Hempfield rolls past Greensburg Salem in game shortened by lightning

Friday, August 26, 2022 | 10:11 PM

The only thing that slowed down the Hempfield football team’s offense Friday was a lightning delay at the end of the first half.

Play was stopped with 1 minute, 58 seconds left in the first half because of lightning in the area.

The game was called at 9:15 p.m. after 45-minute delay.

Until that point, Hempfield scored on its first seven possessions and rolled over a short-handed Greensburg Salem squad 49-3 in the 57th meeting between the neighboring rivals.

Greensburg Salem was missing a few starters who were held out for unspecified reasons.

Hempfield leads the series 41-15-1 and has won the past six meetings.

“We kind of wanted to play the whole game, but weather wouldn’t allow it,” Hempfield coach Mike Brown said. “We got a lot out of the first half. The kids played their hearts out.”

Hempfield’s offense looked and operated like a well-oiled machine.

Senior running back Gino Caesar scored the game’s first three touchdowns on runs of 6, 8 and 10 yards. He opened the game by catching a 70-yard pass from Jake Phillips. Only Greensburg Salem safety Cody Rubrecht saved a touchdown.

And while things were running smoothly for the Spartans, the Golden Lions offense struggled as Rubrecht made his first start at QB. Rubrecht was one of the top wide receivers in 2021.

Rubrecht’s spectacular 87-yard run late in the first quarter set up the Golden Lions at the Hempfield 1. But the Golden Lions settled for a 25-yard field goal by Daishaun Alexander.

Rubrecht rushed for a game-high 112 yards on 10 carries and completed 5 of 17 passes for 57 yards.

“We were happy defensively when they got into the red zone,” Brown said. “We held them to a field goal, and when that happens, defense wins. The players bought into it in the offseason, and we got what we wanted from it.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with our offense. I feel we have enough weapons to spread the ball out. It’s just not one guy. I’m really impressed what they did.”

Before the end of the first quarter, Phillips hooked up on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Katonka.

“It’s a compliment to them,” Greensburg Salem coach Dave Keefer said. “They’ve done a good job in the offseason. My concern all along about them was their experience, and they executed like an experienced football team.

“If you look at last year’s game, we executed better than they did early. This year, we had a lot of players getting their first varsity snaps.”

In the second quarter, Phillips raced 61 yards for a touchdown, and he threw touchdown passes to Katonka (1 yard) and Keiran Lippman (58 yards).

Phillips finished 14 of 16 for 263 yards, and Caesar rushed for 103 yards on 12 carries.

“We practice at a high pace all the time,” Caesar said. “All credit goes to the offensive line. They came out and were physical and blocked and were good off the ball. Once we get tempo, other teams aren’t ready for it, and we keep going.”

Despite the lopsided score, Keefer felt there were some positives.

“Cody’s run was unbelievable,” Keefer said. “He also hit some nice passes. They’re something we can build on.”

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

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