Greensburg Salem chasing history, playoff win against Blackhawk

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 | 12:01 AM

It’s been a while since Greensburg Salem won a WPIAL playoff game.

None of the current Golden Lions were born when Greensburg Salem blanked Hopewell, 23-0, in 2000.

But that streak could end Friday when No. 5 Greensburg Salem (5-5) travels to Beaver County to face No. 4 Blackhawk (6-4) in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Not only will the Golden Lions try to end a long drought, a victory also would be Greensburg Salem’s 700th win in school history.

“We could achieve two goals with one victory,” Greensburg Salem coach Dave Keefer said. “We haven’t won a playoff game since 2000. That’s something missing from our program.

“This couldn’t be better scripted. The main goal is to win a playoff game.”

Greensburg Salem reached 600 wins during the 1999 season.

But to achieve their goals, the Golden Lions must defeat a Blackhawk team that features running back Marques Watson-Trent, who rushed for 185 yards on eight carries and scored two touchdowns against Beaver last week.

Watson-Trent has rushed for 1,068 yards and scored 18 touchdowns this season.

Keefer said Blackhawk has more weapons than Watson-Trent.

The Cougars have used two quarterbacks (Carson Davidson, Logan Calior), and Josh Butcher has rushed for 479 yards.

Blackhawk finished second in the Northwest Eight Conference behind South Fayette. Two of Blackhawk’s losses were to Class 3A playoff teams Central Valley and Beaver Falls. The Cougars also lost a one-point decision to Knoch.

Greensburg Salem played one of the toughest schedules in the WPIAL. It lost to the top three seeds in Class 4A: Thomas Jefferson, South Fayette and Belle Vernon. The other losses were to Class 6A Hempfield and Class 5A playoff team Mars.

“I feel the schedule we played prepared us for the playoffs,” Greensburg Salem quarterback Trent Patrick said. “We’re confident that we can play with anyone.”

Patrick is coming off the best game of his career. He rushed for two touchdowns and threw four touchdown passes in a 48-7 win over Indiana on Friday.

Keefer said he could tell Greensburg Salem’s Week 6 victory against West Mifflin gave the players a lift. They have won three of their past four games.

“They knew that win gave them confidence that they could win a playoff game,” Keefer said. “What I like about this team is they kept together and continued to work and fight for each other.”

Patrick has thrown for 805 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cavan Trout (15 for 161), Ryan Thomas (12-171) and Aaren Putt (10-141) have been his main targets. Patrick also rushed for a team-high seven touchdowns.

“We just have to do what we’ve been coached,” Patrick said. “We’re all excited about getting a chance to make history.”

Greensburg Salem is trying to become the fifth team from the WPIAL to reach the 700-win mark.

Jeannette leads with 756, followed by New Castle (745), Aliquippa (732) and Washington (707).

“This game is about winning a playoff game as much as it is about the 700 wins,” Keefer said. “It validates it to the players and the program. The history aspect is something historical for our community, but from a program standpoint, it’s equally important to get a playoff win.

“The players understand the importance of the game.”

Keefer said he felt the football steering committee did a good job with the pairings.

“A lot of people wanted to seed Montour higher because it got hot at the end of the season, but we were equally as hot down the stretch,” he said.

Blackhawk and Greensburg Salem have met twice in the playoffs with the Cougars winning both: 28-6 in 1991 and 38-9 in 2004.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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