Latrobe dominates Derry in football opener

Friday, August 26, 2022 | 11:11 PM

Neighboring rivals Latrobe and Derry had a lot in common heading into their season-opening matchup.

Both have new coaches — Ron Prady at Latrobe, Mike Arone at Derry.

Both are stepping down to new classifications — Latrobe to Class 4A, Derry to 2A.

Both have switched to odd-man fronts on defense, and both have tweaked their offensive playbook.

But when they took the field Friday night, the Wildcats had something — no, someone —Derry did not: Robby Fulton.

Powered by a dazzling debut from the senior running back, Latrobe thumped Derry, 55-0, in a lightning-plagued opener at Trojan Stadium.

The clock stopped each time lightning lit up the sky — and each time the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Fulton struck.

A Central Catholic transfer who is from Munhall, Fulton rushed for 209 yards and five touchdowns — all in the first half — for one of the most impressive first games by a rusher in Latrobe history.

“He’s not a secret any more,” Prady said. “Our line really gave him some room to run, and he hit the holes hard. I was pleased with how our line played. Robby doesn’t need a lot of space to go.”

Fulton, who started as a defensive end last year at Central, scored on a 63-yard burst on the Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage, then added runs of 12, 7, 29 and 10 yards in a slow-moving first half trumped by a lightning delay.

“Our line did some great things,” Fulton said. “It felt great to start out the way we did. I really like it at Latrobe. People have really accepted me. I miss my friends (at Central Catholic), but it’s been great here.”

Gathering momentum as he took carries and waited for blockers, Fulton showed power and speed as he bounced outside and shed tacklers.

Latrobe (1-0), plagued by penalties that prevented it from taking a larger lead early, also got 68 yards rushing and 70 passing from sophomore quarterback John Wetzel, who also made his varsity debut.

The Wildcats rushed for 489 yards. Sophomore Alex Tatsch added a 20-yard touchdown run early in the second half, and backup quarterback Gaige Kettren ran in from 44 and 32 yards in the fourth to make it 55-0.

Kettren ran for 90 yards on three carries.

Latrobe had 85 yards in penalties.

“That was embarrassing, and we need to clean that up,” Prady said. “We’ll get better. Derry is going to improve, too. They have a young team. They didn’t quit tonight.”

Derry (0-1), booned by larger roster numbers but overall a young team, moved the ball out of a second-quarter delay but gave away two fumbles before taking a 35-0 deficit into the half.

“Hats off to coach Prady and their line,” Arone said. “They whipped us good up front.”

Sophomore Blake Revoir ran for 80 yards in the first half, most of them on a 41-yard burst. The Trojans had 2 yards passing.

The game started at 7:45 p.m. because of pregame lightning and was paused another 30 minutes with 11:48 to play in the second quarter after another strike. Fans were asked to clear the stadium and go to their vehicles.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .

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