Dynamic Beltram leads Monessen past Tri-County South foe Mapletown

Friday, October 11, 2019 | 10:37 PM

There was little Mapletown could do to slow down Monessen’s dynamic quarterback Friday night at Memorial Stadium. Too many penalties didn’t hurt the Greyhounds much, either.

Whether it was on the ground or through the air, Isaiah Beltram had his way with the Maples and led the Greyhounds to a 24-8 victory in a Tri-County South game. Beltram had 147 yards rushing, 227 passing and three total touchdowns.

Penalties hampered the Hounds (3-3, 3-5) in the second half. Monessen had 17 penalties, something coach Mike Blainefield knows has to be cleaned up.

“Those penalties started to rack up. We lost one of our linemen, and we had to put a replacement in,” Blainefield said. “We just could not compensate for it. But that’s what happens when you don’t have a lot of numbers on a team. It’s hard to replace guys when they go down.

“The discipline is not where we need to be at. It’s unfortunate. That’s why we keep losing games and putting ourselves in tough predicaments.”

The penalties wiped out several big plays in the second half. However, the Greyhounds defense was there to cover up the mistakes that bogged down the offense.

“The defensive line played phenomenal. They didn’t give up a lot of yards” said Blainefield. “The guys in the secondary locked everything down, especially on third downs.”

The Maples (0-5, 1-7) converted only 1 of 9 third-down conversions. They also were only 1 of 4 on fourth downs.

Monessen’s first possession started with a bang as Beltram found Marquell Smith for a 43-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. However, Smith fumbled on the next play.

The Greyhounds defense forced a punt on Mapletown’s first possession. Antwon Tucker caught the punt at his own 48-yard line and was gone for a Monessen touchdown. The Hounds failed on the two-point conversion, a trend that followed them all night, but still led 6-0.

“The last couple weeks, Tucker has become an integral part of our offense,” Blainefield said. “He’s been catching the ball a little more consistently. He’s really fast, really quick and a tough kid. He likes to take a lot of punishment and get back up.”

Mapletown’s next possession ended on downs in Monessen territory. Beltram led the Greyhounds on another scoring march. This drive lasted six plays, highlighted by 23- and 13-yard runs by Beltram. Then Tucker hauled in a 40-yard touchdown reception from Beltram for a 12-0 advantage.

The Maples once again penetrated Monessen territory but were forced out on downs at the 40. Beltram took the first snap of the possession for a 48-yard gain. Two plays later, Beltram scored on a 5-yard run and an 18-0 Hounds’ lead.

“He’s just a phenomenal athlete,” Blainefield said of Beltram. “That’s not just coming from me, that comes from any opponent we play. He sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s a kid that can beat you multiple ways, and he does it gracefully.”

On the second play of Mapletown’s next possession, running back Landan Stevenson fumbled. It was recovered by Monessen’s Jalen Brice. Three plays later, Beltram found Brice wide open for a 9-yard scoring strike for a 24-0 lead.

The Maples finally cashed in on their last possession with the help of five Greyhound penalties. Stevenson scored on a one-yard toss play with 2:30 left in play. He then converted the two-point conversion as well and finished with 62 yards on 19 carries.

Monessen travels out of conference next week at Rochester. Mapletown is at Avella.

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