Westmoreland high school football notebook: GCC works RPO to perfection

Saturday, October 1, 2022 | 3:47 PM

The run-pass option can be effective, but it relies on timing between the quarterback and his running backs and receivers and blocking schemes that clear space to allow for a clean exchange or throw.

Greensburg Central Catholic quarterback Tyree Turner made several “RPOs” work to perfection in the Centurions’ 34-18 victory Friday night over No. 3 Clairton, their first win over their Class A Eastern Conference foes in 20 years.

Clairton had won 21 straight conference games.

“That’s what makes him so good,” GCC coach Marko Thomas said of Turner. “To make it work, you have to sell the fake, and that is what he does well. That is what we worked on all week at practice.”

Turner hit Amari Mack for a 59-yard touchdown on GCC’s opening play, but the highlight that really had the vaunted Bears on their heels was an 81-yard strike — Turner to Jaydin Canady — that made it 20-12 with 10 minutes, 24 seconds to play in the second quarter.

Turner faked on both, and the Bears bit.

“That is our 369 Virginia play,” Canady said. “I noticed there was only one safety. I knew once I got past the line, I was gone. Tyree made the throw. He did what he does best.”

Canady also had a rushing touchdown and intercepted a pass for GCC (4-2, 2-0).

“Our linebackers stepped up and stopped the run,” Canady said. “We wanted to lock down and make them throw.”

And that led to interceptions by Canady, Samir Crosby and Amari Mack.

Turner was 10 of 14 for 246 yards and two scores.

Da’sjon Craggette ran for two touchdowns.

“I remember (57-18) my freshman year, and that hurt,” Turner said of one of GCC’s eight straight losses to the Bears before Friday’s upset. “To feel this now, it’s like a shift, something different.”

Said Canady: “We have to keep pushing forward. We still have work to do.”

Greyhounds on the run

Monessen coach Wade Brown said Friday night that his team is “hitting the ground running.”

And nobody has been able to stop the Greyhounds (4-2, 2-0 Class A Tri-County South) of late. They dismantled West Greene on Friday, 62-25, as Daevon Burke and Tyvaughn Kershaw combined for 445 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

The one-two punch was as impressive as it was dominant.

Burke ran for 233 yards and two TDs and scored on a 77-yard kick return. Kershaw had 212 yards and four TDs.

All of that on 21 carries, 12 by Kershaw.

Monessen, which had more than 500 yards of offense, has as many wins this year as it had the last two years combined.

The Greyhounds also have more points (209) in four games than they had in 11 (157) last season.

Twice as nice

A few teams produced a pair of 100-yard rushers Friday.

Aside from Monessen’s Burke (233 yards) and Kershaw (212), other double 100-yard rushers were: Latrobe’s John Wetzel (129) and Robby Fulton (122), John Jablunovsky (155) and Haden Sierocky (127) of Ligonier Valley, Robbie Labuda (120) and Lane Golkosky (119) of Mt. Pleasant and Cody Rubrecht (143) and Kai Brunot (107) of Greensburg Salem. Rubrecht also threw for 172 yards.

Panthers in first

Franklin Regional (3-2, 2-0) is alone in first place in the 5A Big East Conference after it rallied to defeat neighboring Plum, 31-28.

The Panthers trailed 21-7 at halftime.

Quarterback Roman Sarnic, the homecoming king, was 9 of 14 for 161 yards, and wideout Ayden Hudock had five catches for 136 yards and a score.

Just passing through

Jeannette had some out-of-town guests at practice Thursday.

Jeannette alum Damon Bodnar coaches wide receivers at Middletown High School, the reigning Class 3A state champion in Delaware.

Middletown was making a long trek to play national power Massillon, Ohio, and stopped at Jeannette for a walk-through workout.

Middletown has won eight state championships in the Delaware Interscholastic League.

Mic drop

Mt. Pleasant recognized public address announcer Phil Porterfield on Friday during its homecoming game against Greensburg Salem.

Porterfield has been announcing in the booth for 50 years, starting with his junior year of high school when the Vikings played at Hurst Field in 1973.

Extra points

Norwin has been shut out in back-to-back weeks: 25-0 against Woodland Hills and 28-0 to Penn-Trafford. … Mt. Pleasant scored three touchdowns in less than a minute in its 45-28 win over Greensburg Salem. … Burrell’s Devin Beattie was the WPIAL’s top rusher Friday night. He ran for 298 yards in the Bucs’ 41-30 win over Imani Christian. Beattie ran 33 times and tied Burrell’s school record of six touchdowns in a game set by Cole Bush in 2012.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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