Sparked by defense, Southmoreland rolls past Yough

Friday, October 8, 2021 | 10:24 PM

Southmoreland’s defense was up to the task in a 35-7 victory over Yough on Friday in Interstate Conference play at Russ Grimm Field.

Its offense wasn’t too shabby either, as the Scotties gained 264 yards on the ground and 374 overall.

“Defensively, I thought we played lights out,” Southmoreland coach Dave Keefer said. “We gave up that touchdown at the end, but that’s an anomaly. I’m not worried about that.”

The Scotties (5-2, 2-1) opened the scoring with a defensive touchdown as Travon Lee scooped up a fumble in the end zone, and Jake Kaylor added the first of five PATs for a 7-0 lead at 6 minutes, 40 seconds of the first quarter.

“I think anytime the defense makes a big play, it’s definitely going to excite the rest of the team,” Keefer said. “That score really put the momentum in our favor. The defense won this game for us. We shut down a couple of pretty good athletes over there. I thought from watching last week’s film that they have some guys that are pretty dangerous.”

Lee’s score came after a Southmoreland turnover on downs, as the Cougars (0-7, 0-4) were forced to punt on their opening drive and the Scotties drove to the Yough 4-yard line, but Anthony Govern was stopped on a fourth-and-3 at the 2.

Yough took over, but unfortunately for coach Chris Chunko and his team, having the ball deep in its own territory proved to be a disaster.

“They had the ball in our end of the field the entire first half,” Chunko said. “It is hard to get anything started when we have our backs against our own goal line. We gave them short fields. It was a game of field position in the first half, and it wasn’t in our favor.”

Southmoreland extended its lead to 14-0 on Jeffrey Johnson’s 11-yard run at 3:31 of the first.

The Scotties were on the verge of a three-touchdown advantage after Govern’s 42-yard run, but Yough’s Tannor Jarmon recovered a fumble.

“We still got to stop the self-inflicted wounds,” Keefer said. “We have to clean up the fumbling and dropped balls.”

Govern’s 2-yard run with 1:20 left before halftime gave Southmoreland a 21-0 lead. The score was set-up by Lee’s 38-yard halfback option pass to Isaac Trout to the 2.

Govern rushed for a game-high 139 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Trout caught four passes for 97 yards and a score.

Govern’s 10-yard touchdown run at 10:46 of the third pushed the home team’s advantage to 28-0 and following a Cougars three-and-out, Govern found Trout in the corner of the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown pass off a play-action fake with 8:14 left in the third and a 35-0 lead after Kaylor’s PAT.

“That was situational football, and we took advantage with that play,” Keefer said.

Yough kept battling and scored a touchdown with 4:10 remaining in the fourth on Tristan Waldier’s 18-yard run. Madison Hodge added the PAT.

“I thought we played much better in the second half, but we gave up the splash plays,” Chunko said. “We are up one week and down the next. We need to be consistent, but we have a young team. We will get after it in the next few weeks.”

Trout and teammate JJ Bloom had an interception, and Cameron Phillips recovered a fumble.

Yough’s Terek Crosby had an interception.

The Scotties are at Brownsville next week in conference play before hosting Elizabeth Forward and traveling to South Park to finish up the regular season.

“We always talk to the guys about not looking ahead and every game is a big game,” Keefer said. “My job as a head coach is to keep these guys focused. We have some guys quarantined, but it is the situation, and other teams are dealing with it, too.”

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