Dual-threat quarterback on a mission for Southmoreland

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Wednesday, September 22, 2021 | 10:12 AM


Southmoreland is determined to avoid starting a new streak, and Anthony Govern is front and center in that quest.

Govern, the senior quarterback, got off to a strong start as the Scotties went 2-1 through their first three games, including an eyebrow raising romp of McGuffey in Week Zero.

“We knew that going into that game, it would be a statement game,” Govern said of the 47-22 win. “We knew that if we came out on top in that game that it would turn a lot of heads and give us the love that we deserve.”

The following week, Govern and the Scotties stumbled, losing at home 28-21 to a strong Laurel Highlands team that features one of the WPIAL’s top prospects in Rodney Gallagher.

But back they came, winning a Week 3 matchup against City League foe Perry at Cupples Stadium. Southmoreland jumped out to a 14-0 lead but then allowed three straight scores before blanking the Commodores in the second half for a 35-20 win.

“You can’t get down over one loss. You’ve just got to come back stronger,” said Govern, who passed for 128 yards and ran for 71 in the victory over Perry.

“Each week we’re going to get better and better. We had a lot of penalties against Laurel Highlands. Not saying that we would’ve won, but we had a lot of penalties that cost us a lot of yards. We didn’t have that against Perry.”

The emergence of Govern — who has accounted for 10 touchdowns (four passing, six rushing) — has been important one after the Scotties lost Zach Cernuto to graduation in the spring. Cernuto is at W&J after passing for nearly 4,800 yards and 44 touchdowns in high school.

On the receiving end of many of Cernuto’s passes was Govern, who played H-back, tight end and slot receiver before making the transition to under center.

“I’ve always had the arm,” Govern said. “Whenever I was the backup, I just worked on my footwork. Having Zach there, he was a very technical quarterback. He knows how to do things the right way. So it was good to have him teach me the techniques.”

Said Southmoreland coach Dave Keefer: “Anthony is a top-notch player. He’s one of the best (first-year) quarterbacks in the WPIAL. His stats are going to prove it. He’s a dual threat.”

Learning the intricacies of defenses while at various offensive positions in his first three seasons has benefitted Govern now that he is the one looking for wideouts.

“I knew a lot of the routes because I needed to,” he said. “You would understand, like, ‘OK, they’re in Cover 3. Where are the holes at?’ You learn that as a receiver, and it helps you as a quarterback.”

Govern also lines up on the defensive line. Offense, however, is his true love, and he feels he will play an H-back role in college.

Despite not getting any offers yet, Govern — who also wrestles and plays baseball — has received some interest from Waynesburg, W&J and Saint Vincent.

Before he heads to a college campus, he has big goals for 2021. And he believes they’re attainable thanks to the trust he has in a strong group of receivers and running backs around him.

Isaac Trout, Josh Bass, Trevell Clayton, JJ Bloom, Noah Phillips, Travon Lee and Jeffrey Johnson have given the Scotties a deep crop of weapons for Govern.

“They put in more work on and off the field than anyone I know,” Govern said. “They’re just running at 110%. We put in the work, at practice, and I would just give the shirt off of my back for them.

“They’re just unbelievable. We have so much team chemistry. We do so much outside of football. We go out to eat. We go to the mall. We do fun things together. And that helps tremendously.”

Govern hopes some more fun things happen on the field, too. Southmoreland missed the postseason in 2020 after qualifying for the first time since 1979 the year previous. Now it wants more than a mere appearance.

“We’re looking for that section title,” Govern said. “We haven’t had one since 1979. We’re hungry for it.”

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