Yough handles Charleroi, 42-14
Yough rode the arm of Tyler Donahue and the legs of Clayton Waldron to an easy 42-14 Interstate Conference victory over Charleroi in the Battle of the Cougars: Football Edition.
Yough's wealth of offensive experience – Donahue is a fourth-year starter at quarterback and Waldron is a third year starter at running back/wide receiver – overwhelmed.
“You can't replace experience,” fourth-year Yough coach Mark Crovak said. “These kids have been in the system for a few years, they're athletic and they know the plays. They have worked hard over the past few years and its starting to come together. They are going to be tough to stop this year.”
Donahue was the star of the first half, returning the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and throwing a 60-yard touchdown pass to wideout Joe Plava off a flea-flicker on Yough's first offensive play.
“My offensive coordinator has some guts to call that play right off the bat,” Crovak said. “We talked about it and had faith in the kids to execute. So I said go ahead and it worked out pretty well.”
Dakota Moorer put Charleroi on the board immediately after, crossing the field and returning the ensuing kickoff 90 yards up the far sideline for a touchdown. But that was as much offense as Charleroi (0-1, 0-1) was able to muster until the fourth quarter.
After Tom Sever plunged in from three yards out on the next drive to give Yough (1-0, 1-0) a 21-7 lead, it was all Donahue for the rest of the half. In the second quarter, Donahue ran Yough's no-huddle offense nearly to perfection, going 4-4 for 58 yards and two more touchdowns – a 17 yarder to Waldron and a 24 yarder to Eric Borkovich before exiting the game with an apparent non-throwing shoulder injury. He finished 7 of 8, for 130 yards and three touchdowns.
“We change the play at the line every time depending on what the defense gives us,” Crovak said. “The system has been in place for a couple years now and all of our quarterbacks are becoming comfortable with it.”
After Donahue's departure, junior Eric Baer took over and the Cougars didn't miss a beat. Baer nearly drove Yough down for another score before half, but the drive stalled and Yough went into the break with a 35-7 lead.
Following a Charleroi fumble at midfield in the third quarter, Baer hit Waldron on a bubble screen in the left flat and the junior running back outraced everyone up the sideline for a 50 yard catch-and-run touchdown that triggered the mercy rule. Waldron racked up 100 yards receiving on five catches – and two touchdowns – to go with his 10-carry, 120 yard rushing performance. Baer finished 5-for-9 for 82 yards in relief of Donahue.
Charleroi turned the ball over three times and recorded only five first downs on the night, but was finally able to put together a scoring drive of their own behind the strength of quarterback Brennan Matthews' arm late in the fourth quarter.
On third-and-10 near midfield, Moorer drew a pass interference penalty and caught a 17-yard pass from Matthews on the next play.
On third-and-2 at the Yough fifteen – the first play of the fourth quarter – Charleroi spread the field with trips right and Matthews hit tight end Alec Long on a post route in the middle of the endzone. However, Matthews finished 7-for-15 for 63 yards and the Cougars' run game netted only nine yards all game long.
“We were embarrassed in our scrimmage with Elizabeth Forward; we couldn't tackle their quarterback,” Crovak said. “So we went back to the basics and focused on containment and strong tackling. We did very well in that regard tonight.”
NOTES: Yough's Borkovich intercepted Matthews in the third quarter … Charleroi lost two of three fumbles … Yough finished with 282 yards rushing and 212 yards passing on the night … Charleroi junior lineman Jake Lemmon doubles as the team's punter and averaged 43.8 yards per punt.
Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.