Defending WPIAL Class A champ OLSH rallies past City League’s Westinghouse

Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 8:57 PM

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart dealt the deciding blow in a game of momentum swings as the Chargers defense put a stop to Westinghouse’s shot at victory in the final minute to secure a 33-30 win in the Western Pa. Everyone Classic at the Wolvarena in Turtle Creek.

Chargers sophomore Stephen Greer intercepted Westinghouse senior Troy Lanier as the Bulldogs were driving in the red zone, trailing by three points in the final minute.

Greer’s interception was the final act of a fourth-quarter barnstorming. Down 30-13 with nine minutes left in the third, OLSH rallied for 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to take the lead with 2:31 to play.

Lanier launched a 65-yard bomb to fellow senior Cameron Jones, who danced past defenders on his way into the red zone, where he was finally hauled out of bounds at the 15-yard line with less than two minutes left.

“They’re dynamite together,” Westinghouse coach Donta Green said of Lanier and Jones.

Jones is a quarterback as well as Lanier, a later addition to the roster, but one that’s been giving the Bulldogs an exciting new layer to their offense.

“Lanier came to us three to four weeks ago, and he’s been drinking out of a firehose,” Green said.

Facing third-and-9 on the 14, Lanier took an end-zone look but it was snatched away by Greer, securing the win for the Chargers.

The game started well enough for the defending WPIAL Class champions. Quarterback Jaymar Pearson rushed up the middle 14 yards for a touchdown on the Chargers opening drive.

The 7-0 score held into the second quarter when Westinghouse answered with a Lanier strike, 64 yards to Tarik Hamilton. The Bulldogs opted for two-point conversions all afternoon, and it worked in their first attempt to put them ahead 8-7.

Lanier continued to add to his stat sheet with a 14-yard keeper, and another two-point conversion made it a 16-7 lead for Westinghouse with 3:54 to play in the first half.

OLSH responded on the ensuing drive, when Pearson sent a deep shot to senior Eric Olexa for a 48-yard touchdown. The Chargers two-point conversion attempt failed, and Westinghouse took a 16-13 lead into halftime.

The Chargers started the second half with the football, but a fumble led to another scoring drive for the Bulldogs. Michael Massey rushed six yards for the score and the two-point conversion failed, with Westinghouse taking a 22-13 lead.

On the ensuing Chargers drive, a fumbled snap bobbled its way to the grasp of Marvin Green, who turned on the jets and went 72 yards, extending the Westinghouse advantage to 30-13.

In the fourth quarter, OLSH came back. With Westinghouse backed inside its own 10, Chargers lineman Daron Smith pounced on a loose ball in the end zone to start the comeback and cut the Bulldogs lead to 30-20.

The Chargers recovered the ensuing onside kick. Pearson fought through hard hits throughout the game and continued to rack up offensive success, running a six-yard keeper for a score on the next OLSH possession. Westinghouse blocked the point-after attempt, and the Bulldogs clung to a 30-26 lead.

The Chargers defense forced a three-and-out before completing the comeback with a 10-play drive to snatch the lead with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Pearson to Olexa to go ahead 33-30 after the successful PAT.

Greer’s interception cemented the victory and gave the defending WPIAL champs — with just 3 seniors after graduating 14 starters from a season ago — the first win of the season, 33-30 in week zero.

“We expected our defense to be the strength of our team. I thought it would be a close game, I didn’t think it would be that high scoring,” said OLSH coach Dan Bradley.

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