Elizabeth Forward dominates Southmoreland for conference win

Friday, September 30, 2022 | 11:54 PM

Southmoreland scored on its opening possession, but Elizabeth Forward responded in a big way to defeat the homestanding Scotties, 42-6, in Interstate Conference play Friday night at Russ Grimm Field in Alverton.

Southmoreland’s Ty Keffer pulled in a 35-yard reception from Kadin Keefer at the Warriors’ 24, and after Elizabeth Forward was called for pass interference, Keffer caught another contested pass from Keefer for an 11-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead at 7 minutes, 37 seconds of the first quarter. Keffer caught five passes for 66 yards, and Keefer was 9 of 23 for 135 yards.

“Ty and Kadin have done a really nice job all year,” Southmoreland coach Tim Bukowski said. “They have a great connection, and Ty is leading the WPIAL in receptions. That’s a credit to the whole team that we get him the ball, and when he gets the chances, he makes plays.”

Elizabeth Forward (6-0, 1-0) needed 18 seconds to take the lead, thanks in part to a 46-yard kick return by Charles Nigut that set the Warriors at the Scotties’ 24.

Keilly Rush caught a 24-yard pass from John DiNapoli on the next play, and Logan Beedle connected on the first of six extra points for a 7-6 advantage.

“We should have left after that first possession,” Bukowski joked. “They are a top-notch team. They have a very good offensive line. They moved us off the ball and got to the second level before we touched them. They have great skill everywhere. Their quarterback was out, but the kid that stepped in did a great job. We just couldn’t run with them tonight. That is why they are ranked where they are.”

EF forced Southmoreland (2-4, 0-1) to put on its next drive, and Jordan Wilmore’s 11-yard run up the middle extended the visitor’s lead to 14-6 at 3:10 of the first.

Isaiah Turner’s interception ended the Scotties’ next drive, and Wilmore added another 11-yard score for a 21-6 advantage at 10:50 of the second.

Nigut pulled in a 66-yard touchdown reception from DiNapoli with 7:51 remaining in the second. Nigut closed the first half with a 33-yard touchdown run from the quarterback position for a 35-6 halftime lead.

“Southmoreland put together a great drive, and we rallied but we tell our guys to respond when something bad happens,” Elizabeth Forward coach Mike Collodi said. “You can’t go in the tank, and you have to be able to respond and I give my guys credit.

“Charlie (Nigut) is a very special player. Don’t let his size (5-foot-6, 145 pounds) fool you. You can’t measure his heart. He’s a warrior and has basically been doing it now for a year-and-a-half. He does a little bit of everything for us.”

DiNapoli is not the normal starting quarterback for EF, but Zion White was a little banged up this week and Collodi decided to go with DiNapoli, who threw for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

“Johnny (DiNapoli) did a great job,” Collodi said. “He is usually our tailback, but we put Johnny in at the quarterback position this week. Zion got a little nicked up last week, and I felt it was in the best interest of the team to rest him and it obviously worked out.”

Wilmore scored his third touchdown on a 3-yard run at 4:23 of the third for a 42-6 lead. The senior gained 147 yards on 18 carries.

“I think the offensive line did a great job tonight, but I’m not taking anything away from Jordan. He did a heck of a job,” Collodi said. “You still have to see and run through those holes that the line opens up for you. I thought our defensive line did very well, too.”

The Scotties’ Wyatt Richter stopped an Elizabeth Forward drive with an interception in the second.

Southmoreland is at South Allegheny next week in conference play.

“We have to win two of these next four to get into the playoffs, and that’s our goal,” Bukowski said.

EF hosts Mt. Pleasant next week in Interstate conference action.

“We have to be ready for a tough, physical game against Mt. Pleasant,” Collodi said.

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