Hempfield tops Altoona for homecoming victory
Last year, Hempfield traveled to Altoona for a Quad East conference game. The Mountain Lions were not welcoming guests; they dealt the Spartans a 17-14 loss.
With payback in mind — as well as wanting to rid itself of the bad memories of last week's last-minute loss at Gateway — Hempfield whipped Altoona, 37-14, on homecoming at Spartans Stadium.
With the win, the Spartans improved to 4-2 overall and in conference play. Altoona dropped to 1-5, 1-5.
“It was their first homecoming win here in years,” Hempfield coach Rich Bowen said. “We're 4-2 now and setting up the rest of our season. If we can finish strong, who knows what could happen? We're just proud of the way we're playing.”
Hempfield led 10-7 at halftime but broke the game open in the third quarter with three touchdowns.
Joey DeFloria scored on a 1-yard run, Dante Luther hauled in a 36-yard pass from Ty George, and George ran for a 10-yard TD.
The Spartans led 31-14 at the end of the third. John Domit added field goals of 42 and 23 yards in the fourth quarter.
DeFloria rushed for 167 yards on 24 carries. He has 964 rushing yards this season.
George added 101 yards on 16 carries. He completed 13 of 16 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Luther on a 30-yard touchdown strike to open the scoring early in the second quarter.
“They took the run away from us early,” Bowen said. “They were loading the box, and we had to throw the ball.
“I was really pleased with our passing game. Ty threw the ball well, and Dante made some great plays. We developed some other weapons tonight. When they went out to cover our passes; that opened things for Joey.”
Hempfield had 334 yards rushing and 515 yards overall. Luther caught four passes for 98 yards, and DeFloria hauled in five throws from George for 43 yards.
The Spartans collected 23 first downs.
“We knew that George was really good, but we couldn't contain him,” Altoona coach John Franco said. “That was our focus all week. He kept making big plays. We had no answer for George and DeFloria. They are two of the best players we will see all year.”
Altoona totaled 140 yards of offense and 10 first downs. Kevin Givens led the Mountain Lions with 66 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Two Hempfield first-half drives ended in turnovers — fumbles at Altoona's 12 and 1 kept the Spartans from scoring. A 45-yard field goal from Domit with 44 seconds to play in the first half gave Hempfield a 10-7 lead.
“We made some solid plays in the first half and got a few turnovers, and I thought we were ready to go in the second half,” Franco said.
“I was disappointed with the way we played in the second half. Us not playing well in the second half is on me. It's my fault.”
Michael Love is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or firstname.lastname@example.org.