Southmoreland football rebounds to defeat Perry

Thursday, September 9, 2021 | 11:08 PM

In football, one big play can change a game. On Thursday night, Southmoreland got several of them.

The Scotties (2-1) saw an early 14-0 lead quickly vanish but rebounded to smother City League foe Perry, 35-20, in a back-and-forth battle at Cupples Stadium on the South Side.

Southmoreland forced four turnovers in the win, none bigger than when, up 28-20, Isaac Trout stripped the ball away from Perry quarterback Ahmad Arrington at the Scotties’ 4-yard line with 9 minutes, 23 seconds to play.

“I saw the pass break down and watched him roll out,” Trout said. “When I saw him break, I broke, too, and when I got there and somehow got my feet in bounds, I saw the ball come out and was like, ‘I’ve got to get that.’ ”

He did, and Southmoreland quarterback Anthony Govern took over from there, rushing for a 5-yard touchdown to cap a seven-play, 96-yard drive that was aided greatly by four Perry penalties.

Govern passed for 128 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 71 more yards and the score that iced the win.

“We just knew we had to come out and finish it,” Govern said. “We jumped on them early, but we gave up some ground, letting them score three straight. We just had to come out in the second half, let our defense make some plays and let our offense do their thing.”

Perry was penalized 20 times for 153 yards, including four personal foul facemask penalties. That said, the Commodores (1-1) were still in the game late.

Govern began the night in dramatic fashion when, on the game’s opening drive, he found Trout for an arcing 34-yard touchdown pass after he rolled out of pressure.

“I saw the safety bite a little bit, and I have trust in (Trout),” Govern said. “I have trust in all of my guys. Just throw it up, and they’ll go get it.”

Southmoreland’s Travon Lee intercepted Arrington on the ensuing series, and Govern led another scoring drive as Jeffrey Johnson scored on a 3-yard run.

“Anthony is a top-notch player,” Southmoreland coach Dave Keefer said. “He’s one of the best quarterbacks — first year — in the WPIAL. His stats are going to prove it. He’s a dual threat.”

But back came Perry, scoring on three consecutive drives.

Arrington scrambled into the end zone from 5 yards on fourth down. He then connected with four-star defensive end recruit Tyreese Fearbry for a 19-yard score and put the Commodores on top with a 74-yard bomb to Noah Cutler.

That’s when Keefer went into the bag of tricks for a response, having Govern throw a backwards pass to Lee, who was lined up at receiver. Lee chucked the ball downfield to J.J. Bloom, who scampered into the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown.

The Scotties then cashed in with a big special teams play, recovering a squib kick to begin the second half. Southmoreland’s offense began rolling.

“We said, hey, we’ve got to be able to run the ball,” Keefer said.

“We started taking over at the end of the fourth quarter, and it ended up working out for us. We started chunking them a little bit, five and six (yards) at a time.”

Govern found Josh Bass for a 28-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 28-20.

For the second straight week, the Scotties faced a top recruit in the WPIAL.

Southmoreland lost 28-21 a week ago to Laurel Highlands and standout athlete Rodney Gallagher. This week, it was a bruising defensive end in Fearbry, who left the game briefly after Trout’s fumble recovery. He returned for a series on offense but then left again.

“(Fearbry) didn’t change our gameplay at all actually,” Govern said. “We just had to have trust in our guys. We know our guys can do their thing. We didn’t have to check away from him, just run our gameplan.”

Southmoreland also found a way to contain Arrington, who passed for 232 yards and rushed for 69 more. After halftime, he accounted for just 55 passing yards, and 21 on the ground.

“We just had to make some adjustments,” Keefer said. “The pocket was collapsing, and they were scrambling and making plays. They’re good, man. They’re so athletic, and it was driving me crazy. You thought you had them, and then bang, there they go, cutting back on you.”

Trout finished with 85 yards of total offense, plus the fumble recovery and an interception on defense in the second half.

“Isaac is one of the top WPIAL players, hands down,” Keefer said. “A cover corner and so smooth on offense. He’s an unbelievable player.”

Perry will look to regroup next week when it begins City League play against University Prep.

Southmoreland, which opened the season with an eyebrow-raising romp of McGuffey, next week hosts a South Allegheny squad that has been blown out twice in its first two games.

The Scotties, however, do not plan on taking any opponent lightly or resting on their laurels.

“We have so much to improve on,” Govern said. “We have to step it up on defense. We need to capitalize, score points and get more turnovers.”

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