Westmoreland H.S. football notebook: Hempfield putting up points in a hurry

Saturday, September 3, 2022 | 5:43 PM

Look down, and you might miss a play. Go to the concession stand, and you might miss a whole drive — maybe two.

Hempfield is playing turbo-fast with its no-huddle spread offense, a product of offensive coordinator Ryan Reitz, who began to install the system last year and is seeing its possibilities take form.

The Spartans barely gave Greensburg Salem and Connellsville time to reset at the line of scrimmage in a pair of wins to start the season.

Hempfield clubbed Greensburg Salem, 49-3, doing all of its scoring in the first half, then defeated Connellsville, 49-0, on Friday night to move to 2-0 in its first season in Class 5A.

Deciding to run a no-huddle formation requires more than football IQ. Spartans quarterback Jake Phillips, who has thrown for 449 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 119 yards and two scores so far this season, said teams must have the athletes to run the hectic system.

Once everyone gets on the same page, at the same pace, and the offense works into a nice lather, watch the Spartans go.

Running back Gino Caesar has rushed for 252 yards and seven touchdowns on 28 carries.

“Our team has been conditioning all summer to be able to execute this offense,” Phillips said. “Our coaching staff has got us accustomed to practicing faster and harder than a game ever will be, so Friday night is easy. What really drives this offense is our line. There’s no other line in the WPIAL that can get to the ball, get set and fire off the way ours can.”

Hempfield had 514 yards of offense Friday. The Spartans have allowed the fewest points in the WPIAL through two weeks (3).

Revealing respect

One of late assistant coach Ron Frederick’s favorite things to do during a game week was to post Southmoreland’s uniform combinations for games.

Frederick, who died of a heart attack in February — a day after he was named the lead candidate to become head coach — did a weekly uniform reveal via social media.

The Scotties have continued his tradition, displaying uniforms on Twitter the past two weeks. Assistant Jordan Pawlikowsky is handling the Southmoreland football Twitter handle.

Southmoreland honored Frederick at its home opener Friday.

His three children joined the Scotties and visiting Ligonier Valley for the pregame coin toss.

There was a moment of silence before kickoff.

Top performers

Robby Fulton has been a welcome addition to the Latrobe backfield, and he shined again Friday in a 36-33 overtime win against Franklin Regional.

The Central Catholic transfer ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries. He scored on runs of 92 and 73 yards.

Last week, he rushed for 209 yards, all in the first half, in a 55-0 win at Derry.

Fulton has 460 yards and nine touchdowns in two games.

Latrobe hasn’t started 2-0 since 2011.

Mt. Pleasant running back Robbie Labuda ran for 243 yards and three TDs in a 35-7 win over Yough.

• Haden Sierocky of Ligonier Valley scored three touchdowns three ways: on a 19-yard rush, 9-yard pass and 84-yard kickoff return in a 27-18 win over Southmoreland.

• Cody Rubrecht of Greensburg Salem completed 9 of 15 passes for 157 yards in a 26-17 win over Derry. He also ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns on 14 attempts.

• Ahmad Ward ran for 154 yards and a score for Derry.

Home alone

Penn-Trafford did something Friday night it rarely does: lose at home.

The Warriors’ 19-7 setback to McKeesport was just the team’s third home defeat since 2013.

The Warriors are 47-3 at Warrior Stadium since then.

Looking ahead

Week 3 will offer some intriguing matchups, with Hempfield (2-0) at Latrobe (2-0) and Belle Vernon (1-0) at McKeesport (2-0) at the top of the list.

Don’t undersell Woodland Hills (1-1) at Penn-Trafford (1-1), either.

While these games are nonconference and early in the season, they could have a playoff feel.

Hempfield and Latrobe make for a natural rivalry and will bring fans. Memorial Stadium will have the feel of the Steelers’ Friday Night Lights practice during training camp.

The fact both teams are playing well also doesn’t hurt.

McKeesport (Class 4A No. 3) and Belle Vernon (3A No. 1) used to be conference opponents before Belle Vernon dropped to Class 3A.

The same goes for Penn-Trafford and Woodland Hills.

McKeesport’s Bobbie Boyd and Quinton Martin of Belle Vernon are a pair of Division I prospects. Boyd had 150 yards rushing and three touchdowns and also intercepted three passes in a 19-7 win at 5A No. 2 Penn-Trafford Friday.

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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