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Fort Cherry hands Hounds first loss

| Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Rich Downer | For The Valley Independent
Monessen's Clintell Gillaspie runs through a hole as Fort Cherry's Damon McIntyre tries to make the tackle.

A not-so-funny thing happened to Monessen on the way to next week's Black Hills Conference showdown of unbeatens against rival Clairton.

The Greyhounds got hammered by Fort Cherry, 49-33.

The Rangers (3-0, 3-0) dominated Monessen most of the game at Memorial Stadium, and afterward Monessen coach Andy Pacak admitted to being “shocked.”

“They did exactly everything we expected them to do,” Pacak said of the Rangers. “The only thing was we didn't stop any of it. They started fast and when we came back and got the lead, we couldn't keep the momentum.

“This is a disappointing night, for sure.”

Fort Cherry's duo of running back Koltan Kobrys and quarterback Matt Heslin proved to be too much for Monessen's defense as Kobrys rushed for 174 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 66 yards and three other scores in a five touchdown performance.

Heslin, who threw for five touchdowns last week against California, threw four against the Greyhounds as he hit on nine of 16 passes for 164 yards.

The Rangers took a 7-0 lead when Kobrys and Heslin hooked up from five yards out to cap a 50-yard opening drive of the game.

The Greyhounds (2-1, 2-1) tied the score when Clintell Gillaspie scored on a 13-yard run with 4:15 left in the first quarter.

However, the Rangers regained the lead, 14-7, three plays later when Garrett Whalen scored from five yards out.

After Kobrys and Heslin teamed up for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 21-7 in the second quarter, Monessen appeared to wake up.

The hosts drove 65 yards in nine plays with Noah Rullo passing eight yards to Justice Rawlins for the score to make it 21-13.

Monessen recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and Rullo threw a one-yard scoring pass to Gillaspie with three seconds left before halftime to make it 21-19.

The Greyhounds took their only lead of the night in the third quarter when their opening drive went 60 yards in nine plays. It culminated with Gillaspie going the final two yards to make it 25-21 with 7:19 left in the quarter.

“After that touchdown, I thought we were OK,” Pacak said. “But we had tackling problems all night and that continued. We missed a lot of tackles, especially on third down.”

The Rangers scored three touchdowns in a 4:05 span to take a 42-25 lead with 9:45 to play and the game was basically over.

Monessen made it 42-33 when Gillaspie picked off a Heslin pass and returned it 59 yards for a score, but the Rangers iced the upset win when Kobrys scored his fifth TD on a 10-yard pass from Heslin with 1:47 to play.

“(Heslin) can run. He's a good football player,” Pacak said.

Rullo completed 13 of 24 passes for 195 yards and two scores with Javon Brown catching six passes for 112 yards for Monessen.

Gillaspie ended the night with 41 yards on 14 carries, including a 13-yard loss when a snap from center on a punt sailed over his head.

“We have to forget about this one and move on to Clairton,” Pacak said. “I honestly think we were looking ahead. And the only person to blame for that is me.”

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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