Shawn Curry runs for 256 yards as Carlynton pulls away from Riverview

Saturday, September 11, 2021 | 9:00 PM

Saturday afternoon did not start well for visiting Carlynton.

For a Cougars team that entered their nonconference game at Riverview with an 0-2 record and with only six total points scored, the Cougars’ first two possessions went this way: interception, then a 1-yard loss, 2-yard gain, 2-yard gain and punt.

Trailing by six in the first quarter, Carlynton hit a switch and scored 35 unanswered points Saturday for a 35-12 win over host Riverview.

Carlynton junior running back Shawn Curry carried 25 times for 256 yards and four touchdowns.

“We did start winning in the trenches,” Carlynton coach Rich Piccinini said. “We saw a couple of things we knew we could get. We did kind of turn on the switch. We have a good line. We have an experienced line. They just have to believe we can do it.

The Raiders also ran the ball well. Riverview senior Dean Cecere carried 27 times for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Cecere capped a 51-yard drive with a 16-yard run in the first quarter that gave the Raiders a short-lived 6-0 lead.

Then Curry got hot in a hurry for Carlynton.

He carried the ball six straight times for 58 yards, with the final 5 yards putting the Cougars on the board. Dom Bemlinger kicked the extra point that put Carlynton up for good, 7-6.

Carlynton scored touchdowns on two of its next three possessions. The first came on a 4-yard run by Curry. Then the dagger was delivered when freshman quarterback Devontae Dean stepped up in the pocket, and as he was hit, launched a 30-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jaydin McKnight in the final 30 seconds of the half.

“Devontae is a freshman, and he’s going to be good,” Piccinini said. “He throws a nice ball and knows how to run the offense. He actually suggested that touchdown pass. That wasn’t supposed to be the play. He said I think we can get this, and we did.”

In the first half, Curry was a singles hitter, gaining 3, 4 and 5 yards a carry. However, he turned home-run hitter in the second half with scoring runs of 57 and 71 yards.

“He is a tough runner,” Piccinini said. “He takes a lot of contact in there. But he is a home-run hitter. He takes it, takes it and takes it, and when he gets that opening, he breaks it. He has good track speed, and he’s not afraid to get his head in there and get the hard yards.”

Cecere capped his big afternoon with a 1-yard touchdown run late.

Carlynton has two more nonconference games before it starts 2A Three Rivers Conference play in October. The Cougars will host Shady Side Academy and Serra Catholic the next two weeks.

“I’m happy we’ve improved,” Piccinini said. “This is the beginning of our third year, and we have changed a lot of the culture around. We are young with only six seniors, and they’ve bought in.”

Riverview falls to 0-2 and has lost 13 straight going back to the 2019 season. The Raiders begin Class A Eastern Conference play next week when they travel to winless Jeannette.

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