Peters Township overcomes 5 turnovers to defeat South Fayette in Allegheny Six opener

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Friday, September 16, 2022 | 11:03 PM


Peters Township freshman Reston Lehman scored his first two career touchdowns a minute apart Friday night, one to tie and one to take the lead as the Indians defeated South Fayette, 42-28, in an Allegheny Six opener filled with unpredictable moments.

Maybe most unpredictable was that South Fayette’s defense intercepted four passes, returned one for a touchdown and recovered a fumble that led to another score, yet Peters Township still won.

“There were some mixed feelings, but we came out with the win,” said Lehman, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound tight end and outside linebacker. “You can’t be complaining.”

Peters Township quarterback Chris Cibrone endured a five-turnover night, yet passed for 296 yards, two touchdowns and added two rushing scores in the fourth quarter. Running back Richie Woods rushed for 224 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, and wide receiver Brendan McCullough had 147 yards and a touchdown on eight catches.

Still, Lehman had maybe the biggest plays.

A 35-yard pass from Cibrone to Lehman forced a 21-21 tie in the third, but that tie lasted for only a minute. Lehman scooped up a fumble forced by teammate Nick Courie and returned it 14 yards for a 28-21 lead with about 2 minutes left in the quarter.

Peters Township (4-0, 1-0) never trailed again.

Lehman’s touchdown catch was the right play call at the right moment. Peters Township faked a run and South Fayette’s defense bit, letting Lehman run down the middle uncovered.

“We wanted to run the play, we talked about it during the week,” Lehman said. “I just waited for my time to get the ball.”

Nobody was close to Lehman. He was wide open, almost too open.

“It’s easy, but you are nervous,” Cibrone said of making that throw, “because if you miss it, you look like a bum. It’s easy, there’s no one near him, but there are a lot of bad consequences if you miss.”

Cibrone’s throw was right on target.

Lehman is one of two freshmen who start for the Indians and Courie is only a sophomore. So this win is worth more than just an early lead in the conference race.

“It’s growth,” Peters Township coach T.J. Plack said. “We’re young and our guys have competed all year. We’ve had some really great football games, the Seneca Valley game was just like this, and our guys are learning from those wins.”

The Indians leaned on Woods to protect the lead in the fourth quarter. The senior scored the game’s first points on a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but he had 115 yards in the fourth quarter alone. His carries set up two late touchdowns for Cibrone on runs of 3 and 9 yards.

“They ran out of gas,” Cibrone said, “and we kept pushing.”

South Fayette (2-2, 0-1) was trying to win its first conference game in two years. The Lions went 0-5 in the Allegheny Six last season.

“Kudos to them, they’re obviously a good football team,” South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. “I thought we were in it. Guys played hard. At times we got some stops, but too many mistakes. You can’t win making mistakes.”

South Fayette led 13-7 and 21-14 in the first half, but spent much of the second playing from behind. The Lions committed three turnovers of their own, were hurt by penalties and punted six times.

South Fayette quarterback Nico Lamonde completed 14 of 23 passes for 262 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Lamonde threw a 67-yard touchdown to Dom Monz in the first quarter for a 7-7 tie.

The Lions’ Nate Deanes had three interceptions and scored twice on offense. His 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth cut Peters Township’s lead to 35-28 with about 7 minutes left.

Spence Hondru had the Lions’ fourth interception, a second-quarter pick he returned 91 yards for a touchdown and a 21-14 halftime lead.

“It was back and forth with scoring on both sides,” Plack said. “But our guys were steady on the sidelines, steady in the locker room. We knew what we had to do.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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