Westmoreland football notebook: Secret is out on Latrobe’s Fulton

Saturday, August 27, 2022 | 5:40 PM

Latrobe first-year football coach Ron Prady joked Friday night that the “secret’s out” on Robby Fulton IV, his senior running back and linebacker.

There won’t be any hiding his secret weapon now.

“He’s something else,” Prady said after Fulton, a transfer from Central Catholic, rushed for 209 yards and five touchdowns — all in the first half before sitting out the final two quarters— in a 55-0, mercy-ruled rout of Derry in the season opener.

“We knew he was going to make a difference for us,” Prady said. “He is tough to stop once he gets going. He looked good in the offseason.”

Fulton, who is from Munhall and would have gone to Steel Valley, attended Central Catholic for three years before his mother’s job move brought him to Latrobe.

He didn’t want to leave Central.

“I miss my friends,” he said.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Fulton started for Central as a defensive end last year and proved disruptive. He also is a sprinter in track.

“I knew I could get going if our line played like they did,” Fulton said. “I waited on them to block, and they gave me holes to run through. It felt good to be out there with my new teammates.”

Fulton took Latrobe’s first play from scrimmage and ran 63 yards for a touchdown.

If Latrobe should make the WPIAL playoffs, Fulton would be eligible to play.

Latrobe ran for nearly 500 yards in the opener, with sophomore quarterback John Wetzel running for 68 yards before his backup, sophomore Gaige Kettren, ran for 90 yards and two scores in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats play Franklin Regional next week. Last year, the Wildcats blew a 40-14 first-half lead and lost to the Panthers, 41-40.

Prady was the only local first-year coach to win in Week Zero.

Big debuts

Fulton wasn’t the only local player to turn heads in his first game of the season.

Penn-Trafford’s Conlan Greene made his debut at quarterback, and the hefty, 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior was on point. He completed 23 of 30 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-28 win over Canon-McMillan. Wideout Daniel Tarabrella had nine catches for 140 yards and a score, and Jake Otto caught eight for 110 and a score for the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A champion Warriors.

Greene’s passing total is the fourth best in program history.

Hempfield senior quarterback Jake Phillips went 14 of 16 for 263 yards and three touchdowns, and senior teammate Gino Caesar ran for 103 yards and three TDs on 12 carries in a 49-3 win over Greensburg Salem. All of the scoring was done in the first half.

Phillips also had a 61-yard touchdown run.

Greensburg Salem was missing several starters for undisclosed reasons.

Southmoreland’s Kadin Keefer completed 14 of 19 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown to Ty Keffer in his QB debut, a 44-28 loss to McGuffey.

• John Jablunovsky introduced himself to the world at Ligonier Valley by scoring on a 52-yard run and a 42-yard punt return as the Rams blanked visiting Springdale, 48-0.

Teammate Haden Sierocky added two scores, including an 85-yard interception return.

• Jaydin Canady ran for 187 yards and scored three touchdowns in a wild 56-35 win over Mt. Pleasant, which saw Robbie Labuda rush for 154 yards.

Labuda had a 93-yard kick-return score, ran for a 74-yard TD and caught another score.

Dasjon Cragette ran for 114 yards and scored twice in his Centurions debut, and Nate Dlugos caught a 32-yard score and returned a fumble 85 yards for another TD. GCC had a 28-point third quarter.

Norwin first-year quarterback Nick Urey threw a 90-yard touchdown to Jackson Pons.

Next week

A few games loom large in Week 1.

Laurel Highlands (1-0) and Belle Vernon (0-0) meet on the gold turf at Weir Stadium with gold stars in Rodney Gallagher and Quinton Martin.

Gallagher, a West Virginia commit, moved from quarterback to receiver. Martin, who has 20 Division I offers from Power 5 schools, is a big-play running back.

Both are sensational defensive backs.

Gallagher scored five touchdowns in a 50-6 win over Uniontown.

Class 3A No. 1 Belle Vernon played two scrimmages instead of playing its opener last week.

• Latrobe will look to avenge a devastating loss to Franklin Regional when the teams meet against Friday in Murrysville.

An excellent matchup of line play and skill guys, the Wildcats will look to run the ball effectively for the second straight week.

Greensburg Central Catholic (1-0) will face a playoff-like atmosphere in just its second game of 2022 when the Centurions travel to play Class A No. 1 Bishop Canevin (0-1) on Saturday.

The litmus test will tell GCC a lot about its skill-heavy team that put up 56 points in the opener against Mt. Pleasant.

Bishop Canevin lost last week to defending 2020 Class A state champion Steelton-Highspire, 21-14, in the Chambersburg Peach Bowl Showcase.

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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