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GCC escapes Yough

| Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, 10:44 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic running back Zach Guiser breaks a tackle attempt by Yough Area defensive back Joe Pleva during their WPIAL Class AA Interstate conference game at Greensburg Central Catholic's Centurion Stadium in Carbon on October 19, 2012. GCC defeated Yough 14-12. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Greensburg Central Catholic coach Matt Federico — and his defensive unit — was probably never so happy to see a victory formation on the last play of a game. It was that kind of night.

Yough, on the other hand, did nearly everything possible to win Friday night's game against the Centurions.

The only thing the Cougars couldn't do was finish things off.

In the end, the host Centurions came away with a hard-fought, 14-12, homecoming win.

Yough (3-5, 3-4) ran almost triple the number of plays as GCC (6-2, 5-2), but committed five turnovers (three fumbles and two interceptions). Three of the turnovers came in the red zone after lengthy drives, including a fumble on the GCC 2-yard line. The Cougars also had an early touchdown called back on an illegal block.

“We did everything but win,” Yough coach Mike Crovak said. “You can't make turnovers in a big game. There's no question that was the difference. Give credit to GCC. They made big plays when they had to make them. But offensively we went up and down the field all night.”

Yough took a 6-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown catch by senior Ben D'Amico, but went into halftime trailing 14-6, as GCC scored on two big plays – a 67-yard run by Zach Guiser and a 58-yard pass from quarterback Chase Keller to Nate Stone.

“Defensively, we gave up two plays all night,” Crovak said. “They are a good team and when you make mistakes against them, you pay. It's really that simple.”

Yough dominated the time of possession and total yardage, but couldn't convert the statistical edge into points. The Centurions kept coming up with huge defensive plays.

“It was a great back-and-forth game,” Federico said. “Both teams went hard. Our kids put in the effort. Defensively, we bent but never broke. They kept driving down there, but we held up and kept them out of the end zone. The kids hung in there and didn't get down.”

Yough got a stellar effort from sophomore running back Clay Waldron, who finished with 23 carries for 109 yards, including a 21-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter to pull the Cougars within a potential tying 2-point conversion, which fell short.

Cougars quarterback Tyler Donahue finished 14 of 21 passing for 201 yards, while GCC's Guiser tallied 101 yards rushing on just six carries.

“I'm very proud of the team,” Crovak said. “It just didn't go our way tonight when we needed it to.”

The win for GCC sets up next week's showdown versus No. 4 Jeannette.

“I told the kids all week not to look ahead,” said Federico. “I told them Yough was a really good football team and they showed that to us tonight.”

Brian Hunger is a freelance writer.

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