It's the 'Moorer,' the merrier for Cougars
Within moments after Charleroi ended four weeks of miserable futility with a 21-13 non-conference win over Deer Lakes, the bell beyond the end zone at Charleroi Stadium rang long and loud, signalling Friday night's long-awaited win.
Afterward, a smiling Charleroi coach Ed Jenkins said he was among the people who rang the bell.
“You know I did,” Jenkins said. “It was a long time coming and it sure felt good. We had some tough times and these kids didn't quit. They came out to work this week and their hard work paid off.”
Things didn't start well for the Cougars (1-4), as Deer Lakes (0-5) drove 62 yards on their first possession of the night to take a 7-0 lead when Josh Plocki hit Brandon Newmaster with a 36-yard scoring strike.
Charleroi didn't take long to respond as Dakota Moorer returned the ensuring kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to knot the score.
It was the beginning of an amazing night for Moorer.
The Charleroi senior caught seven passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. He also returned three kickoffs for 153 yards, and two punts for 59 yards. In addition, he had an interception nullified by a defensive penalty.
“Dakota did it all tonight and the kid battles through so much to do what he does for us,” Jenkins said. “He was amazing and, really, that's kind of what he does for us all of the time. He is a bright spot.”
Charleroi took the lead before the first quarter ended when Brennan Matthews raced 20 yards through the middle of the Deer Lakes defense for a touchdown.
That score was set up by a 31-yard punt return by Moorer that put the Cougars on the Lancers' 37.
Charleroi upped the lead to 21-7 in the second quarter when Matthews hit Moorer from 39 yards out with 2:52 to go before halftime, capping an eight-play, 96-yard drive that also included a 35-yard Matthews-to-Moorer hookup.
“This was my best game, but I give all the credit to my teammates who played hard for me,” Moorer said. “It definitely feels good to win, but now we have to get another ‘W' next week.”
Trailing 21-7 in the fourth quarter, Deer Lakes pulled within 21-13 in the fourth quarter when Hunter Burns dove across the goal line from a yard out with 7:04 to play.
The score capped a 17-play, 74-yard drive.
The Lancers had one last chance to at least force a tie, but their final drive stalled near midfield in the final minute.
Burns ended the night with 101 yards rushing on 20 carries, while Plocki completed four of eight passes for 79 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 41 yards on eight carries.
Matthews hit on nine of 19 passes for 169 yards for Charleroi.
“The guys really sucked it up and played a hard game,” Jenkins said. “We will enjoy this one for a while, but you can believe we will go right back to work next week.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.