Westmoreland football notebook: Hempfield’s Remaley plays through injury

Thursday, October 3, 2019 | 9:04 PM

Quarterback Blake Remaley had the option to sit out and let time heal his ailment, but that just wasn’t his style.

He raided Hempfield’s stash of ice packs and athletic tape just to stay on the field.

After a bad sprain to his left ankle in a game against Central Catholic on Oct. 13, the Hempfield senior decided to tough it out and play through the pain.

He did the same thing in the next two games for the Spartans (2-4, 1-4).

Watch the highlights and you’ll see a quarterback virtually functioning on one leg.

“I had to stay in,” Remaley said. “That was the biggest game of the year.”

The next week, Remaley played hobbled again, against Canon-McMillan. He could not push off his left foot and was trying to stay in the pocket.

Same thing last week when Hempfield, with flickering playoff hopes, played at Mt. Lebanon.

His ankle swelled and turned a deep shade of black and blue, but week-to-week rest between games has helped him recover.

“It’s been nagging, but it’s gotten a lot better,” Remaley said. “It’s my senior year, and I don’t want to miss a game with my guys.”

Playing behind one of the largest offensive lines in Class 6A, Remaley has completed 81 of 143 passes for 993 yards and nine touchdowns. Hempfield has numerous injuries and has had to move players around as it tries to pluck depth from the bench.

The team has dropped three straight after a 34-17 win over Norwin.

“You just have to play with a lot of heart,” Remaley said. “Everyone on the team has it. There’s a lot of other people banged up, too, playing through injuries. This is a big week, and we need this win.”

Hempfield hosts No. 5 Seneca Valley (2-4, 2-3) Friday night.

Latrobe switches QBs

Latrobe made a switch at quarterback, inserting sophomore Bobby Fetter into the lineup two weeks ago. Fetter replaced Branden Crosby, who began the season as the starter.

Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said Fetter “earned the opportunity throughout the first three weeks of the season during the evaluation process,” so he made the change.

Fetter ran for 152 yards in the Wildcats’ 34-27 win over Connellsville.

Playoff clinching

Only one Westmoreland County team has clinched a WPIAL playoff spot so far, but several remain in contention with four weeks to play in the regular season.

Penn-Trafford (5-1), the No. 1 team in Class 5A, is the lone local qualifier.

With one more win, or a conference loss by Brownsville, Southmoreland (5-1) will secure a playoff berth for the first time in 40 years and end the WPIAL’s longest football playoff drought.


Jeannette (6-0) routinely is strong in its conference, but the Jayhawks have been consistently good playing outside of their division, too.

They play at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (5-1) on Saturday night in a Class A nonconference game.

Consider: Jeannette has won 15 straight nonconference games. Their last loss out-of-section defeat was in 2013 against Shady Side Academy. That also was the last year Jeannette missed the playoffs. Since 2000, Jeannette only has two nonconference losses. The other was against Laurel in 2010.

Tutino’s record broken

Last year, Ligonier Valley receiver Aaron Tutino set the state record for touchdown receptions with 61. But that mark lasted less than a year.

Southern Columbia’s Julian Fleming, an Ohio State commit, caught two touchdown passes last week in a 76-6 win over South Williamsport to reach 62.

Tutino finished his career with 206 catches for 4,120 yards.

Fleming’s teammate, Gaige Garcia, ran for 235 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries. He broke former Clairton star Lamont Wade’s record for career rushing touchdowns with his 121st score.

Southern Columbia (6-0) also extended its state-record winning streak to 77 in the regular season.

Extra points

Jeannette has four consecutive shutouts. According to the Jeannette Football Tradition Twitter account (@JeannetteFootb1), the 1936 Jayhawks set the program record with nine straight shutouts. The 1927 team had seven in a row, while teams in ‘33, ‘35 and 2016 had six straight. … Greensburg Central Catholic’s defense has been strong. The Centurions have 64 tackles-for-loss and 15 interceptions. …Southmoreland quarterback Zach Cernuto needs 128 yards to break the school’s career passing record of 3,174 yards set by Dakota Datz.

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

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