Peters Township dominant in shutout of South Fayette

Saturday, September 16, 2023 | 12:05 AM

On a clear, cool night, Peters Township kept the South Fayette homecoming crowd quiet and blanked the Lions to open play in the 5A Allegheny Six Conference.

Peters Township (4-0, 1-0) defeated the Lions, 35-0, and did so with a dominating defense and a potent offense.

Peters, the No. 2-ranked team in the Trib HSSN 5A rankings, opened the scoring on its first drive with a 29-yard pass from Nolan DiLucia to Ethan Wertman at the 8-minute mark of the first quarter.

The Lions (2-2, 0-1) put together a sustained drive to begin their night, but like the rest of the evening went, they came up empty.

Lions senior quarterback Nico Lamonde was held in check. He could get nothing going from the start as the Lions offensive line failed to impede Peters Township’s defensive front from pressuring him.

“Senior defensive lineman Jake Velgich is the strongest kid and top-five fastest kid on the team and a tremendous ballplayer,” Peters Township coach TJ Plack said. “And Junior Franco Muscatello is a man out there.”

Lamonde finished the night with 104 yards passing on 11 of 29 attempts.

If the Lions had designs on senior running back Nate Deanes making up for the lackluster passing game, Peters shut down those aspirations.

The Indians held Deanes, who came into the game averaging 7.8 yards a carry, to negative-13 yards on eight carries and one catch for minus-4 yards.

“They had a great defensive game plan. They shut me, and receivers Dom Monz and Mike Gimigliano, down all night long,” Deanes said.

Said Plack: “Deanes is great, and their quarterback does a great job with his legs. We didn’t want Deanes to make a big play, and Monz is a great player.”

Peters’ sophomore quarterback Nolan DiLucia had no such problem seeing the field as his line gave him a clean pocket most of the game.

“My offensive line prepares every week. They’re the success of tonight’s game,” DiLucia said. “They helped me so much and made this offense roll.”

He finished the game 16 for 27 with 292 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception and spread the ball to nine receivers.

The second quarter was all Peters Township.

The Indians scored twice in the second as DiLucia tossed a 15-yard pass to Thomas Aspinall. Then, on a 13 play 95-yard drive, DiLucia kept it for a 3-yard score.

The Lions only mustered punts at the end of two of their three drives, which totaled six plays. On the third drive, they knelt and headed to the locker room for halftime.

The Lions put a strong drive together for their opening possession of the second half. The drive puttered into a turnover on downs even though the Lions were helped by a roughing the passer penalty that set them up at the Peters 15-yard line.

The second half was more of the same for Peters as it scored two more touchdowns to seal the win.

Coming out of the half, Peters took the ball and drove methodically down the field on a 67-yard drive capitalized by a Vinnie Sarcone 2-yard run.

Sarcone, a senior, started the running clock with an 11-yard sweep to cap the night for the Peters offense. He finished with 63 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Peters Township has outscored opponents 152-14 on the season.

“The defensive line is tremendous, and those outside guys are rangy,” Plack said. “Our defensive backs can cover and tackle so well. Teams may do a couple things on us, but when we’re firing on all cylinders, we make it hard on teams.”

Said DiLucia: “Our defense is phenomenal, and our coaches prepare us each week and they put us in spots to make plays.”

Peters Township travels to Upper St. Clair next to battle the Panthers, and South Fayette looks to rebound at Canon-McMillan.

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