Pine-Richland loss concludes Plum football season
The Plum varsity football team wasn't able to solve Pine-Richland on Friday and dropped a 48-14 decision to the Rams in its season finale.
The loss concluded an 0-9 season, the first winless season or a Mustangs squad since 1988.
Plum head coach Frank Sacco said the adversity faced this season hammered down on his players. However, he was proud of the way the players who walked off the field for the final time on Friday battled through everything and didn't give up.
“We had some tough injuries to deal with, and we played in one of the toughest conferences in the state,” Sacco said.
“We were undersized a lot of times, but they came out each time and battled. They practiced hard and prepared for each game. They didn't give up on each other. As a coaching staff, that's all you can ask for each week.
“They understood what they were up against, and they were accountable for what they did. There were never any excuses from any of them. That says a lot about their character.”
Ten seniors — Tevin Odom, Corey DeLoach, Jai Major, Sergio Rometo, Jacob DiGuilio, Brandon McCallum, Dylan Kondis, Matt Dombrowski, Nick DeLuca and Hamza Arsani — put on a Mustangs football jersey one final time on Friday.
The seniors were part of a 6-4 season and a trip to the WPIAL playoffs as sophomores in 2010, but they went through a lot the past two seasons with only one win out of 18 games.
But through it all, Sacco said, the seniors were great leaders on and off the field.
“They never got down on themselves or the underclassmen behind them,” Sacco said.
“They had an attitude of hard work every day, and the younger kids followed their lead. That says a lot for their character and toughness. They were a part of a playoff team as sophomores, and they learned a lot from those seniors that year. They faced a lot with injuries and the new conference, and they handled things with maturity.”
A number of underclassmen will return in key roles next season.
Sophomore running backs Joe DeFelice and Kyle Smecker are two key pieces of the puzzle, Sacco said, but both missed the game against Pine-Richland because of injuries.
DeFelice missed both the Upper St. Clair and Pine-Richland contests while recovering from a concussion, while Smecker broke his left leg in practice leading up to Friday's game with the Rams.
“Both Kyle and Joey were big parts of the offense this year, and they are big parts of the future, too,” Sacco said.
Major handled a majority of the duties at tailback against Pine-Richland, and, Sacco said, he handled transitions this season from quarterback to wide receiver to running back well.
Major got Plum on the board Friday with a 92-yard kickoff return.
Fellow senior Jake DiGuilio scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter that was set up by a 68-yard completion from sophomore backup quarterback Will Fuhrer to junior wideout Jeff Ruffing.
Sacco said he thinks the returning players will respond in the offseason and work hard to improve.
“The turnouts last offseason for workouts were outstanding, and a big part of that were the sophomore and junior groups,” Sacco said.
“I don't expect anything different from them. A lot of the sophomores and juniors who played one way on a Friday night — on defense, for example — would go down and play offense in the JV game on Saturday. That helped them to have a little success on the JV team that went 5-4 this year. That was a really positive thing to see. I give them a lot of credit for that.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412- 388-5825 or at email@example.com.