Thomas Jefferson routs Greensburg Salem behind Shaw’s 286-yard, 6-TD night
Friday, October 19, 2018 | 10:45 PM
By imposing their will at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, the top-ranked Thomas Jefferson Jaguars rushed for 418 yards on their way to steamrolling Greensburg Salem, 70-21, on Friday in a WPIAL Class 4A Big 8 Conference matchup.
Running back Max Shaw inflicted most of the damage for the Jaguars offense, racking up 286 yards and six touchdowns on 26 carries.
“I was really happy with the offensive line. We controlled the line of scrimmage. We played really well on the line on both sides,” Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak said. “Max ran well tonight. He hit those holes that the line was opening up, and he was elusive. The line blocking well, and the fullback playing well — those things really help him out, but he was running the ball well for us out there.”
To make his effort even more impressive, Shaw touched the ball only four times in the second half as Thomas Jefferson (8-0, 6-0) pulled most of its starters while holding a 56-12 lead.
Fullback Nathan Werdeber chipped in 80 rushing yards and a touchdown on five carries. In late-game relief duty, running back Dylan Mallozzi rushed for 42 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown.
Quarterback Shane Stump overcame three early interceptions to pass for 132 yards and a touchdown on 8 of 13 attempts. Stump’s touchdown strike, a 13-yarder to Bowen Dame, occurred in the waning seconds of the first half.
The win against Greensburg Salem (3-6, 3-3) will serve as a tune-up for the Jaguars’ regular-season finale at West Mifflin. The winner of that game will be crowned Class 4A Big 8 champs.
“We’re where we wanted to be,” Cherpak said. “The biggest key is that we’re healthy. Going into next week and the playoffs, that’s what you want. But we have to be a little sharper from the get-go starting next week.”
While the loss stings, Greensburg Salem and coach Dave Keefer can take heart in the fact they scored 21 points against a Thomas Jefferson defense that surrendered only 48 points all season heading into Friday night’s game.
The team will have to pivot quickly, however, as they face a must-win situation next week in their regular-season finale at Indiana. Win, and Greensburg Salem will be awarded a WPIAL playoff berth. Lose, and their playoff dreams are done.
“There were parts of this game that I was very proud of, and there were parts of this game that I was disappointed in,” Keefer said of the loss.
“I’m ready to make that pivot. I’m going to wake up tomorrow and watch film. I think we are doing some things right. I think (there are) things to hang our hats on going into next week. Going into next week, we know what we’re getting into and we know what we’re playing for. It’s a big game for us. We want to get into the playoffs.”
Quarterback Trent Patrick led the way for the Golden Lions, tossing two touchdown passes, a 41-yarder to Ryan Thomas and a 34-yarder to Jalen Page, while completing 6 of 12 passes for 119 yards and an interception.
Junior Tyler Williams starred for the Golden Lions on defense, intercepting two of Stump’s passes and returning one for a 33-yard score.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.