Greensburg Central Catholic comes up short in upset bid vs. No. 1 Clairton

Friday, October 15, 2021 | 10:54 PM

It’s not often that a team has a chance to win or tie the game late in the fourth quarter on the road at Neil C. Brown Stadium, but that’s the situation Greensburg Central Catholic had Friday night.

But one last big play from a Clairton secondary that had its share of them ended any hopes of a Centurions upset.

Brooklyn Cannon batted a pass up in the air and snagged the ball while falling backward for an acrobatic interception in the final minute of the fourth quarter. That secured a 20-13 win for the top-ranked Bears over No. 4 Greensburg Central Catholic in a Class A Eastern Conference game.

The win puts the Bears (5-2, 5-0) in full control of the conference, and the Centurions fell to 4-3 and 3-2 in conference play.

Cannon’s interception happened moments after the Jaydin Canady recovered a fumble at the Centurions’ 25-yard line with just over a minute remaining. Cannon also had four receptions and a touchdown on offense.

“He’s just a great player,” Clairton coach Wayne Wade said of Cannon. “He’s coming into his own. He missed the first couple weeks, and, hopefully, he keeps progressing all the way into the playoffs and, hopefully, we’re there at the end.”

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Joe Blahovic intercepted a Capone Jones pass that set up the Centurions near midfield trailing by seven, but the momentum flipped back to Clairton a play later. Centurions quarterback Tyree Turner threw a backward pass to Nate Dlugos, and Dlugos heaved the ball downfield, but Clairton’s Keelen Holly jumped the route and pinned the ball up against his helmet for an interception.

“That’s a bad play call on my part,” Centurions coach Marko Thomas said. “I’ll take the blame on that.”

Clairton’s Tevin George also had an interception near the goal line midway through the second quarter.

The Centurions stayed within striking distance throughout the night. They got two field goals from Ryan Reitler, including a 39-yarder that cut the lead to 20-13 in the fourth. Turner scored on an 8-yard run in the third quarter, which cut the lead to 12-10.

“We didn’t back down, and we knew going in that we were going to give them our best shot,” Thomas said. “I think we still have a pretty good football team. We did some really good things, but, unfortunately, we made too many mistakes that cost us.”

After the Centurions cut the lead to two points, Jones led Clairton on a long drive that was capped by a 2-yard score by Greg Lee. Jones completed 6 of 12 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted twice. He also rushed for 129 yards on 22 carries and scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter.

Wade said the Centurions presented some different looks defensively that he hadn’t seen on film, which caused issues at times. But he was proud of how his team adjusted

“There were a couple drives where we just grinded it out and made it happen,” Wade said. “My hat’s off to my offensive and defensive lines. We were able to start pounding them and wore them out a little. I think that was the difference.”

Turner finished 11 for 21 for 186 yards. Nate Dlugos had five receptions for 60 yards, and Amari Mack had three catches for 61 yards, including one that setup the Centurions’ lone touchdown.

The Centurions will turn their attention to trying to win their final two games against Jeannette and Leechburg and staying in the mix for a top-three spot in the conference.

“We’re still growing,” Thomas said. “We did a lot of really good things, but we just have to finish better. We’re going to keep getting better. We have to win the next two games, and, hopefully, we’ll get a home playoff game when it’s all set and done.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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