Westmoreland high school football notebook: Latrobe holds its own

Saturday, September 26, 2020 | 6:35 PM

It was a nonconference game that probably won’t get much attention, but it had plenty of fireworks, nonetheless.

The bold-faced headline?

Underdog Latrobe went score-for-score with a ranked opponent in a Class 5A shootout.

The Wildcats fell to No. 5 Upper St. Clair on Friday at Memorial Stadium, 52-45. They trailed the Panthers at the half 29-23 and erupted for 22 fourth-quarter points.

Latrobe quarterback Landan Carns completed 20 of 35 passes for a career-high 384 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. The Wildcats had two 100-yard receivers in Tucker Knupp (seven receptions, 125 yards, two TDs) and Dylan Gustafson (three for 136, two TDs).

USC rolled up 560 yards to Latrobe’s 550. The Panthers ran for 442 yards.

There were 50 first downs, and Latrobe never punted (one attempt went awry).

“I was proud of our resilience the entire 48 minutes,” Latrobe coach Jason Marucco said. “We played hard and battled the entire game, but in the end, USC made a few more plays than we did.”

Upper St. Clair had three 100-yard rushers — Jamaal Brown (5 carries,155 yards, 3 TDs), Ethan Dahlem (15-147) and Ethan Hiester (18-138, 3 TDs).

Gustafson caught scoring throws of 52 and 49 yards.

Each team also kicked a field goal, including a 38-yarder by Latrobe’s John McHenry.

Who’s next?

Latrobe suddenly is looking for an opponent for next week after Gateway had to shut down activities because of a covid-19 issue.

Two Gateway students tested positive for covid-19, forcing the school to close down for five days. As a result, this past Friday night’s Gateway vs. Pine-Richland nonconference game was canceled.

Latrobe is already sensing desperation with its next game less than six days away.

“It is going to be difficult but we are trying,” Marucco said.

Marucco said he does not see a spot on the schedule to shoehorn a make-up date.

P-T rebounds

After turning the ball over seven times, including four interceptions, against Peters Township two Fridays ago, Penn-Trafford needed a bounce-back game.

The Warriors got one, with flying colors.

They returned to form quite handily this week, trouncing Shaler, 56-0, at Warrior Stadium in a nonconference game.

A big-play offense rolled up 454 yards, including 307 rushing, and the Warriors did not turn the ball over.

Shaler is far from No. 3 Peters Township, but a cleaner and crisper effort has the Warriors (2-1, 1-0) feeling better about themselves heading into next week’s showdown with Woodland Hills (3-0, 1-0).

“I would say the bad taste got out of our mouth after our film session last Saturday,” Warriors quarterback Ethan Carr said. “The only thing we could do was look forward after that and prepare for Shaler, which I thought we did pretty well.”

Carr was 7 of 7 for 149 yards and two touchdowns for Penn-Trafford, which scored 35 points in the first quarter.

Cade Yacamelli scored four touchdowns — on a 89-yard kickoff return and on rushes of 20, 43 and 3 yards.

Brad Ford (55 yards) and Jack Jollie (27) caught scoring throws.

Ruffner returns

Mt. Pleasant had a familiar face in the press box Friday night at Southmoreland. It was former head coach Bo Ruffner, who rejoined the Vikings coaching staff last week as an assistant — as a favor to head coach Jason Fazekas.

“We had a coach leave for personal reasons, and I knew exactly who to call,” said Fazekas, who used to be an assistant under Ruffner, who resigned in 2016 after nine seasons. “Who better for the job?”

Ruffner went 66-29 and led the Vikings to eight consecutive playoff appearances and two conference titles.

He is working with quarterbacks this season.

“I worked with him a few times before, and he has been a huge help,” said Mt. Pleasant senior quarterback Asher O’Connor, who ran for a touchdown and threw for another in Friday’s 13-10 win at Southmoreland. “He taught me some new things that have really helped me out.”

Mt. Pleasant beat the Scotties for the 38th time in 46 meetings but for the first time since 2017. That year’s final was a far cry from the most recent result — 64-21.

The 13 points was the lowest total for the winning team in the series since Mt. Pleasant won 12-10 in 1991. Southmoreland won two years ago 18-14.

GCC tripped again

With a shorter season and only the top two teams teams and two wild-cards advancing to the playoffs in Class A, Greensburg Central Catholic may have some work to do.

The Centurions, who already had lost to Leechburg, 55-27, were on the wrong end of a 14-12 result Friday at home against Bishop Canevin.

They began the season ranked No. 3 in Class A.

That puts the Centurions (1-2, 1-2) in a precarious spot — tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with Leechburg — with four games left.

Unbeaten Springdale (3-0, 3-0) visits Carbon in Week 4, and GCC plays the two conference heavyweights in back-to-back weeks to end the regular season in Clairton and Jeannette.

GCC has been without sophomore standout Amari Mack, who could miss up to four weeks with a thumb injury. He was injured in the Imani Christian game.

Waldier hurt

Yough junior quarterback Tristan Waldier was helped off the field early during Friday’s 41-9 loss to South Allegheny. He had an apparent right knee injury. He suffered the injury in the first quarter, then came back before he went down again in the second half.

Waldier, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, saw a doctor Saturday. Yough coach Chris Chunko said the injury is not season-ending and lists Waldier as week-to-week.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Tags: , , ,

More Football

Trib HSSN’s Week 8 top performers for passing, rushing, receiving
High school scores, summaries and schedules for Oct. 30, 2020
WPIAL playoffs roundup: No. 1 Aliquippa blanks Hampton in opening round
Clairton’s Dontae Sanders racks up 428 rushing yards in Class A win over OLSH
Serra Catholic keeps its strange season alive, beats McGuffey in 1st-round game

click me