Breakout game for Eryck Moore powers Plum past Knoch

Friday, October 15, 2021 | 9:43 PM

Eryck Moore couldn’t be stopped in the first half for Plum. His 222 yards and three touchdowns propelled the Mustangs to a 39-0 home win over Knoch on Friday.

Only an injury could slow Moore. Gaining three yards on a carry during the final drive of the first half, the junior running back awkwardly bent backward before being helped off the field while favoring his knee.

Before the end of the half, Moore was stretching on the sideline. Plum coach Matt Morgan said Moore was held out because of precautionary reasons and could have returned.

“He’s a special kid,” Morgan said. “We’ve been waiting a little while for him to have that breakout game. He’s been playing really well the last few weeks. This week, he kind of took over the whole thing. It’s great to see this late in the year.”

Feeding Moore was the plan from Plum’s first snap, as he weaved through the line and breezed down the left sideline for an early 7-0 lead. It was more of the same on the second drive, which started with a 40-yard gain from Moore and was capped by him plunging forward a yard for a second touchdown.

A missed extra point had it 13-0 with 1:15 left in the first quarter.

Plum (3-5, 3-2), which led 26-0 at half, took the Class 4A Greater Allegheny conference matchup to win for the third time in four weeks. It recovered from a 35-7 loss to Hampton a week ago.

“We’re trying to fight for our lives,” Morgan said. “Win the next two games, you get to the playoffs.”

Knoch (2-6, 1-4) got deep into Plum territory twice in the first half, but two fourth-down stops helped set up Moore.

The Knights took the opening kickoff to the Plum 45, but Jake Murphy was stuffed on fourth-and-1 from the 26. Keagan Fraser was similarly denied on fourth-and-3 from the Plum 28 on the Knights’ next drive.

“If we’re able to convert there and keep those drives going, and finish the drive, I think we put points on the board,” Knoch coach Brandon Mowry said. “Kind of slow the tide down. They ripped us on long runs a couple times. We just didn’t answer that.”

Coming off a 14-13 loss to Mars, Knoch didn’t attempt much through the air in the opening half with freshman quarterback Codi Mullen completing 2 of 5 for 42 yards. The Knights had 34 first-half rushing yards on 27 carries split between five ball carriers.

Moore broke the game open with possibly the most impressive of his nine first-half carries. After being met by three Knights at the line, Moore shed them and took it 45 yards for a 19-0 Plum lead.

A 17-yard back-shoulder catch by Samo Pitts from quarterback Sean Franzi gave the Mustangs a 26-point lead with 5.7 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

The second half started with more of the same. A 40-yard catch by Pitts and a roughing the passer call gave Plum first-and-goal at the Knoch 3. Nicholas Odom fought through a few tackles for a touchdown, making it 33-0 just 1:59 into the third quarter.

Knoch moved the ball effectively on its opening drive, using 10 rushes to gain 37 yards and get to the Plum 28. But Logan Brooks intercepted Mullen’s only pass of the drive at the 4.

Brooks then brought in a 61-yard touchdown pass from Franzi on third-and-11 the ensuing drive to extend the lead to 39 points with 2:17 left in the third.

“Their record aside, they’re a good football team,” Mowry said. “No mistake about it. It’s just having that confidence and believing in our ability. That’s what we have to do.”

Listen to an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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