ShareThis Page

Belle Vernon bolts to big lead, routs Laurel Highlands

| Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
Belle Vernon's #17 Seth Manack recovers fumble and runs in for 30 yard touch down,as Laurel Highlands QB #13 Jimmy Pierce misses tackle, at Belle Vernons James Weir Stadium. Jim Ference | Valley Indpendent

Facing a must-win game Friday night on Senior Night at James Weir Stadium, Belle Vernon responded with a 44-6 win over Laurel Highlands.

And thanks to Trinity's loss to West Mifflin, the Leopards' postseason hopes in the Big 9 Conference remain alive.

“We did what we had to do and we are focused on that,” coach Aaron Krepps said. “We can't worry about what anyone else does.

“All we can do is take care of our business and we did that tonight.”

Belle Vernon can still make the playoffs if it wins at Albert Gallatin and Trinity loses to Ringgold.

The Leps (3-5, 3-4) started quickly, going 57 yards on six plays, all rushes, to take a 7-0 lead just 2:51 into the game.

Belle Vernon then recovered a fumble on the first Laurel Highlands play and returned it for a touchdown to make it 14-0.

On the play, Jimmy Pierce hit Joe Pegg with a bubble screen pass, but Pegg bobbled it and thought it was an incomplete.

However, it was ruled a lateral and Jeremy Indof picked up the loose ball and raced 28 yards for the touchdown.

Two plays later, Brandon Williams of Laurel Highlands (1-7, 1-6) fumbled on a rush attempt and Manack scooped it up and raced 18 yards for the third Belle Vernon score in under four minutes.

Tyler McCullough's extra point made it 21-0 with 8:03 to go in the first quarter.

Krepps said the quick lead helped relax sophomore quarterback Jake Gherardini, who was making his first varsity start for injured classmate Travis Snyder.

“Jake, for a first-time starter, what can you say,” Krepps said. “He played lights out. It was beneficial with the two quick defensive scores and they set the tempo.”

Gherardini finished 7 of 9 for 196 yards, all in the first half. Belle Vernon led 37-0 at halftime, on Cody Menges' 20-yard touchdown reception with 1:09 to play in the first half.

Belle Vernon sophomore running back Anthony Levis ran for 154 yards on 16 carries, as the Leopards amassed 318 rushing yards on 41 attempts.

Despite the loss, LH coach Zach Just was upbeat.

“We had a good week of preparation and practice,” he said. “To see us in practice this week you would not know that we had no playoff berth at stake. Belle Vernon is a good team but we have been making the same mistakes all year and you can't get away with that against a good team.”

Belle Vernon's Adam Ferita, one of the seniors honored before the game, relished his final home game and looks ahead to next week against Albert Gallatin.

“Playing on this field for the last time was special and we got the win,” Ferita said. “Hopefully, Ringgold can beat Trinity, but we have to do our job or that score doesn't matter.”

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.