Yough offensive stars sting Chartiers-Houston, give coach first win

Friday, September 11, 2020 | 11:16 PM

Yough successfully defended Cougar Mountain on Friday night thanks in part to the right arm of Tristan Waldier, the legs of Gamal Marballie and the hands of CJ Waldier.

The Cougars’ three-headed monster led the way in a convincing 29-6 nonconference victory over Class 2A Chartiers-Houston in the team’s season opener on its home turf.

Tristan Waldier tossed three touchdowns, including a pair to his older brother CJ, while Marballie was seemingly untouchable out of the Cougars backfield, racking up 256 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.

“The boys stayed with the game plan and they never quit,” said first-year Yough coach Chris Chunko, who earned his first head coaching victory. “They did a really great job tonight.”

The play of Yough’s offensive line was key as well.

Sam Dippolito, Glenn Christner, Austin Caudill, Connor Thornton, Tanner Jarmon and Dustin Fitzgibbons were lauded for their performance up front. Fitzgibbons took over on the line after Jarmon went down with an injury in the first half.

“Tristan, CJ and Gamal did great tonight, but those three gave credit after this one to that O-line,” Chunko said. “They controlled the line of scrimmage, they opened up huge holes, and they gave Tristan great protection.”

Yough (1-0) took a 14-0 lead into halftime after scoring a touchdown in each of the first two quarters.

Tristan Waldier, who played in his first game since Week Zero last year when he suffered a season-ending knee injury, connected on a 19-yard touchdown pass to JJ Waller in the opening frame. In the second, he found his brother for a 28-yard score.

CJ Waldier, the reigning WPIAL receptions leader, added a 13-yard TD reception in the third quarter. He finished with five catches for 59 yards.

Tristan Waldier completed 6 of 13 passes for 78 yards. The junior also added 33 rushing yards.

“He has a good grasp of the offense,” Chunko said of his young QB. “He can roll out of the pocket and he can make the plays last longer so guys can get open. He has great command under center.”

Marballie opened up the second half with perhaps one of the biggest plays of the night as he broke away for a 54-yard gain on the first play. He rushed out to his right, cut through the middle and used a stiff arm to gain some separation on his way to the opponents’ 15 yard line.

Marballie capped off the drive with a 1-yard scamper that pushed Yough’s lead to three possessions.

“He puts that inside foot down and he just goes. He’s a great runner and he’s tough,” Chunko said. “In a shortened season, he could be a 1,000-yard rusher. This was just a sign of what he can do.”

While Chartiers-Houston (0-1) struggled to get things going on offense, finishing with just 135 total yards to Yough’s 422, the Bucs did avoid the shutout in the third quarter.

On the first play of Yough’s second possession, Nathan Cavallo stepped in front of a Tristan Waldier pass and took it 41 yards to the house.

“They didn’t quit and they played hard,” Chartiers-Houston coach Terry Fetsko said. “We played a good football team that could run the football. I wasn’t disappointed in the effort at all. We’re young, but that’s not an excuse. We have to execute better offensively and defensively.

“To their credit, they controlled the football, and when you can control the football and you can run the football, you’re going to win most games.”

Jimmy Sadler served as the Bucs top rusher and receiver, finishing with 58 rushing yards on five carries along with 50 receiving yards on a pair of receptions.

Chartiers-Houston opens up Century Conference play next week against Beth-Center, while Yough plays in its Interstate Conference opener with South Park.

“This is going to give us great confidence going into conference play. We have some momentum going in having had a good scrimmage last week and now this win,” Chunko said. “They’re believing in themselves, they’re believing in the offense and defense, and they’re believing in what we’re preaching. The sky is the limit.”

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