West Greene stymies Leechburg early, cruises to victory
Leechburg mustered only 142 yards of total offense, 102 coming in the second half, as the Blue Devils dropped a 47-14 decision against West Greene on Friday.
“Overall, give credit to West Greene, No. 1 because they executed very well on both sides of the ball,” Leechburg coach Mark George said. “We did not execute very well in the first half, and they did nothing but take it to us.”
The nonconference game acted as a tune-up for the Pioneers, the fourth-place team in the Class A Tri-County South Conference and are looking for a rare WPIAL playoff berth. Leechburg was in eighth place in the Class A Eastern Conference going into the game.
“It's a statement of their fortitude,” West Greene coach Rod Huffman said. “We put them through the mill after the Fort Cherry loss (last Friday). They didn't play well. … The coaches and everyone put in extra time this week, and it paid off.”
The game was all West Greene (5-2, 3-2) from the start. After a Zach Pettit 5-yard touchdown run six minutes into the first quarter, Leechburg (0-7, 0-5) fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and West Greene recovered.
Nathan Brudnock capped the next drive with a 22-yard touchdown run as the Pioneers jumped to an early 14-0 lead.
Following a three-and-out by the Blue Devils, West Greene finished off an 86-yard drive with a Pettit 1-yard quarterback keeper to put the score at 20-0.
Leechburg pushed down the field, with a 9-play drive into the Pioneers red zone but was unable to convert a fourth-down pass. The Pioneers capitalized, as Pettit recorded his third rushing score of the half to make it 28-0 at halftime.
The Pioneers kept rolling, scoring twice before the end of the third quarter to go up 41-0.
Leechburg finally broke its scoreless drought early in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a West Greene fumble deep in its own territory. Sean Mason scored on a 6-yard run for the Blue Devils' first points.
Following another West Greene touchdown, freshman Dylan Cook scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to complete the scoring.
Ben Jackson led the Pioneers with 245 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns, and Pettit had three rushing touchdowns and a passing score.
Despite only throwing for 54 yards, George said he saw a lot of positives from Cook.
“I think he's improved from the beginning of the season tremendously,” George said. “That's a positive for this team and the future.”
Leechburg faces Clairton next week, and West Greene takes on Monessen.
“We have to press on. We don't want to coast in,” Huffman said. “We want to carry this into the playoffs if indeed that's where we're headed, and I think it is. We want to go into the playoffs with our heads high, playing hard and playing fast and downhill.”
Tyler Godwin is a freelance writer.