Westmoreland football notebook: Mt. Pleasant back in Big East race

Saturday, October 5, 2019 | 7:48 PM

If Mt. Pleasant qualifies for the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs this season, then the Vikings may look back at Jake Johnson and a clutch play he lobbied for during the third quarter of Friday’s game against Burrell.

Mt. Pleasant was looking at third-and-9, and coach Jason Fazekas was set to call a pass play.

Johnson had other ideas. “He told me he wanted the ball,” Fazekas said. “So we gave it to him, and he got the first down.”

The play helped Mt. Pleasant (2-3) rally to defeat Burrell, 34-18, and put the Vikings back into the playoff race in the Big East. The Vikings scored 27 points in the second half, 20 in the fourth quarter.

Johnson finished with 200 yards rushing, 195 in the second half, and three touchdowns. Nick Loughner scored twice for the Vikings and rushed for 148 yards.

“Jake did a great job, and so did the offensive line,” Fazekas said. “It all starts up front.”

After his team beat the Vikings, Derry coach Tim Sweeney said, “They’re going to beat people.”

So who’s making the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs from the Big East?

No. 3 North Catholic (5-0) is in. Derry, ranked No. 4, is 4-1 and a win at home against Yough will virtually clinch its position. The Trojans still have tough games at Deer Lakes and Burrell to close out the season.

Elizabeth Forward (3-2) is coming off road losses at Derry and North Catholic, and a big home game looms against Mt. Pleasant.

Then it gets muddled as Burrell (3-3), Freeport (3-3), Deer Lakes (3-3) and Mt. Pleasant also have a shot.

Top four teams qualify for the playoffs in each Class 3A conference.

Here’s a look at current Gardner points for some contenders (Gardner points, tiebreaker points): Elizabeth Forward (390, 12), Burrell (340, -6), Freeport (340, 4), Deer Lakes (330, -3), Mt. Pleasant (240, 0), Yough (100, -30) and Uniontown (0, -50).

Stay tuned. The next three weeks should be fun.

To the house, again

Latrobe senior wide receiver Kameron Stevens is a game-changer.

Stevens had his fourth kickoff return for a touchdown this season against Penn-Trafford.

Stevens has returns of 90, 95, 95 and 97 yards. Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said he’s not sure if Stevens set a school record.

He had one in the season opener at Derry and two — and almost a third — against Franklin Regional.

Opposing teams have been game-planning for the Latrobe’s special teams specialist.

Marucco said Stevens is receiving looks from Division III schools.

Drought ends at 40

It’s probably not the way Southmoreland coach Dave Keefer wanted to get into the WPIAL playoffs, losing to Charleroi and learning his team made the playoffs because Brownsville lost.

But he’ll take it none the less.

Southmoreland’s ended its drought of making the WPIAL playoffs and will join Century Conference teams Washington, McGuffey and Charleroi.

Southmoreland can finish no worse than fourth place in the conference, but a win against Washington, its lone conference opponent on Oct. 18 may elevate them to a higher spot. The Scotties are on the road for two nonconference games – Oct. 11 at Shenango and Oct. 25 at Greensburg Central Catholic.

Ward is not just a kicker

For those who thought Greensburg Central Catholic kicker Nate Ward just used his foot, he does more.

Ward scored two touchdowns Friday at Mapletown, on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Nate Dlugos and an 80-yard kickoff return.

He was also 5 for 5 in extra points. He has 22 extra points, and GCC coach Bret Colbert said Indiana may be interested in him as a kicker.

P-T gets defensive

Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane was not pleased with his top-ranked team’s offensive execution Friday night in a 39-7 win over Latrobe.

But the coaches had little qualms with the defense, which held Latrobe to one first down and fewer than 20 yards of total offense.

One standout up front was senior lineman Dylan Schmidt, who routinely broke through a smaller Wildcats’ line to subdue plays before they could even start.

If the offense was slow-starting, the defense was twice as charged up.

“I think we played very well, just like how we were doing in the beginning of the season,” Schmidt said. “We just had a lot more energy.”

Coming attractions

Jeannette (7-0, 3-0) at Greensburg Central Catholic (6-1, 4-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Centurion Stadium

Longtime rivals reunite in an important Class A Eastern Conference game in Carbon.

Mt. Pleasant (3-4, 2-3) at Elizabeth Forward (4-2, 3-2)

7 p.m. Friday at Warrior Stadium

Mt. Pleasant is fighting for a playoff spot and has momentum after a win over Burrell.

Tweet of the day

7-0. Clinched 4x Heritage Champs. Broke career touchdown record. #Liggywho #clinched #puckered #Puttheballdown

Ligonier Valley running back Kyrie Miller


Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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