Woodland Hills up next for struggling Plum football
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
It doesn't get any easier this Friday for the Plum football team, as it travels to Woodland Hills for a 7:30 p.m. Quad Central Conference kickoff.
Mustangs head coach Matt Morgan said he did see some more good things in last week's 29-0 conference loss to Mt. Lebanon at Plum's Mustangs Stadium.
It was the second shutout in three games this season for Plum, which is hoping to snap a 19-game losing streak.
“A lot has been self-inflicted wounds,” Morgan said.
“For three weeks, it's been committing too many penalties, turning the ball over or not blocking who you are supposed to on offense. Those kinds of things are killing us.”
Plum trailed only 13-0 at halftime and held Mt. Lebanon to one offensive touchdown and two field goals while putting halts to a couple of other drives.
The Blue Devils extended their lead to 20-0 in the third quarter on a 62-yard scoring strike from quarterback Kellan Stout to senior Penn State recruit Troy Apke.
“Defensively, we played great. We gave up one big play. Other than that, those guys played their hearts out all night,” Morgan said.
The Plum offense was limited to 63 total yards on 40 plays. Junior Nate Turchick led the way with 53 yards rushing on 12 carries.
“I think the guys can turn the corner,” Morgan said. “We have to protect the ball and execute. We have to do the right thing every time on offense. We know it can come together.”
Plum sophomore newcomer Malik Franzley is a player in the running back situation with the likes of Turchick, junior Zach Martin and sophomore Nick Carlisano.
Franzley made his debut against the Blue Devils on Friday.
“He's going to be a good player for us,” Morgan said. “We just have to get him in shape and ready to go. He can help the running game.”
Woodland Hills, ranked third in the Tribune-Review's preseason Quad-A rankings, started 0-2 with losses to McKeesport and Upper St. Clair, but the Wolverines rebounded with a 38-23 victory over Bethel Park last Friday.
Miles Sanders led the Wolverines in rushing last season, and he came up big against the Black Hawks with 180 yards on the ground.
Woodland Hills scored 38 on Bethel Park after the Black Hawks had only given up three points in wins over Plum (38-0) and Mt. Lebanon (14-3).
Quarterback Harry Randall, limited to four games last year because of injury, scored three rushing touchdowns against Bethel Park.
Woodland Hills has dominated the overall series with Plum, winning 15 of the 17 all-time meetings, including the last 10.
Four of the past seven games between the teams have been Woodland Hills shutout wins, including last year (35-0).
Plum last beat Woodland Hills in 1995 by a 28-13 score.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412- 388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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