Cody Rubrecht does it all in Greensburg Salem’s victory over Mars

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Friday, October 15, 2021 | 11:14 PM


Cody Rubrecht was everywhere Friday night for Greensburg Salem’s football team.

Need a rushing touchdown, a pass reception for a score, a hustling tackle to thwart a long run, an interception to stop a last-ditch drive?

Cody’s your man.

“He’s amazing. He’s really good,” Greensburg Salem coach Dave Keefer said after Rubrecht accomplished all of the above — and more — to help the Golden Lions grind out a 19-12 victory over visiting Mars in a WPIAL Class 4A Allegheny Conference game to halt a two-game skid.

“He had a pretty good game,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer said of Rubrecht, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound junior.

So what was Rubrecht himself thinking?

“It feels great,” he said. “My head hasn’t been in the right mind these past few games. Today, I stayed focused on just football and just what to do. I was prepared for the game, and I came out and played like it.”

Rubrecht, the WPIAL’s leading receiver, finished with seven receptions for 106 yards, and quarterback Hayden Teska, who leads the WPIAL in passing yardage, was 16 for 29 for 206 yards.

His 55-yard touchdown pass to Rubrecht in the third quarter gave Greensburg Salem (5-3, 3-2) a seven-point advantage that held up, thanks in part to Rubrecht’s interception in the closing minutes.

“That’s a big play,” he said. “That’s definitely going to be something I’ll remember for a while.”

Keefer feared that the Golden Lions were losing confidence after back-to-back road losses to Hampton and Armstrong in the past two weeks.

“What this does is get you back in the win column,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the score is, as long as you get the ‘W.’ It doesn’t matter about the numbers, the statistics. It only matters if they’re in your favor at the end of the game.

“You start to question your confidence level. But when that happens, you have to learn how to win. It’s a skill. This was not a pretty game, but we battled back and found a way. It was important for us to do that to build back some confidence in a different way. When your back is against the wall, you stay with it and find ways to win.”

When Greensburg Salem scored, Mars (1-7, 1-4) nearly had an answer every time.

“Almost,” Heinauer said. “We’re playing better. But it’s not good enough.”

Mars was coming off its first victory last week — a one-point decision against Knoch — and gave Greensburg Salem a battle.

“They are a much better team than what their record shows,” Keefer said. “They just made some mistakes and turned it over in some critical times. In the end, that was the difference in the game.”

Heinauer couldn’t argue with that logic, shaking his head as he recalled some of those mistakes.

“Yes, in crucial times,” he said.

“You can’t let a team run a 98-yard drive down the field and score a touchdown. That drive was a killer for us. Penalties at inopportune times don’t help us. I thought our kids played well, but if the ‘W’ doesn’t happen … you’ve got to make sure you get the ‘W.’ ”

The Golden Lions took the lead for good with 5 minutes, 49 seconds left in the third quarter as Teska fired a 16-yard touchdown pass to Christian Hostetler for a 13-6 advantage.

Evan Wright, who led Mars with 135 yards rushing, scored on a 7-yard touchdown run as the Fighting Planets came right back to close within 13-12 after a missed extra point.

Rubrecht batted down a fourth-down pass by Rafael Bartley deep in Greensburg Salem territory, setting up that 98-yard drive that ended with Teska’s long TD toss to Rubrecht with 1:10 left in the third.

Wright looked as though he might score on a long run, but Rubrecht pushed him out of bounds near the Greensburg Salem 40 and the Planets stalled.

All the first-half scoring occurred in the final minute of the first quarter, Greensburg Salem going first on Rubrecht’s 6-yard touchdown run that gave the Golden Lions a short-lived 6-0 lead.

Mars responded, going 70 yards in just three plays, capped by Noah Nesselroad’s 23-yard touchdown pass from Bartley, to tie the score, 6-6.

Neither extra point was successful.

Teska entered the game having set a Greensburg Salem season record for yards passing. His current total of 1,795 yards eclipses the old mark of 1,379 yards by Josh Falatovich in 2011.

Meanwhile, Mars’ Barley completed 20 of 27 passes for 181 yards and Nesselrod caught 10 passes for 111 yards for the Planets

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