Mt. Pleasant, Elizabeth Forward set to battle for top spot in Interstate Conference

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022 | 7:18 PM


No one should be surprised by the success of the Elizabeth Forward football team this season.

The undefeated Warriors returned numerous four-year starters who have won the past two WPIAL Class 3A Interstate Conference titles and reached the WPIAL championship game in 2020.

Mt. Pleasant coach Jason Fazekas said upsetting the top-ranked Warriors (6-0, 1-0) on Friday at Warrior Stadium will require the right attitude and confidence.

“They are very good and very talented,” Fazekas said. “We have to take care of ourselves. Effort and attitude are the most important things this time of the season.”

Mt. Pleasant (4-2, 1-0) showed those in the conference opener last week. The Vikings are coming off a 45-28 victory against Greensburg Salem in a game that turned quickly in the fourth quarter after a drive-stopping interception by Camden Moore.

The Vikings turned that turnover into a 20-point barrage in less than a minute.

The running tandem of Robbie Labuda (132 yards and two touchdowns) and Lane Golkosky (118 yards and four touchdowns) were too much for the Golden Lions. Now they face an Elizabeth Forward defense that has allowed only 48 points this season.

“We’ll have to make plays,” Fazekas said. “We’re going to try to be physical like they are and be able to match their effort.”

Elizabeth Forward hasn’t been in a close game this season. It is averaging 41.8 points per game and has scored 42 points in each of its past four games.

The Warriors have a lot of weapons and turned in an impressive performance last week at Southmoreland without starting quarterback Zion White, who was injured.

“We have a veteran group that has been around,” Elizabeth Forward coach Mike Collodi said. “We’re doing what we’ve been coached.”

Starting running back Johnny DiNapoli filled in at QB against Southmoreland and led a 42-6 victory. He completed 4 of 8 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

DiNapoli is the team’s leading rusher with 301 yards and six touchdowns. Jason Wilmore, who rushed for 147 yards against Southmoreland, has run for 285 yards and scored four touchdowns.

“Johnny did a great job stepping in for Zion,” said Collodi, who was noncommittal about who will start Friday. “It was nice to see us respond the way we did. We didn’t get shook.”

White has completed 41 of 74 passes for 971 yards and 16 touchdowns. His top receiver is Zach Boyd with 21 catches for 639 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Charlie Nigut has 14 catches for 237 yards, and Kelly Rush has nine catches for 237 yards and five touchdowns.

Collodi said he knows his team will be tested by the Vikings.

“They’re always a tough opponent,” Collodi said. “Labuda is a very good runner and a big, strong back. They’ve been using him in their passing game. They have other weapons, too.”

Labuda has rushed for 1,011 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. Golkosky has rushed for 439 yards and scored seven touchdowns.

Vikings quarterback Cole Chatfield has completed 34 of 61 passes for 688 yards and five touchdowns.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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