Yough's playoff hopes dashed with tough 14-12 loss
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.
The Yough Cougars, on the other hand, did nearly everything possible to win Friday night's game against the Centurions.
The only thing they couldn't do was finish things off.
The host Centurions came away with a hard-fought, 14-12 homecoming win.
Yough (3-5, 3-4), which ran almost three times as many plays as GCC (6-2, 5-2), committed five turnovers – three fumbles and two interceptions – three of which came in the red zone after lengthy drives.
The Cougars also had an early touchdown called back on an illegal block. One of the fumbles was lost out of the end zone from the 2 yard line.
“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 got out to an early 6-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown catch by senior Ben D'Amico, but went into the half trailing 14-6. GCC scored on two big plays – a 67-yard run by Zach Guiser and a 58-yard catch by Nate Stone from quarterback Chase Keller.
“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 huge statistical advantage into points. The Centurions time after time kept coming up with huge defensive plays.
“It was a great back-and- forth game,” GCC coach Matt 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 endzone. The kids hung in there and didn't get down. Our defensive players played a huge part in converting those turnovers.”
Yough received a stellar effort from sophomore running back Clay Waldron, who finished with 109 yards on 23 carries, including a 21-yard scoring dash in the fourth quarter to pull the Cougars within a potential tying 2-point conversion, which ultimately fell short.
Cougars quarterback Tyler Donahue finished 14 of 21 passing for 201 yards, while GCC's Guiser tallied 101 yards rushing on just 6 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 against 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. We'll be ready to play and the team will be up for the game.”