Highlands routs Derry, keeps pace atop conference
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Highlands overcame a sluggish start to defeat Derry, 57-7, in a key Greater Allegheny Conference game at Trojans Stadium.
The victory leaves No. 9 Highlands (5-1, 5-1) one-half game in front of No. 5 Mars, which beat Uniontown in a nonconference game.
Junior Elijah Jackson led Highlands with 195 yards rushing on 15 carries. He scored three touchdowns in the first half, two rushing and one on a 29-yard reception from quarterback Blake Leri. Jackson had just two rushes in the second half.
“We have a long way to go,” Highlands coach Sam Albert said. “We had too many mistakes out there. And we've got some great football teams yet to play.”
Highlands will host Greensburg Salem on Friday, and Derry (0-5, 0-6) will play at Hampton.
“We have tough kids at Highlands, and they always play hard,” Albert said. “And you saw our defense come out and play a good game. We came off an emotional win last week (over Indiana) and sometimes it is hard to get back up. But football is a game that must be played with emotion.”
Leri completed 3 of 8 passes in the first half for 104 yards and two touchdowns and did not play in the second half.
Derry quarterback Kyle Holmes completed 3 of 8 for 44 yards and one interception.
For the game Highlands totaled 474 yards, including 327 rushing, to Derry's 144 yards.
Dominic Martinka got the bulk of the carries after Jackson was pulled, rushing for 98 yards and two scores on nine attempts.
The first four combined possessions were sloppy, featuring more penalty flags (eight) than points (seven). Highlands broke open the scoring with an eight-play drive that took 3 minutes, 14 seconds and culminated with Jackson's first score, a 5-yard run up the middle.
Highlands forced a Derry punt and took over at its own 26. Three runs by Jackson put the ball at the Derry 30 and from there it took four plays to score.
On fourth down, Leri got off a short pass to Jackson just as Derry's Clint Beeman was hitting him in the backfield. Jackson caught the ball and ran in for a 29-yard touchdown.
Once again, Derry's offense struggled and the Golden Rams took over at their own 20. Two plays later, Jackson raced 80 yards for a touchdown to put Highlands up, 21-0. The Golden Rams added one more score before halftime, a 48-yard reception from Jeremy Jackson to make the score, 28-0.
Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Longtime rivals Kittanning, Ford City set for final act
- Daily News Q&A: Lamont Wade, Clairton
- West Mifflin hoping to spoil TJ’s perfect season
- WPIAL, coaches are still looking to schedule Week 9 rivalry games
- Birdie sad to see rivalry go
- Daily Courier Q&A: Connellsville’s Kevin Koontz
- Ford City, Kittanning matchup to be part of SI.com’s ‘Underdogs’
- Heavyweights West Allegheny, Central Valley meet in test for Parkway
- Gorman: A WPIAL playoff drought about to end
- Valley News Dispatch Q&A: Springdale’s Austin Kline
- Connellsville focuses on nailing down playoff berth