Prolific 1st-half scoring leads Greensburg Salem over Knoch, 20-14
The Dave Keefer era at Greensburg Salem got off to a rousing start. But it didn't last long — the first 24 minutes, actually.
The Golden Lions (1-0, 1-0) raced to a commanding 20-0 halftime lead, but things unraveled in the second half.
In the end, the Lions held on and escaped with a 20-14 Greater Allegheny Conference victory over Knoch in a game full of penalties (22 combined) and hard hits.
But it was far from easy.
After scoring twice in the first quarter on touchdowns by Simeon Stevens (59-yard reception) and Dominique McKinley (17-yard run), the Lions tacked on another score in the second quarter on a 32-yard run by Ryan Zepeda.
Then the tide turned. Knoch (0-1, 0-1) came out in the second half like a new team on both sides of the ball.
“We knew Knoch was a strong football team,” Keefer said. “We knew at halftime they were going to come out and fight to the end, and that's what they did. We were able to hang on and battled until the end. It's a great win for these guys, and they learned a lot tonight.”
The Knights got on the board at the 3:20 mark of the third quarter with an 18-yard touchdown reception by Jim Larrimer from quarterback Daniel Farinelli.
After an exchange of punts, Knoch answered again. Farinelli found Sean Daugherty open for a 16-yard touchdown reception.
Knoch's greatest chance of grabbing a come-from-behind victory came with 2:25 left. Greensburg Salem tried to punt from deep in its territory, but the snap got past the kicker. The Knights recovered at the 9-yard line, but the Lions' defense held. Greensburg Salem was able to run the clock out.
“We just didn't have the balance throughout the game,” Knoch coach Mike King said. “We buckled down in the second half defensively, and the kids put in a great effort. We had chances, but you've got to put it in when you have those chances and we couldn't do it.”
Greensburg Salem had seven sacks — several of which came on third down.
Greensburg Salem lost senior Kenneth Clark with a knee injury in the third quarter.
McKinley led the Lions with 78 yards on 20 carries. Simeon finished with 68 receiving yards.
Brian Hunger is a freelance writer.