TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Late stand lifts Sto-Rox past Neshannock

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Top high school sports
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 10:27 p.m.
 

After three quarters of long runs and even longer passes, the difference was only a few feet.

Facing fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Neshannock's Gianni Oliva was stopped short of the end zone with 4 seconds left, and Sto-Rox escaped with a 34-31 victory Thursday night at home in McKees Rocks.

Neshannock had four running plays inside the 6. On first down, Oliva gained 4 yards. On second, he lost a yard. On third, a fumbled snap cost Neshannock another yard. An offsides penalty by Sto-Rox moved the ball to the 2, where Oliva had that last chance.

Neshannock covered 64 yards in 15 plays but finished a yard short.

This Big Seven matchup was a one-point game a year ago. Neshannock won 35-34 at home on an 8-yard end-around with 17.9 seconds left.

This was just as close.

“We were hoping at the end that the same thing didn't happen as last year,” Sto-Rox coach Dan Bradley said. “But this year we were fortunate enough and tough enough to keep them out of the end zone.”

Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams completed 14 of 26 passes for 289 yards and five touchdowns, with three to wideout Javelle Kirkland. A 53-yarder to Kirkland with 5:08 left was the winning touchdown.

Kirkland also had scoring catches of 11 and 37 yards. All three of his receptions were touchdowns. Mallory Clayborn had a 45-yard touchdown catch, and Brendan Blair added a 13-yarder.

No. 2 Sto-Rox (3-0) and No. 4 Neshannock (2-1) were considered among the best teams in Class A. This effort only solidified that notion. They combined for nine touchdowns, including a 66-yard fake punt by Neshannock quarterback Ernie Burkes. The third-quarter fake on fourth-and-12 gave the Lancers a 31-28 lead.

Burkes rushed for 150 yards on 17 carries, and tailback Eli Owens added 128 yards on 22 carries.

“They ran the ball with a lot of success,” Bradley said. “For us to be able to stop them in a short-yardage situation on four plays was a great accomplishment.”

Two short touchdown runs by Oliva helped Neshannock claim a 23-22 halftime lead. Both 3-yard runs came in the second quarter, when the teams combined for 28 points.

Neshannock had led 9-0. The Lancers' first points were scored when Ralph Dovidio tackled Williams in the end zone for a safety on the first play of Sto-Rox's second possession. An errant snap had forced the Sto-Rox quarterback to chase it backward. A 6-yard touchdown catch by Steven Jeffries followed on the next possession with 3:37 left in the first quarter.

The 45-yard touchdown catch by Clayborn pulled Sto-Rox to within 9-8 with 1:56 left in the first. The touchdown started a back-and-forth battle where the teams alternated almost every other score.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Football

  1. HS highlight reel: Bridgers star could be asset to Quips
  2. HS highlight reel: Central Catholic’s Joseph commits to PSU
  3. HS highlight reel: Bridgers star could be asset to Quips
  4. Karns City rolls past Moniteau
  5. Bishop Canevin football living on the edge
  6. Hempfield QB pushing himself to improve
  7. Highlands wins thriller over Apollo-Ridge
  8. No margin for error between rivals North Hills, Pine-Richland
  9. Previewing some of the top Week 5 matchups in Western Pennsylvania
  10. Statewide HSFB notebook: Jersey Shore wins on controversial finish
  11. Monessen’s Rullo tabbed Player of Week
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.