Hempfield jumps to fast start, routs rival Greensburg Salem

Friday, August 25, 2017 | 11:09 PM

One big concern of Hempfield coach Rich Bowen heading into the 2017 season was his young, inexperienced offensive line.

It's only one game, but Bowen had to be pleased.

Hempfield scored on its first possession and five of eight possessions in the first half and rolled over neighborhood rival Greensburg Salem, 49-21, on Friday in the 53rd meeting between the schools.

The Spartans lead the all-time series, 37-15-1.

Two of Hempfield's first-half touchdowns came one play after Greensburg Salem scored. Braden Brose caught a 45-yard touchdown from Justin Sliwoski, and senior Colin Critchfield galloped 82 yards by shedding the poor-tackling Golden Lions.

Sliwoski tossed three touchdown passes, a pair to tight end Brose and one to Nick DiAndreth after he got behind the Greensburg Salem secondary for a 33-yard score, in the first half.

Hempfield led 34-14 at halftime.

“I was very pleased with the play of our offensive line,” Bowen said. “And the defensive line, rotating seven players, played pretty good. Overall, I thought the running backs did a nice job with the three or four we played, and Justin and Braden were outstanding.”

Sliwoski finished 15 for 23 for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Brose had eight catches for 144 yards and three scores, including a one-handed stab of a 3-yard pass in the fourth quarter.

Greensburg Salem got a 19-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Jacob Hoyle. Later, Hoyle was stopped and driven back on a quarterback sneak but flipped a pass to Dajauhn Hertzog, who raced 67 yards for the score. Hertzog finished with four catches for 90 yards.

“We didn't execute well and we tackled poorly,” Greensburg Salem coach Dave Keefer said. “It comes down to fundamentals, and we didn't tackle. Hempfield tackled better and got to the football better.

“They had a good scheme and they took things away. But I thought we still had a chance to make plays. “

Hoyle rushed for 82 yards on 14 carries and completed 10 of 23 for 133 yards.

The two quarterbacks traded scores in the third quarter with Sliwoski scoring on a 5-yard scamper and Hoyle rumbling 7 yards.

Keefer praised Sliwoski's play.

“I was hoping we'd get more pressure on him and he was calm in what he did,” Keefer said. “He managed the game very well.

“I didn't think we played our best football game, and that's what I'm most disappointed in.”

One thing that did not please was penalties. The Spartans were whistled 12 times for 133 yards, and two penalties cost them touchdowns.

“It's early in the season and we did some stupid things,” Bowen said. “We have to clean that up and we will.”

Both teams open conference play on the road next week. Hempfield is at Canon-McMillan, and Greensburg Salem visits Ringgold.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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