Huss paces Derry in rout of Yough

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Friday, October 11, 2019 | 11:17 PM


Following a year in which Derry played for a WPIAL championship, anything less might feel like a bust.

But the Trojans are piling up the victories again, and the consensus Friday night after a 42-6 rout of Yough was one of optimism.

“We played a pretty complete game,” Derry senior running back Justin Huss said.

Huss rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 4 Derry to its third consecutive victory and help the second-place Trojans keep pace with front-running North Catholic in the Class 3A Big East Conference standings.

It was Derry’s final regular-season home game, but Huss was looking forward to playing once more at home come playoff time.

“We don’t want to look too far into the future,” he said, “but we’re hoping to have one more home playoff game.”

With two games remaining, the Trojans (6-2, 5-1) are all but assured a fourth consecutive trip to the postseason, though coach Tim Sweeney said the team’s focus immediately would turn to next week and a trip to Deer Lakes.

“We’re not a good enough football team to overlook anybody,” Sweeney said.

Huss, who gained his yardage in the first half as Derry carried a 35-0 lead into halftime against Yough, scored on runs of 72, 39 and 4 yards.

Three others scored rushing touchdowns for Derry. Mike Kelly’s 23-yard run capped a 21-point first quarter for the Trojans. Pryce Donovan added a 14-yarder in the second quarter, and Eric Catone’s 3-yard run accounted for their lone third-quarter score with the clock running continuously because of a mercy rule.

Reno Ustazewski’s 73-yard touchdown run in the third quarter enabled Yough (1-7, 1-5) to avoid a shutout. It was the Cougars’ sixth loss in a row.

“They’re not quitting,” Yough coach Scott Wood said of his players. “They definitely come out and give us everything they can. When you’re losing games, it’s hard. I’m happy with the fact they don’t quit.”

Sweeney and Wood are alums of their respective schools, both taking great pride in their alma maters.

Wood’s passion to elevate Yough’s slumping program can be heard in his voice, especially after another lopsided loss. The Cougars entered the game having yielded at least 50 points in each of their four previous games.

“I think Tim is a great guy, and I have no problem talking about what they’re doing here,” Wood said. “What he’s done up here is great for their program. Obviously, that’s what I want to emulate for our program. I want nothing more than for my team to do well.”

Wood has been encouraged through the losing, even in the wake of the Cougars’ 67-0 loss a week ago to top-ranked Aliquippa.

“Our last four games at the end of the year are tough ones for us,” he said.

Yough finishes the season at home with a pair of games against No. 3 North Catholic and No. 5 Elizabeth Forward.

The Cougars have been without injured quarterback Tristan Waldier, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore for most of the season. In his place, junior Gamal Marballie has moved from wide receiver and is closing in on 1,000 yards passing. He finished Friday night’s game with 65 yards passing and 38 rushing.

“He’s been doing pretty well,” Wood said. “He’s approaching 1,000 yards passing, and he has over 500 yards rushing. Not bad for a kid who wasn’t supposed to play quarterback.

“But losing Tristan hasn’t helped us. There’s some things we see positive. Our middle school team is 5-0 right now. We’ve got some athletes coming up from that team. We’re only losing three kids who start, three on defense and two on offense. We have a lot of positives. We’re a really young team with sometimes three or four freshmen playing at the same time, and sometimes five sophomores.”

As Derry continues its surge toward another postseason run, Sweeney tempered the enthusiasm with a few hard-line observations.

“You don’t want to plateau. You want to keep getting better,” he said. “We played a pretty complete football game tonight, but I didn’t like that (Yough) touchdown.”

The Cougars succeeded in finding the end zone in the third quarter against a lineup made up mainly of Derry reserves, when Ustazewski broke free from a scrum near the line of scrimmage and pulled away from the Trojans defense.

“Sometimes those things happen later in the game when you’re up and you make a move to the younger guys,” Sweeney said. “But we’ll take a look at the film and get it corrected.”

Huss was all smiles as he mingled afterwards. He gave credit to the Derry offensive line for yet another big showing.

“Without those guys, we wouldn’t be able to do anything. They’re great up front,” Huss said. “They’re one of the best in the WPIAL.”

For another season, Derry is proving again to be among the best WPIAL teams in Class 3A.

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