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Monessen airs it out in key win over Bishop Canevin

| Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 11:18 p.m.

Bishop Canevin went into its showdown with Monessen as one of the dominant defensive forces in Class A. The Crusaders left with their first loss after being gashed by the Greyhounds through the air in a matchup of top-five teams in the Black Hills Conference.

Chavas Rawlins threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 5 Monessen knocked off No. 2 Bishop Canevin, 28-21.

“Bishop Canevin is a very good team,” Rawlins said. “They put a beating on us at first when we were running the ball, but we were able to make some plays through the air and get some touchdowns.”

Junior receiver/running back Clintell Gillaspie added 168 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

Monessen (4-1) benefited from Crusader misfires in the first quarter. The Greyhounds recovered the opening kickoff at midfield on a failed onside attempt, and a fumble by the Crusaders (4-1) in Monessen territory led to two early Rawlins touchdown throws.

Bishop Canevin senior quarterback Nico DiPaolo found senior Matt DeCello to cut the deficit to six, but Rawlins found Gillaspie late in the first to push the lead to 21-8.

The Crusaders came out of halftime and went on a six-play, 74-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 22-yard touchdown reception by Mike Tambellini.

Just over two minutes later, DiPaolo connected with Tyler Reddy on a 57-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 21.

The Crusaders defense came up big in the third quarter, sacking Rawlins four times.

“I thought we had the momentum in the second quarter,” Bishop Canevin coach Bob Jacoby said. “We just couldn't score. We really thought at halftime we had some momentum and we could hold them scoreless in the second half.”

The Greyhounds started the fourth quarter with a five-play touchdown drive that was capped by a Gillaspie 11-yard touchdown run after Rawlins returned a punt into Crusader territory.

With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Rawlins had his biggest run of the night when he ran for 12 yards on a third-and-5 to drain time off the clock.

On the final Crusaders drive, a miscommunication led to the snap flying over DiPaolo's head, pinning them deep and sealing the game.

The game was a rebound for the Greyhounds who lost to top-ranked Clairton, 52-7, last week.

“We preach that we have to have a short memory,” Rawlins said. “It is really good to bounce back against a top team in the WPIAL.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com

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