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Southmoreland captures 1st win

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:30 p.m.
Independent-Observer
Dakota Datz crosses the end zone for a touchdown in Friday, September 28, 2012 game against Waynesburg. Kelly Vernon | Independent-Observer

Before the Southmoreland and Waynesburg football teams hooked up last Friday night for a pivotal Class AA Interstate Conference battle for both squads, Scottie coach Dominic Pecora decided that maybe a change of venue could jump start his squad.

It worked to perfection as the Scotties rolled to a 37-13 win over Waynesburg for their first victory of the season in a game played in perfect conditions and under the watchful eye of a brightly visible full moon.

The Scotties (1-3, 1-4) hit the field and headed for the sidelines usually occupied by their opponents during home games.

Southmoreland then won the coin flip, took the ball, and came out with a no-huddle offense that caught Waynesburg and the officials off guard.

Although their first drive was halted at the Waynesburg 22, the Scotties realized their running game could be sucessful against the Raiders and their four-four defense.

Dakota Datz rushed for a game-high 223 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns, and Jake Pisula chipped in with 144 yards and two scores as the Scotties finally put one in the win column for the first time this season.

Southmoreland took a 3-0 lead with 18.7 seconds left in the first quarter when Jacob Hixson's 25-yard field goal attempt slid inside the right goalpost.

The Raiders then coughed the ball up at their own 28, and Datz wasted little time in going for the kill. Datz, who was 4 for 8 for 106 yards through the air, nailed Aaron Bailey with a 25-yard strike to the Waynesburg 3, and then carried it in himself on the next play to open the Southmoreland lead to 10-0. But the Scotties weren't finished.

On their next possession, Datz and Tyler Livengood hooked up on a 25-yard pass play to the Waynesburg 12. With the Scotties facing a fourth and 1 from the three, Datz called his own number and went in from three yards out, putting the Scots up 17-0 with 2:39 left before the half.

Waynesburg got on the board just before halftime when Colby Collins found Hunter Cenname at the three-yard line, and the Raider sophomore wideout would not be denied as he broke one tackle at the two, and then bulldozed a Scottie defender into the endzone cutting the lead to 17-7 at the half.

With the running game hitting on all cylinders, the Scotties marched the ball 67 yards in nine plays during their first posession of the second half to up the score to 23-7. Pisula swept right and somehow managed to get the ball inside the end-zone pilon before being driven out of bounds with 6:20 left in the third.

Southmoreland, which committed 11 penalties for 135 yards in the contest, had two touchdowns wiped out by holding penalties during the drive.

JJ Gavin, who has been a very nice surprise on special teams for the Scotties this season, delivered the first of his two big hits to Waynesburg return man Will Ziefel on the ensuing kickoff, and the Scottie defense came to life with some thunderous hits of their own on Waynesburg's next posession. Waynesburg drove the ball to the Southmoreland 23, but Chas King fell on one of the four fumbles coughed up by the Raiders killing the drive and any hope that Waynesburg had left.

Datz added his third rushing touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter to put the Scotties up 30-7, and Pisula finished the scoring when he went into the end zone from two yards out with 38 seconds left in the game.

For Southmoreland, which rushed for 380 yards in the game, the offensive line was outstanding.

The Scotties started two freshmen, two sopohomores and one senior on the line. Coaches in the booth gave much of the Scotties' offefnsive credit to Doug Leighty, Jake McNeice, Jake Beistel, Joe Espey, and Jordan Polakovsky for opening big holes for the Scotties running backs, and for staying on their blocks until the whistle sounded.

On defense, the Scots were lead by Beistel, who recorded eight unassisted tackles.

Livengood, Chas King, McNeice, and Brady King were credited with fumble recoveries, while Datz, Chas King, and McNeice all recorded sacks.

Mark King is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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