Spread offense sparks Monessen
Midway through the second quarter of Monessen's Black Hills Conference showdown with Brentwood, the Spartans defense had the Greyhounds stymied.
On three possessions, Monessen had just 13 yards and no first downs in a scoreless game.
Then Greyhounds coach Andy Pacak went to the spread offense and put the ball in the hands of quarterback Noah Rullo.
The results were scintillating.
All Rullo did was complete 10 of 16 passes for 181 yards and four touchdowns as the Greyhounds (2-0, 2-0) blew past the stunned Spartans (1-1, 1-1), 33-7.
“We did not expect them to go to the spread,” said Brentwood coach Kevin Kissel. “All we said all week was that we wanted to shut their run down and force them to pass. We shut the run down and their quarterback just killed us. We couldn't stop the passing game.”
“We like to run the ball because we have some talented kids back there,” Pacak said. “But we switched things up and Noah threw some really nice passes that opened the game up.”
Rullo completed his first four passes for 59 yards and capped a 60-yard drive by hitting Clintell Gillaspie from 12 yards out to make it 6-0 with 5:15 left in the half.
They hooked up for another touchdown from 22 yards out with three seconds left in the half to make it 14-0.
“That one before the half really hurt,” Kissel said.
“Noah played a smart game and hit his receivers,” Pacak said. “He was very effective.”
In the second half, Rullo hooked up with Irvin Green for scores of 60 and 20 yards to make it 27-0 before the Spartans got on the board with a 25-yard pass from Connor McWilliams to Tyler Paranzino with 2:40 to play.
Kayne Jackson capped the scoring for Monessen with a seven-yard run.
McWilliams completed 15 of 25 passes for 138 yards, with Paranzino catching three for 58.
Monessen's Javon Brown, who had minus-8 yards on his first seven carries before the spread offense, finished with 87 yards on 11 carries.
Gillaspie had 114 combined yards rushing and receiving and two touchdowns.
Brentwood's Justin Vickless injured his knee in the second quarter and left the game. He carried just once in the second half and finished with 43 yards on 13 carries.
“He hurt his knee again and he couldn't go,” Kissel said of his star running back. “It looks like it is going to be a bothersome thing for him. We're not sure if it is a ligament or tendon.”
As pleased as Pacak was with the play of Rullo, he was even more excited about his defense.
“We came within one pass play of shutting out a good football team,” Pacak said with a smile. “I thought our defense was outstanding. We shut them down and controlled the line of scrimmage all night. My hat's off to our guys.
“This was a really good win for us.”
NOTES: After Monessen went into the spread offense, the Greyhounds went from 13 total yards midway through the second quarter to 334, with 181 through the air and 153 on the ground. They also had 13 first downs ... Rullo lost a fifth TD pass when a scoring toss to Lavelle Rush was nullified by a penalty ... Gillaspie punted four times for a 41-yard average and booted a 58-yarder in the second quarter.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.