Westmoreland high school football notebook: Rare home loss for Ligonier Valley

Saturday, September 10, 2022 | 4:21 PM

Ligonier Valley does not lose at Weller Field, its home football venue, very often.

That made Greensburg Salem’s 35-28 win there Friday that much more impressive.

Not counting a forfeit loss to Serra Catholic last year, the Rams (2-1) had won 32 straight on their home field over a seven-year span.

They had not been beaten at Weller since Central Martinsburg won 35-13 in 2015.

“I didn’t want to jinx it (before the game). That’s a long and impressive run,” longtime Rams coach Roger Beitel said. “We have a lot of alums that never lost a game on that field.”

The Rams hosted two playoff games each season from 2016-19 in District 6 before joining the WPIAL in 2020.

Greensburg Salem (2-1), meantime, made it two wins in a row to move to 2-1.

Cody Rubrecht, playing quarterback after leading the WPIAL in receiving last regular season, ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns, passed for 140 yards and a score and returned an interception 90 yards for another TD.

“Rubrecht is a very impressive athlete,” Beitel said. “He’s a game changer.”

Keegan Young and Kai Brunot had interceptions for the Golden Lions.

Ligonier Valley did have two 100-yard rushers — John Jablunovsky (165) and Haden Sierocky (160) — but also had an uncharacteristic five turnovers in the loss.

The Rams kept another Weller Field streak intact by beating Springdale earlier this season to run their home-opener win streak to 18.

Hempfield making noise

There are four undefeated teams in WPIAL Class 5A: Gateway, Upper St. Clair, Peters Township and … Hempfield?

The Spartans thumped Latrobe, 49-14, on Friday to move to 3-0 for the first time since 2016.

They have scored 49 points in each game.

Gino Caesar rushed for 131 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries, but the Spartans were balanced with Jake Phillips throwing for 261 yards and two scores. Wideout Ian Tuffs had seven catches for 137 yards and a TD.

According to school officials, Hempfield has not started 4-0 since 1971.

The Spartans had undefeated regular seasons in 1958, 1962 and 1966. The team won 140 games between 1961-71.

Roll Vikes

Mt. Pleasant spoiled former coach Ed Dalton’s return to the township with a 50-28 victory over McGuffey at Vikings Stadium.

Dalton coached Mt. Pleasant in 1992-93. He went 11-1 with a Keystone Conference title in ‘93.

The Vikings converted three turnovers — two fumbles and an interception — into points, all in the second half, to move to 2-1.

They also forced a safety.

Robbie Labuda not only rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns but also kicked six extra points.

Lane Golkosky also had a 100-yard rushing game with 151.

Tyler Reese, who played quarterback last season, had four receptions for 133 yards and a 63-yard scoring catch from Cole Chatfield, who threw for 167 yards on six completions.

Heartbreaker for Jayhawks

Jeannette looked like it was headed for its first win of the season and its first under new coach Thomas Paulone, but Jefferson-Morgan spoiled the fun with a 27-26 win in overtime.

Special teams play continued to hinder Jeannette (0-3), which scored in the fourth quarter to tie it at 20-20 but missed the extra point and the game went to overtime.

The Jayhawks scored first in the extra frame but had the extra point blocked by Jace Bedillion.

Jefferson-Morgan’s Cole Jones then connected with Bedillion for a touchdown on 4th-and-15, and Jones added the extra point for a dramatic 27-26 Rockets win at Parker Field.

Peyton Molter ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns for the Jayhawks in the loss. Noah Sanders had six catches for 127 yards and intercepted two passes.

Stars held in check

Two of the area’s top performers through two weeks of the season were limited in Week 2.

McKeesport, and standout Bobbie Boyd, kept Belle Vernon standout junior Quinton Martin out of the end zone in a 14-6 victory over the Leopards.

Hempfield, meantime, moved to 3-0 with a 49-14 win over Latrobe in which the Spartans held WPIAL rushing leader Robby Fulton to 43 yards.

Fulton had 470 in his first two starts.

Boyd has been one of the WPIAL’s biggest news-makers so far. After two interceptions, 149 yards rushing and three interceptions against Penn-Trafford, he ran for 164 yards and a touchdown and picked off two passes including one he returned 55 yards for a score.

Warriors rebound

Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said his team got its confidence back after a thorough, 49-14 win over Woodland Hills.

The Warriors (2-1), aiming for more offensive balance, piled up 371 yards: 212 rushing and 159 passing.

Senior quarterback Conlan Greene connected with five receivers, including Daniel Tarabrella, who had three catches for 106 yards and a 34-yard touchdown.

Greene was 7 of 10 for 115 yards.

The Class 5A No. 4 Warriors were much sharper after some drops in last week’s 19-7 loss to McKeesport.

“We have a ton of depth at wide receiver,” Greene said. “I know I can keep going to back to (Tarabrella), and he is going to make the play.”

FR strong

Franklin Regional continued its dominance of Connellsville. The Panthers won 49-0 and have outscored the Falcons, 76-0, in their last two meetings.

On Friday, Zach Bewszka ran for 189 yards and a touchdown, Roman Sarnic had 102 yards and two TDs on the ground and Ayden Hudock caught four passes for 91 yards and two scores.

New QB for Norwin

Norwin started the season with senior Nick Urey at quarterback and has been playing freshman Tristan Tavares at the position.

On Friday, Tavares went 8 for 20 for 168 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jackson Pons (41, 34 yards) as Norwin defeated Fox Chapel, 27-13. The first score came on a Hail Mary pass as time expired in the first half.

Liam O’Brien had a pick-6 score in the win for the Knights (1-2).

Looking ahead

Conference play starts for eight local teams next week. Notable matchups include Plum at Norwin (5A Big East), Gateway at Franklin Regional (5A Big East), Latrobe at Thomas Jefferson (4A Big Seven), Ligonier Valley at Apollo-Ridge (2A Allegheny), and Derry at Yough (2A Allegheny).

A few nonconference games also have curb appeal with Penn-Trafford at Belle Vernon, Hempfield at Shaler, Greensburg Central Catholic at Washington and Mt. Pleasant at Valley.

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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