Westmoreland County football notebook: Monessen making major strides

Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 5:01 PM

There were people who didn’t think Monessen, with its small roster and overall lack of experience, would score 50 points all season, let alone in one game.

But the Greyhounds cruised by Bentworth, 50-7, last week for their second straight win.

Monessen scored 33 total points in seven games last year and had to forfeit its final three games for various reasons.

When asked what impresses him most about his team, first-year coach Wade Brown said, “Their willingness to adapt to what we are doing. And they’re starting to listen (to the coaches).”

Lorenzo Gardner is looking good under center for the Greyhounds. He completed 8 of 15 passes for 230 yards Friday.

Anthony Crews ran for 104 yards, and Omarion Rainey had three catches for 125 yards.

Monessen (2-2, 1-0 Tri-County South) also has managed to stay healthy to mask its lack of depth. The Greyhounds take 23 players into this week’s game against Jefferson-Morgan.

P-T looks for bounce back

Penn-Trafford has a rare two-game losing streak to deal with as it plays Saturday afternoon at Shaler.

The Warriors lost to Peters Township, 28-14, last week to break their 23-game winning streak at Warrior Stadium.

Coach John Ruane knows there is plenty of football left — including an entire conference schedule — to right the ship.

“Everyone hates losing, and no one on our team or staff is OK with it, which I think is important,” Ruane said. “I’ve got to do a better job putting the kids in position to win. We aren’t losing our focus and have a lot of season to get things right. I’m confident that we will.”

Taking it in stride

Derry coach Vince Skillings kept a sense of humor last Friday following his alma mater’s 49-0 home loss to Deer Lakes, the Trojans’ fourth setback in as many games.

When reminded of his playing days at Derry, when he would run a quarter-mile backward on the Trojan Stadium track, Skillings laughed.

“Back then, I was getting ready. You’ve got to train,” he said. “Yep … I did that, and I try to tell our defensive backs that, and they look at me like I’m (crazy) or something. They’re like, ‘Yeah, right.’ But you’d be surprised how many pros do it for a mile.”

Skillings, an all-state player at Derry in 1976, was a sixth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1981 after a stellar college career as a cornerback at Ohio State, where he had 13 interceptions.

Injuries played a part in Skillings’ development at the pro level, where he spent most of his time on NFL practice squads and in the Canadian Football League.

Now in his second season at Derry, Skillings is faced with a dwindling roster from mounting injuries that already was low in numbers.

Their game Friday against Freeport was cancelled because of covid-19 protocols at Derry.

But Skillings stays upbeat, nonetheless.

“I talk to our guys about doing the little things and things you’re supposed to do at your position,” Skillings said. “I tell them to do your 1/11th, and let the other 10 guys do their 1/11th.”

Derry (0-4, 0-1 Allegheny 7) is one of 23 WPIAL teams without a victory as the regular season nears the halfway point. The Trojans have been outscored 235-29.

LV wins again

Ligonier Valley just keeps setting them up and knocking them down. The Rams (4-0) appear ready to shed their WPIAL newcomer tag, having rejoined the league last year after 50 years away.

With one more nonconference game next week against Carrick on Friday before they finally open Allegheny Conference play, the Rams are emerging as a conference title contender in Class 2A.

The Rams jumped out to a 20-6 lead last Friday night and never looked back in a 33-6 win over Frazier. Miles Higgins and Nick Beitel had touchdown runs in the victory.

The Rams are averaging 33.5 points and allowing 8.5. They are one of five undefeated teams in Class 3A, joining North Catholic, Central Valley and fellow Allegheny Conference foes Serra Catholic and Steel Valley.

Called into to duty

Three district football teams have been forced to use their backup quarterbacks.

When Latrobe senior Bobby Fetter went down with a left shoulder injury in Week 1 against Norwin, the Wildcats turned to Brayden Reott and junior Corey Boerio the past two weeks. Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said he’s been pleased how his team has responded.

Marucco said there is a good chance that Fetter will be back soon.

Ligonier Valley was forced to use junior Broderick Schreyer in place of junior Haden Sierocky, who injured his left arm and did not play against Frazier. Rams coach Roger Beitel said he was happy with the way Schreyer handled things and he didn’t have a timetable for when Sierocky would return. Ligonier Valley will play host to Carrick on Friday.

Mt. Pleasant junior Tyler Reese was held out of the Latrobe game with a leg injury. He was replaced by freshman Cole Chatfield. There is no word if Reese will return for Friday’s game against Southmoreland.

Extra points

Belle Vernon moved senior Cole Weightman from linebacker to defensive end and the decision is paying off. Weightman last week had two sacks and nine tackles, three for loss, in a win over West Mifflin. … Ligonier Valley senior lineman Jude Grzywinski has started 37 straight games for the Rams. He is a 6-foot-3, 303-pound center. … GCC is 3-1 but is allowing more points than it is scoring (13.0 to 12.8).

Dave Mackall and Paul Schofield contributed.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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