Wilkinsburg surges past Wolves
West Shamokin looked across Jack E. Boyer Field Friday night at Wilkinsburg, a program as familiar with frustrating times as the Wolves.
Neither team avoided disappointing moments. But the Tigers toughed out the final quarter, and West Shamokin unraveled.
Wilkinsburg (1-5, 1-5) scored 20 points in a three-minute span midway through the fourth quarter to pull away from host West Shamokin (1-5, 1-5) and win the Eastern Conference contest, 27-6. The Tigers kept West Shamokin off the scoreboard until the final minute of the game.
“We were in the game, and the kids were fighting hard back and forth,” West Shamokin coach Josh Gilliland said. “A tip of the hat to the Wilkinsburg coach for making adjustments at halftime. … I think it just came to the point where somebody had to step up and make a play.”
Wilkinsburg managed just 4 yards rushing, 14 yards passing and no first downs in the first half.
West Shamokin, meanwhile, headed to the locker room after a scoreless first half in which it missed several golden opportunities.
The Wolves' Andrew Wingard recovered a fumble on Wilkinsburg's first play from scrimmage, but they turned the ball over on downs inside the Tigers' 35-yard line.
A holding penalty negated a 45-yard touchdown pass from Alex Lasslo to Brady Cornman midway through the second quarter.
Immediately following that possession, Lasslo intercepted a pass at Wilkinsburg's 41. The Wolves drove into the red zone, but a fumbled snap forced Lasslo to fall on the ball on fourth-and-8 at Wilkinsburg's 15.
Then, a 25-yard field goal attempt by Lasslo sailed just wide as time expired in the first half.
“We played so well in that first half,” Wolves lineman Austin Bussard said. “We just needed that in the second.”
In the third quarter, Wilkinsburg quarterback Ryan Cox ran 49 yards to set up his own short touchdown run.
“They bit on the (dive),” said Cox, who finished with a team-high 64 yards on four carries and also threw for 14 yards. “We deserved to win. We didn't come this far for nothing.”
A 33-yard interception return by Don Roberts put the Tigers ahead, 21-0.
“We were in three games so far this season, and we were so close,” said Wilkinsburg coach Mike Fulmore, whose team lost by 15 points or fewer to Leechburg, Springdale and Riverview. “We finally put it together tonight.”
Lasslo connected with Andrew Wingard for a 20-yard touchdown with 55 seconds left in the game, so West Shamokin avoided its first shutout of the season. Lasslo finished with eight completions on 22 attempts for 124 yards.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303.