Cahill eases East Allegheny past Mt. Pleasant

Friday, November 4, 2022 | 11:15 PM

East Allegheny coach Dom Pecora said earlier this week that junior quarterback Mike Cahill had to be great if the Wildcats were to defeat Mt. Pleasant on the road in the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.

Cahill was better than great.

He threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Steve Yusko in the fourth quarter and rushed for 158 yards and five touchdowns, and the Wildcats (8-3) held on for a 42-39 victory at Viking Stadium.

Yusko’s interception with a minute left clinched the victory.

“This might be the most special win in my career,” Pecora said. “I’m speechless to describe the game Mike played. You don’t want to compare players, but no one plays harder than him.

“The people we were missing, he had to be great. I didn’t know if we could win this game with so many players missing from the lineup, but Mike showed up.”

Pecora said there were at least five starters who didn’t play.

Mt. Pleasant also was missing three starters for unspecified reasons. The Vikings coach, Jason Fazekas, also did not take part. He texted WHJB after the game and told them it was a coaches’ decision not to be on the sidelines.

The Vikings couldn’t overcome a slow start and three turnovers. They also had trouble containing Cahill, who completed 12 of 20 passes for 142 yards. Cahill also got off a 75-yard punt to switch field position.

“He was hard to tackle,” said Mt. Pleasant assistant Eric Rae, who was in charge on the sidelines. “If you don’t tackle, you don’t win. He turned negative plays into big gains.”

After a slow first quarter, which saw East Allegheny convert a Mt. Pleasant turnover into touchdown, The Vikings found their rhythm and scored 26 points to grab a 26-21 lead at halftime.

Robbie Labuda rushed for 193 yards and scored on a 42-yard run, and Lane Golkosky scored on a 13-yard pass and runs of 45 and 15 yards. Golkosky rushed for 128 yards.

“They are an awesome team,” Pecora said. “They are the definition of high school football. They line up right. They block and tackle.

“We shouldn’t have been on the road. We were 7-3. We were losing and didn’t get a dang call all night, but we found a way. We fought and battled.”

East Allegheny regained control of the game early in the third quarter to grab a 35-26 lead on two Cahill scores.

Chatfield completed 12 of 25 passes for 144 yards, and his 4-yard touchdown pass pulled the Vikings to within 42-39 with 1 minute, 31 seconds left.

“I’ll never doubt the effort of these kids,” Rae said. “You have to execute, and we made mistakes that killed us.”

The Vikings (6-5) recovered the onside kick at midfield, but an unsportsmanlike penalty pushed them back to their 35.

Yusko then ended the Vikings’ hopes with the interception.

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

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