Westmoreland football notebook: Tight connection between P-T coach, Gateway

Saturday, August 31, 2019 | 7:37 PM

Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane was talking to reporters after Friday’s win when Gateway defensive tackle Jacques Taylor asked him why he was on crutches.

No. 3 Penn-Trafford defeated No. 1 Gateway, 28-7, in a hard-hitting game.

Ruane said he believed he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in his right leg during the game, then he congratulated Taylor, who is one of Ruane’s students at Gateway.

Ruane then asked Taylor why he hit P-T quarterback Gabe Dunlap so hard on the first play of the game? Taylor smiled and apologized.

Ruane then joked with Taylor about him teaching class this week, and Taylor said he could.

Glad to be back

Belle Vernon senior quarterback Jared Hartman tweeted prior to Friday’s game at Ambridge that was he was excited to be back after suffering a season-ending knee injury last season.

The Leopards rolled over Ambridge, 58-0, and Hartman threw for 105 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

Next up for Belle Vernon is a key Class 4A Big Eight Conference game Sept. 6 against Thomas Jefferson.

Big performances

There were some big performances Friday by Westmoreland County players.

Ligonier Valley senior Kyrie Miller scored four times and rushed for 220 yards against Penns Manor. He has eight touchdowns and 402 rushing yards through two games.

The Rams have won 30 consecutive Heritage Conference games.

• In the battle of Vikings, Mt. Pleasant outscored Hopewell, 48-24, behind four touchdowns and 124 rushing yards from Jake Johnson. Nick Loughner addd 114 rushing yards.

Johnson has three rushing and two receiving touchdowns this season.

• It was Justin Huss time at Derry. The senior rushed for 261 yards and four touchdowns.

• Southmoreland senior Riley Comforti is off to a good start with 12 catches for 259 yards. He had eight catches for 180 yards against Frazier and scored three times, including 90-yard kickoff return.

Working overtime

Greensburg Salem worked overtime to pick up its first victory of the season.

Senior quarterback Trent Patrick scored twice, and the Golden Lions won at Trinity, 19-13, in the Class 4A Big Eight Conference opener.

It was victory No. 695 for the program.

Waldier out

Yough received bad news Thursday when MRI results revealed sophomore quarterback Tristan Waldier tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee.

Waldier is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Junior Gamal Marballie started under center Friday night when Yough defeated Uniontown, 25-0.

The injury occurred in last week’s 9-0 loss at Serra Catholic. Waldier, a first-year starter at quarterback and a dependable tackler at safety, was 6 of 11 for 41 yards and rushed for 32 yards in his debut.

He made 13 tackles, four of which sent Serra Catholic ball-carriers backward.

“The team is embracing it,” Yough coach Scott Wood said. “It’s not deflating to them — next-man-up mentality. Not a motivator I wanted to see, but the kids are using it.”

The beach recognized

MaxPreps captured bird’s-eye views of what it calls “10 amazing high school football turf fields,” and a local venue made the list. Belle Vernon’s James Weir Stadium, known for its gold-colored turf — they call it “The Beach” — is among a series of unique fields.

The turn away from traditional green grass has caught on around the country. Schools like Escalante in Tierra Amarilla, N.M. has red turf. The Claremore (Okla.) Zebras have a zebra pattern in their end zones, while Alden (N.Y.), Harrison Central (Ohio) and Barrow (Ark.) can show off two-toned fields painted with their school colors.

One of the more eye-catching designs is Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane, Utah. The Diamondbacks feature a diamond pattern between the hash marks from end zone to end zone, and a snake head at midfield.

Belle Vernon is 20-2 at “The Weir” since the stadium introduced the gold turf in 2015.

That includes a 3-0 mark in the WPIAL playoffs.

The top 10 is:

Belle Vernon

Bolingbrock (Ill.)

Somerset (Ky.)

Escalante (Tierra Amarilla, N.M.)

Claremore (Okla.)

Alden (N.Y.)

Harrison Central (Cadiz, Ohio)

Cherokee (N.C.)

Barrow (Ark.)

Diamond Ranch Academy (Hurricane, Utah)

Latrobe video goes viral

It seemed like a fun, yet unassuming moment at the end of a recent Latrobe football practice.

It turned into a viral video.

Teams have done the drill before, but now more might want to try it: Punt the ball to a lineman. If he catches it, there is no rigorous conditioning that day.

For Latrobe, junior two-way tackle Isaac Landry was back deep and junior Logan Gustafson booted a beauty to him, high and true, end-over-end.

Landry caught the kick in stride and immediately set off a roar of cheers from his teammates, who ran into the field to close out the day.

Linemen often carry the burden of getting light attention for doing the heavy lifting but this was a zero-to-hero story in a few seconds.

The Twitter account Lineman Probs (@@linemanissues), which has more than 75,000 followers, picked up the video and it picked up steam from there.

As of Friday afternoon, it had more than 10,000 views. Landan Carns, a junior player who is injured, was the one filming.

“It was pretty cool to see our team come together and rally around Isaac like that,” Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said. “But I believe that was a wager our coaches made with the team to get out of conditioning.”

Coming attractions

Belle Vernon (1-0, 1-0) at Thomas Jefferson (2-0, 1-0)

7 p.m. Friday, Jaguar Stadium, Pleasant Hills

The Big Eight Conference battle between the No. 1 Jaguars and No. 3 Leopards should be a thriller. It might not be the only time these teams meet his season in Class 4A.

United (0-2, 0-2) at Ligonier Valley (2-0, 2-0)

1 p.m. Saturday, Laurel Valley, New Florence

This is a throwback game as Armagh (United) tangles with New Florence (Ligonier Valley) to celebrate New Florence’s 150-year anniversary. The teams will be wearing throwback uniforms, Armagh will be in red and New Florence in blue.

Tweet of the Day

AND THATS A FINAL!! In a THRILLER 19-13 WINNER!! 1-0 for the Golden Lions in the conference! Onto Mars for an exhibition next week! pic.twitter.com/9NvNrrlfve

— GbgSalemAthletics(@GS_SportsUpdate) August 31, 2019

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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