Greensburg Salem makes best of chances, beats No. 4 West Mifflin

Friday, October 4, 2019 | 11:48 PM

Heading into their matchup against West Mifflin, Greensburg Salem knew coming out victorious would be possible.

But in order to win, the Golden Lions needed to capitalize on opportunities presented to them.

That is exactly what happened when Greensburg Salem (3-4, 3-1) escaped with a 13-10 win over No. 4 West Mifflin (4-3, 3-1) on Friday night at Offut Field in Greensburg in Class 4A Big Eight Conference play.

The Golden Lions defense struggled to contain West Mifflin’s senior quarterback Jacob Davis scrambling. But the pass rush showed up in a big spot with a strip sack of Davis to help seal the win — No. 697 in Greensburg Salem’s history — with just under four minutes remaining.

“I was really proud how my kids continued to battle and fight, got to the football and made plays,” Greensburg Salem coach Dave Keefer said.

One of the bigger momentum swings occurred a minute before the end of the first half. The Titans were driving in Golden Lions territory with a 10-7 lead. Davis scrambled and fumbled, which the Golden Lions recovered.

Greensburg Salem took over on the 29-yard line with one timeout. With time ticking away, Keefer drew up a pass play where senior quarterback Trent Patrick found senior tight end Ryan Thomas down the seam for a 49-yard pass and was downed at the 17-yard line.

After an offsides penalty on West Mifflin, Patrick connected with a wide-open junior Alex Briggs for a 12-yard touchdown pass. The Golden Lions took a 13-10 lead into halftime.

“It was huge. It was the difference in the game,” Keefer said. “It gives you momentum going into the half. We had a couple plays that I thought we could’ve hit on, and I called one of them.

“It wasn’t the part of the field we wanted to call it, but we got Ryan loose, and we threw the play to Alex twice last week and we just missed it.”

With all the momentum to start the third quarter, the Golden Lions were forced to punt on their first possession of the half.

The Titans drove down the field and had an opportunity to take the lead, but, after a penalty, West Mifflin settled for a field-goal attempt.

Dillon Weaver, who made a 26-yard field goal earlier in the game, hit the right upright on a 27-yard attempt.

The Titans defense continued to hold the Golden Lions rushing attack in check.

However, the Titans offense stalled out near midfield capped off by a big third-down sack by Greensburg Salem’s Aaren Putt to force a punt with under nine minutes remaining.

“I thought the kids fought hard, but we made mistakes and they capitalized. We didn’t execute the way we were used to executing,” West Mifflin coach Rod Steele said. “We went up and down the field, and we went deep into their end. We missed two field goals, and we turned over the ball.”

The West Mifflin offense finished with 376 yards – 282 rushing, 94 passing. However, the Titans committed 12 penalties for 70 yards.

Davis finished with 162 yards rushing on 15 carries and threw for 94 yards on six for 10 passing.

West Mifflin’s Laronday Wilder opened the scoring with a 17-yard run on the Titans opening drive.

Patrick scored the Golden Lions first touchdown on a 9-yard keeper with 8:28 remaining in the first quarter.

The Golden Lions finished with 313 yards with 105 yards rushing coming from Briggs.

“We’re very much about distributing the ball. We think we have six guys that do a great job when they get the ball in their hands,” Keefer said. “We ran plays that we thought we could be effective at which wasn’t necessarily the game plan going in.”

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