Behind QB Jared Hartman, Belle Vernon routs Greensburg Salem

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 11:41 PM

Jared Hartman, Belle Vernon’s dynamic quarterback/linebacker, a stocky, 6-foot-1, 210-pound rock, typically prefers to not take credit for much of the Leopards’ success without insisting his teammates join in the spotlight.

Friday night at Greensburg Salem, following a 43-3 rout of the Golden Lions, was no different.

Hartman, a senior, passed for 254 yards and three touchdowns to lead the third-ranked Leopards (4-1, 3-1) to a WPIAL Class 4A Big Eight Conference victory at Offutt Field.

“My O-line comes with me,” Hartman said, surrounded by a throng of frontmen.

“I appreciate these guys like no other. I love you all,” he said, gesturing towards them.

But Hartman is sure not to diminish the accomplishments of the rest of the team.

“The skills,” he said, “you’ve got to love those guys. Get them in the open space and they do what they do.”

Hartman, who completed 12 of 17 attempts, fired touchdown passes of 16 and 71 yards to Andrew Pacak and 5 yards to Nolan Labuda.

Larry Callaway scored twice on runs of 12 and 5 yards and finished with 111 yards rushing, while Pacak totaled three receptions for 133 yards for the Leopards.

Greensburg Salem’s only points came in the first quarter on Wyatt Ramer’s 21-yard field goal.

“The nice thing about this team is we’re as close to being as balanced a team as I’ve had here,” Belle Vernon coach Matt Humbert said. “Offensively, we’re very multi-talented. We spread the ball around to a lot of different dudes.

“Defensively, it wasn’t our best showing. Three points is obviously good, but (Greensburg Salem coach Dave) Keefer does a good job. That’s a tricky offense, expecially with all that motion. It took a little bit of time for us to get comfortable defensively.”

Belle Vernon’s only loss was a 34-7 setback to top-ranked Thomas Jefferson on Sept. 6. The Leopards came in against Greensburg Salem averaging 47 points per game and had scored more than 60 points in each of its past two, lopsided victories over Laurel Highlands and Indiana.

“This week was a great test for our secondary,” Humbert said. “I’m not going to say we were perfect, but we had two teams previously that pretty much ran the ball against us, so it was good to see a different dynamic on offense.”

Greensburg Salem quarterback Trent Patrick completed 12 of 17 passes for 125 yards and threw two interceptions.

Belle Vernon visits Trinity next Friday night.

“Every week has its own challenge,” Humbert said. “You can’t get too comfortable.”

Keefer still thinks his Golden Lions (2-4, 2-1), despite the one-sided affair against Bell Vernon, are poised to make another run at a WPIAL playoffs spot. Greensburg Salem qualified last season.

“We’re a playoff football team,” he said. “I think we’re good enough. We showed signs at times tonight. We’re close, but we haven’t been able to figure out how to beat the elite teams. We need to develop an attitude defensively.”

Belle Vernon’s Cameron Guess, the top kicker in the WPIAL with multiple Division I offers, missed a 52-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter.

“He’s definitely capable of making that one,” Humbert said. “I don’t think he realized I was going to send him out there, and I don’t think he was quite ready.”

Keefer called Belle Vernon one of the better teams in Class 4A and pointed to the Leopards as a typical team on Greensburg Salem’s schedule.

“We play a schedule that rivals nobody’s,” he said of the Golden Lions and generally of teams in the Big Eight Conference. “It’s arguably the toughest in 4A, maybe in the WPIAL. But Belle Vernon was better than we were at executing what they wanted to do and making plays when they had the opportunity.”

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