Pine-Richland, DiNucci send Plum to 25th loss in a row

Michael Love
| Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, 11:51 p.m.

Plum hoped for something positive Friday in its regular-season finale against Pine-Richland on Senior Night.

The visiting Rams were trying to bounce back from last week's shutout loss to North Hills and gain some momentum going into the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.

Pine-Richland junior quarterback Ben DiNucci threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns to help the Rams score a 42-0 nonconference victory.

Plum fell to 0-9 with the loss, its 25th setback in a row.

The Mustangs will play a 10th game at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Greensburg Salem.

“Everyone, especially the seniors, wanted to get this one, but Pine-Richland made some plays and we weren't able to do the same,” Plum coach Matt Morgan said.

The Rams (5-4) led 21-0 at the break, as DiNucci found D'Ondre Gastion and Michael Merhaut on touchdown passes of 32 and 9 yards, respectively.

Brendan Burnham added a 25-yard touchdown run.

“We had a tough loss last week and didn't play to our potential,” Rams coach Eric Kasperowicz said. “We wanted to get our mojo back, and we played well.”

Gastion, a junior, finished with eight catches for 110 yards.

The Rams' leading rusher, junior Connor Slomka, didn't play Friday.

“He's a little banged up from the season, and we rested him to get ready for the playoffs,” Kasperowicz said.

With Slomka out, six Pine-Richland runners gained 149 yards on 33 carries.

The Plum offense was limited to 65 total yards — 23 rushing and 42 passing.

Freshmen Kevin Brown and Nick Coxon combined for 41 rushing yards on 19 carries.

Mustangs standout junior running back and inside linebacker Nathan Turchick suffered a left shoulder injury in the first quarter and didn't return.

“That was tough,” Morgan said. “He is the heart and soul of this team. It hurt not having him in there.”

Michael Love is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at

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