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Mt. Lebanon defeats Plum for 1st victory

| Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

In a battle of teams trying to crack the win column for the first time this season, Mt. Lebanon topped Plum, 29-0, in a Quad Central clash at Plum's Mustangs Stadium.

The Blue Devils and Mustangs came into the matchup with a combined 16 points over the first two weeks of the season.

“Defensively, we played great. We just gave up one big play,” Plum coach Matt Morgan said. “They played their hearts out all night. We're starting to turn the corner.

“We just have to execute better on offense and cut down on penalties and turnovers.”

The Blue Devils (1-2, 1-1) thought they had put points on the board on the opening kickoff, as Penn State recruit Troy Apke returned the kick 85 yards to the end zone.

However, a facemask personal foul negated the score.

Late in the first quarter, Plum's Zach Kuhn made a shoestring interception and returned it 83 yards for what the Mustangs thought was a touchdown.

But Kuhn's knee was ruled down when he made the pick, and the ball was returned to the Plum 20.

An Apke interception of Plum quarterback Will Fuhrer one play later set up a 4-yard touchdown scamper from Mt. Lebanon signal-caller Brian Ward and a 7-0 lead for the visitors with 1:04 remaining in the first quarter.

Ward finished the game with a team-best 112 yards on 16 carries.

The Blue Devils tacked on a 27-yard field goal from Robbie Costantino with 8:30 to play in the first half.

Costantino added another field goal — from 33 yards — later in the quarter and booted one from 30 yards in fourth quarter.

Mt. Lebanon extended its lead to 20-0 four minutes into the third quarter as Apke hauled in a pass from Kellan Stout for a 62-yard scoring strike. Apke finished with five catches for 82 yards.

Ward added a late touchdown on a 45-yard interception return to set the final.

“I thought our kids played hard tonight,” Mt. Lebanon coach Mike Melnyk said. “We had been searching for some big plays. We had scored only three points against a varsity defense in two games.

“It was nice to get some good field position on special teams and make plays offensively.”

Nate Turchick led Plum's ground attack with 53 yards on 12 carries.

The Mustangs punted seven times and were limited to 63 yards of total offense.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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