Alle-Kiski Valley high school football notebook: Plum eases to unbeaten year

Saturday, October 24, 2020 | 8:39 PM

Plum came into Friday’s regular-season finale against Armstrong averaging 34.7 points.

The Mustangs blew past that in the first half of a 63-13 triumph that gave them an undefeated regular season (7-0) for the first time since 1977 (8-0-2).

Plum scored 18 seconds into the game on a 63-yard touchdown run from sophomore Eryck Moore and led 56-7 at halftime.

The 63 points were second most in the history of the program.

The record came in a 65-0 victory over Kiski Area in 2014.

“We were all a little anxious to get this game going, and I was happy to see us respond well to it,” Plum coach Matt Morgan said. “Eryck doing that, showing how explosive he is, really helped get us in the groove of the game.”

The 2014 Plum team finished 5-3 in the Class 4A Foothills Conference and upset No. 4 Penn Hills in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

This year’s Plum squad is gearing up for the WPIAL Class 4A tournament and will host former conference rival McKeesport (6-1) Friday at 7 p.m.

Passing grade

A pair of Alle-Kiski Valley quarterbacks finished their Week 7 games among the stat leaders in the WPIAL.

Highlands sophomore Chandler Thimons only threw nine passes in the Golden Rams’ 35-0 victory over Greensburg-Salem, but he completed seven of them for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the TD tosses went to senior DJ Loveland, and the other went to senior Kaeleb White.

Highlands finished 4-3 in Greater Allegheny Conference play.

Fox Chapel junior Collin Dietz, making his third start under center, threw for 294 yards and a pair of touchdowns — one to Ben Wilk and the other to Colin Kwiatkowski — in a 20-16 loss to North Hills that was a battle for third place in the Northeast Conference.

The Foxes led 14-0 at halftime, but North Hills rallied in the second half to finish 3-2 in the conference. Fox Chapel concluded conference play 2-3.

Many happy returns

Apollo-Ridge returned to action Friday after last week’s game with Serra Catholic was canceled because of covid-19 issues at Serra.

The Vikings (5-0) added to their playoff resume with their fifth mercy-rule effort in as many games this season in a 47-14 Allegheny Conference victory at Steel Valley.

Apollo-Ridge led 31-8 at halftime. Senior Logan Harmon carried the ball 22 times for 189 yards and two scores.

He has 635 yards and 12 rushing TDs through five games.

Senior Keighton Reese caught a touchdown and added a rushing score, giving him eight combined scores (four rushing, four receiving).

The Vikings host Washington (5-2) on Friday at 7 p.m.

Coming so close

Leechburg’s bid Friday for its first winning season since 1991 fell agonizingly short as Imani Christian rallied from a 27-0 deficit in the third quarter to score a 28-27 victory at Graham Field in Wilkinsburg.

Blue Devils coach Randy Walters said his team, with several new and younger linemen thrust into the lineup, played with a lot of heart.

“I told the guys that everyone out there did their best, and I was proud of them that they didn’t stop fighting,” Walters said. “Those things happen, and as we move forward, we need to learn from games like this.

“Imani has some really good athletes, and they took advantage of a change of momentum in the second half.”

Leechburg fell to 3-4 both overall and in Eastern Conference play.

Walters said he has reached out to several teams about playing a game next Friday, but so far, there have been no takers.

The PIAA on Oct. 7 approved a plan to let schools who do not qualify for the playoffs play regular-season games through Thanksgiving weekend as long as they don’t exceed the maximum number of game allowed.

Opportunity accepted

With 24 hours notice, the Burrell football team accepted an opportunity to play the No. 1 Class 3A team in the state Friday.

With covid-19 issues affecting original opponents for the Bucs and Central Valley, the teams met in Monaca. Despite a 51-0 loss, Burrell coach Shawn Liotta said he and his players have no second thoughts about taking on the challenge.

“We’re not afraid to play anybody anywhere,” Liotta said. “We just want to play football. Mark Lyons, their head coach, called me (Thursday) and asked if we wanted to come out. I said, ‘Sure, let’s go do it.’ We told the kids, and they were excited about the opportunity.”

Burrell fell to 2-5, and Central Valley enters the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs 7-0. The Warriors have scored no fewer than 41 points in any game this season.

“Our kids played very hard last night and competed,” Liotta said. “That’s a superior team we played. They’ve beaten a lot of people that way. That team is on a different level. They deserve to be No. 1 in the state.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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