Monessen's Rullo Player of the Week
It was obvious that Monessen's vaunted ground game was bogged down against Brentwood Friday night.
The Spartans had forced the Greyhounds into three-and-outs on their first three possessions of the Black Hills Conference game.
Then Monessen coach Andy Pacak made a strategy change that opened things up.
He put the Greyhounds in a spread formation and allowed quarterback Noah Rullo to throw the ball around. It was a plan that worked, and the Spartans defense never figured Rullo out.
The junior quarterback completed 10 of 16 passes for 181 yards and four touchdowns as Monessen pulled away to a 33-7 win.
For his efforts, Rullo is this week's Valley Independent Player of the Week.
Rullo completed his first four passes against the startled Brentwood defense, then hooked up on TD tosses of 12 and 22 yards to Clintell Gillaspie and 60 and 20 yards to Irvin Green.
He had a fifth touchdown pass negated by a penalty.
“It's no secret that we like to run the ball, but we also think we can throw it when we need to,” Pacak said. “I'm not afraid to let Noah make plays for us, and he certainly made some nice plays at a time when we needed it.
“He definitely made a difference against Brentwood. He has the ability to hit receivers, as he showed. Maybe other teams will think twice about worrying only about our run game.”
Players garnering honorable mention are:
• Monessen's Gillaspie, who had 114 combined yards rushing and receiving to go with his two touchdowns. He also punted four times for a 41-yard average.
• Ringgold's Nico Law, who rushed eight times for 103 yards, including a TD, and threw for three more scores in a 57-14 romp over Laurel Highlands.
• Ringgold's Alan Pritchett, who caught TD passes of 24 and 40 yards from Law.
• Ringgold's Chacar Berry, who ran 38 yards for one score and returned an interception 54 yards for another.
• Yough quarterback Eric Baer, who completed 11 of 14 passes for 108 yards and two TDs in a 30-21 win over Brownsville.
• Yough's Clayton Waldron, who ran for a score and caught a 16-yard pass for another against Brownsville.
• Frazier quarterback Charles Manack, who passed for 278 yards and two TDs in a 30-22 loss to Carmichaels. He also rushed for a TD.
• California's Austin Hunter, who rushed for 100 yards and scored twice in a 50-14 loss to Fort Cherry.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.