well. They hit a couple of big plays, but we were controlling the clock and thought we had a shot at this one.”

But it wasn’t easy. Brownsville forced overtime with a 66-yard touchdown pass from Kaden Wimmer to Harlan Davis with a little more than a minute left. Davis also scored the tying 2-point run.

In high school overtime, each team gets four plays from the 10-yard line. Carrick went first in OT, and its possession ended with an interception in the end zone by Brownsville freshman Neovae Jordan.

The Falcons went on offense and won with a 5-yard touchdown run by Wimmer on second down.

“The kids went nuts,” Roebuck said. “They went crazy. It was fun.”

Ringgold now holds the unenviable position of having the WPIAL’s longest active losing streak. The Rams’ streak reached 20 games after a 47-12 loss to Connellsville.

The shirt off their backs

There was a popular T-shirt in the stands at Newman Stadium on Friday, at least among Central Catholic fans.

The shirt’s front said “Western Pa. Catholic Vikings,” and the back read, “Recruited by Jesus since 1927.” It was a jab back at North Allegheny, which had called them the “Western Pa. Vikings” in a social media post earlier in the week.

Even Central Catholic coach Ryan Lehmeier was wearing one after the game, but he didn’t want to talk about NA’s post. Neither did senior Cole Sullivan, who starred in Friday’s win.

“I’m not going to say anything about it,” Sullivan said. “I’ll just let them do the talking on Twitter.”

But Sullivan was pleased money raised from selling the shirts would help the family of Samantha Kalkbrenner, a 15-year-old Serra Catholic student who died in a vehicle collision Wednesday.

“The money we raised, we’re getting to that family somehow,” said Sullivan, who also visited Serra Catholic with 10 classmates Friday, including football teammates Peter Gonzalez and Carmen Petraglia.

Sullivan said the trip was arranged by Central Catholic teacher Karen Kolenik, who coaches volleyball at Serra.

“(We were) just helping out our fellow Catholic school,” Sullivan said. “We’ve lost a few of our fellow students in the past. Knowing how that feels, we wanted to go help them out. We know how much that can hurt a community.”

Awaiting a decision

The WPIAL hasn’t decided the outcome of two conference games canceled Friday.

The contests could become forfeits or declared no-contests, WPIAL administrator Vince Sortino said Saturday, but added that rescheduling one or both also might be an option. Sortino said the WPIAL would make a decision by Tuesday.

However, the four teams involved have only conference games remaining, so rescheduling might be difficult.

• Serra Catholic canceled classes and all activities this week after Kalkbrenner died in a vehicle collision involving a school van. Serra (0-4, 0-1) was scheduled to host Imani Christian (2-2, 0-1) in an Allegheny Conference game.

Avella (2-2, 0-1) canceled its Black Hills game against Bishop Canevin (3-0, 1-0), citing a lack of healthy players.

Two for two

Watching Neshannock’s win Friday probably felt a little like a rerun.

In Week 3, the Lancers escaped with a 27-26 victory when Western Beaver’s 2-point try failed. Fast forward to Friday, and the Lancers saw that scenario happen all over again.

This time, Neshannock escaped Beaver Falls, 27-26, in overtime. The game ended with Beaver Falls going for the win, but the Tigers’ 2-point pass failed.

Another streak ends

Coincidentally, the WPIAL’s longest active winning streak also ended Friday.

A 14-game streak ended when Belle Vernon lost to Thomas Jefferson, 24-19. The reigning state champion Leopards hadn’t lost since they fell to Penn-Trafford, 14-13, in Week 3 last season.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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