Mt. Pleasant runs away from McGuffey in nonconference rout

Friday, September 9, 2022 | 10:26 PM

Mt. Pleasant turned two McGuffey fumbles and an interception into touchdowns during the second half en route to a 50-28 victory in nonconference play Friday night at Vikings Stadium.

The Vikings (2-1) recovered a fumble on McGuffey’s first possession of the third quarter before Dante Giallonardo scored on a 3-yard run and Robbie Labuda connected on one of his six PATs for a 34-21 lead.

Mt. Pleasant added a safety at 8 minutes, 6 seconds of the third for a 36-21 advantage when the Highlanders quarterback was called for intentional grounding in the end zone.

Giallonardo recovered a fumble and scored on another 3-yard run to extend the Vikings’ lead to 43-21 with 9:57 left in the fourth.

“I am proud of this team,” Mt. Pleasant coach Jason Fazekas said. “I think they came out and played with a lot of guts. I think we had enough on both sides of the ball. We just had to tighten some things up. We talk about coming out and starting right away, and they did, so congratulations to our kids. I thought they played great.”

Lucas Nicotera intercepted a pass for Mt. Pleasant on McGuffey’s next possession, and Lane Golkosky scored on a 9-yard run for a 50-21 lead with 6:24 remaining. Golkosky gained 151 yards on nine carries.

“We can dish it out to certain guys depending on what we are getting and everything,” Fazekas said.

The Highlanders capped the scoring on Eric Donnelly’s 5-yard run with 3:40 left, and Dylan Stewart made one of his four extra points.

“They whipped us,” McGuffey coach Ed Dalton said. “We didn’t play very, didn’t handle our formations very well and didn’t set the edge. It’s not like we’re surprised. This is the seventh time we’ve played over 10 years. I thought it was going to be one of those games that was 48-42, but we made a season’s worth of mistakes today and we just have to fix it, but it’s a non-league win, so we just bounce back.”

The teams combined for five touchdowns in the first quarter, as the Vikings had a 20-14 lead after the first 12 minutes.

Labuda started the scoring for the home team with a 13-yard run for a 6-0 advantage at 7:18 of the first. Labuda had 148 yards on 15 attempts.

“Robbie is one heck of a runner, and he’s a great kid,” Fazekas said.

The Highlanders (2-1) tied the game and took a one-point lead after Tristan McAdoo caught a pass in the flat from Phillip McCuen and raced 50 yards for the score and a 7-6 lead with 3:14 remaining in the quarter.

Labuda’s 7-yard run and extra point put the home team back in front 13-7 at 2:18 of the first.

“(Labuda is) really good,” Dalton said. “We knew coming in he was really exceptional.”

Ethan Deitrich’s 94-yard kickoff return provided the visitors with a 14-13 lead at 2:03 of the opening frame before Tyler Reese pulled in a 63-yard reception for a score from Cole Chatfield with 36.1 left in the first. Reese had four receptions for 133 yards, and Chatfield was 6 of 13 for 167 yards.

“When we can RPO it and throw it down the field like that, it makes all the difference,” Fazekas said. “Our quarterback is still a young kid, and he’s doing a great job. Tyler Reese, this is his first week back. He was out for two weeks and was fantastic.”

Kyle Brookman’s 35-yard touchdown run at 9:39 of the second provided McGuffey with a 21-20 edge before Labuda scored on a 4-yard run with 5:06 remaining in the frame and a 27-21 advantage for Mt. Pleasant.

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