Seton-La Salle takes advantage of GCC's mistakes
Greensburg Central Catholic quarterback Chase Keller made scoring against the Seton-La Salle defense look easy late in the first quarter of Friday night's Class AA playoff opener.
After that, the Rebels made life considerably harder for the Centurions.
No. 6 seed Seton-La Salle (9-1) forced four turnovers, turning three into touchdowns in a 28-10 victory at Chartiers Valley High School.
“Our defense has been playing pretty well all year,” Seton-La Salle coach Greg Perry said.
“We had a little bump in the road against South Fayette (a 51-12 loss), but we thought we could stuff (Greensburg Central Catholic's) run and force them into a pass, and we did a great job.”
Seton-La Salle advances to take on Washington in the quarterfinals. The Little Prexies beat Shady Side Academy, 47-12, on Friday.
The Rebels' usually high-powered passing attack didn't come through as quarterback Luke Brumbaugh finished 4 of 16 for 36 yards.
But the defense and running game made enough big plays that it didn't matter as Tom Rizza and Nick Sywyj surpassed 100 yards rushing and the defense delivered when called upon.
“Our offensive line did a great job, and our offensive line coaches did a good job preparing these kids,” Perry said. “We just figured we'd try to pound the rock at them.”
Both teams' defenses kept the game scoreless for most of the first quarter, but a late Seton-La Salle miscue allowed GCC (6-4) to take the lead.
With the Rebels driving, running back Rizza couldn't handle a handoff cleanly and fumbled at the Greensburg Central Catholic 10-yard line.
Four plays later, Keller kept the ball on an option play and burst up the middle for a 70-yard touchdown.
But the Rebels' defense got even on the Centurions' next drive.
On third-and-25, Seton-La Salle lineman Scott Orndoff intercepted Keller and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
The Rebels capitalized on another Greensburg Central Catholic turnover on the next drive. Tyler Balla fumbled a handoff, giving Seton-La Salle the ball at the 29. Brumbaugh snuck in from a yard out to give his team the lead.
“If you turn the ball over to a playoff team in this situation, you know it's not usually going to go very well,” Greensburg Central Catholic co-coach Daniel Mahoney said.
“Our defense tried to hang in there, but obviously you can only bend so many times.”
Seton-La Salle scored again when Sywyj broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage and rumbled 52 yards for a touchdown.
Jack Fagan kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half for Greensburg Central Catholic.
Sywyj intercepted two Keller passes in the third quarter, with one leading to a Rizza 4-yard touchdown run.
Keller finished with 142 yards passing and 98 rushing for Greensburg Central Catholic, but he threw three interceptions.
Doug Gulasy is a writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.