Westmoreland football notebook: Three more teams clinch WPIAL playoff spots

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Saturday, October 12, 2019 | 6:57 PM


Three more Westmoreland teams punched their ticket to the WPIAL playoffs with wins Friday night.

Latrobe, Franklin Regional and Greensburg Salem will return to the postseason.

Latrobe and Greensburg Salem will make back-to-back playoff appearances after droughts: Latrobe made it last year for the first time since 2009, and the Golden Lions returned to the playoffs after a six-year absence.

Franklin Regional, meantime, will make its 16th straight postseason appearance, all under coach Greg Botta.

Latrobe and Franklin Regional are in Class 5A, and Greensburg Salem plays in 4A.

The clinchers:

• Latrobe held off Plum, 28-20, behind a thrilling, goal-line stand and a 116-yard, three-touchdown effort from sophomore Bobby Fetter. Logan Gustafson tackled Reed Martin on a wide run on fourth-and-inches from the 1 to stuff the Mustangs and seal the victory.

• Zac Gordon ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns as Franklin Regional rolled past Connellsville, 35-7.

• Aaren Putt scored two touchdowns, and Trent Patrick ran for a score and threw for another to pace Greensburg Salem to a 37-0 win at Ringgold — win No. 698 in school history.

Local playoff teams with two weeks left in the regular season are:

Penn-Trafford, Franklin Regional and Latrobe in Class 5A; Belle Vernon and Greensburg Salem in 4A; Southmoreland in 2A; and Jeannette in A.

Record-breakers

Belle Vernon senior quarterback Jared Hartman, Southmoreland junior quarterback Zach Cernuto and Ligonier Valley senior running back Kyrie Miller etched their names into the record books Friday night.

Hartman broke Josh Cramer’s single-season record for touchdown passes by a Belle Vernon quarterback, throwing for two scores to give him 17 this year.

Cernuto threw for 210 yards to set the career passing mark at Southmoreland. He needed only 87 yards to break the record of 3,174 yards held by Dakota Datz — and he still has a season-plus to go. Cernuto has 3,354 yards in two seasons (1,909 this year).

Miller became Ligonier Valley’s all-time leading rusher in a 42-7 win over Northern Cambria. He passed Collin Smith’s mark of 3,010 yards and raised his total to 3,017. Miller also has the program record for career touchdown passes.

Top passers

Some of the best passing performances in WPIAL Week 7 came from local quarterbacks.

Six county passers threw for 180 or more yards. They included: Norwin’s Jack Salopek (19 of 43, 304 yards), Gabe Dunlap of Penn-Trafford (15-19, 247), Cernuto (15-29, 230), Isaiah Beltram of Monessen (16-22, 225), Blake Remaley of Hempfield (13-20, 190), and Trevor Brncic of Franklin Regional (9-13, 186).

Gustafson’s stop

Allow Latrobe’s Logan Gustafson to be analytical for a moment. The junior made the defensive play of the game as the Wildcats defeated Plum, 28-20.

His play on Reed Martin on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with about 20 seconds left sealed the win. Gustafson sealed the corner — and sent Martin stretching for the end zone.

“When they come out in that heavy set, we call it heavy diamond, we knew they didn’t run anything but a direct snap to (Martin),” Gustafson said. “If the guy on my left moved up a little bit, it was going right like, 90 percent of the time. So when he snapped the ball … Once I knew he was going outside committed, I ran the alley as hard as I could to meet him at the pylon.”

Latrobe coach Jason Marucco was not surprised to see Gustafson make the clutch play.

“When you think about this season, the number of times you talk about Logan ‘Gus,’ whether it’s a run on offense or a key tackle or a pass defense,” Marucco said. “He’s been making those kind of plays for us all year. That’s senior leadership.”

Greene visits P-T

Former Steelers linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Greene was at Penn-Trafford on Friday night as part of a Ford promotion. Ford donated $5,000 and a five-man sled to the program.

Greene gave a speech to the Warriors before the game and took part in the coin toss.

Extra points

Belle Vernon kicker Cameron Guess attempted a 66-yard field goal late in Friday’s win over West Mifflin. It was no good. … Belle Vernon is averaging 45.7 points and allowing 10.1. … Jeannette has scored 42 or more points in six straight games. … Anthony Govern of Southmoreland and Chase Vecchio of Penn-Trafford are not quarterbacks but both threw TD passes Friday.

Coming attractions

McKeesport (6-2, 3-1) at Franklin Regional (4-2, 3-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Panther Stadium

Playoff positioning in the 5A Big East will be at stake as Franklin Regional tries to slow down the Tigers.

Thomas Jefferson (8-0, 5-0) at Greensburg Salem (4-4, 4-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Offutt Field

Thomas Jefferson is the nemesis of many teams, including the Golden Lions, who are excited to have a meaningful late-season game against the perennial-power Jaguars.

Tweet of the day

I love my guys! #HOGS

—Belle Vernon QB Jared Hartman (@jaredhartman_3), who conducted a postgame interview Friday with all of his linemen surrounding him.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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