No. 3 Mt. Pleasant wins, sets up showdown with Washington
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Every baseball team has its closer — the guy they go to in the final inning to end an opponent's rally.
Mt. Pleasant football coach Bo Ruffner has his own closer: running back Tyler Mellors.
With No. 3 Mt. Pleasant clinging to a one-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, Ruffner went to his top option, and Mellors responded.
Mellors, who rushed for a season-high 259 yards, scored two of his three touchdowns in the final quarter to carry Mt. Pleasant to a 35-21 homecoming win against Jeannette on Friday at Vikings Stadium.
The victory, along with No. 5 Washington's win at Brownsville, sets up an Interstate Conference first-place battle Friday at Washington.
Mt. Pleasant (6-0, 6-0) also clinched home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“The one thing that was exciting about this game was it was homecoming, and our players knew if we won this game we'd have a home playoff game,” Ruffner said. “That was a lot to play for.”
Mellors started quickly. He opened the scoring with a 1-yard run, and he had more than 100 yards in the first quarter as Mt. Pleasant built a 21-7 lead.
After Mellors scored, Jeannette (4-2, 4-2) tied the score one play later when quarterback Julian Batts tossed a 71-yard strike to Zach Altieri.
Ryan Ballew and Brett Fess scored touchdown runs to give the Vikings a 21-7 lead after one quarter.
Penalties and two turnovers plagued Jeannette in the opening quarter.
“I'm at a loss for words about penalties,” Jeannette coach Roy Hall said. “I'm so disgusted with them. I just don't know how to fix it. We've tried everything.
“Then we didn't block very well on offense. We called a great defense, but we can't tackle. When the defense stepped up, the offense sputtered.”
Mt. Pleasant sacked Batts 10 times during the contest.
“We practiced all week containing the quarterback,” Ballew said. “Our defensive ends got good pressure and our linebackers made good reads.
“It's a nice win to have, but now we can look forward to next week. Washington is a really good team. We have to keep winning and get better.”
Jeannette's Davie Headen fielded a punt that no one on Mt. Pleasant downed and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown to cut the Vikings lead to 21-14 at halftime.
“What happened at the end of the first half, I'll take the blame on that,” Ruffner said. “I've almost never seen that happen in high school football.”
Heading into the fourth quarter, Ruffner turned to the running game and defense to close things out.
“We have so much faith in our running game, so we put it in Tyler's hands,” Ruffner said. “Obviously we kept feeding Tyler. We pounded the football, and the offensive line responded.”
Mellors scored on runs of 7 and 16 yards for Mt. Pleasant in the fourth quarter.
Batts completed 13 of 23 passes for 238 yards and two scores. Miles Sunder caught four passes for 100 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown pass.
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.