Hounds win Black Hills title
For the second time this season, the Monessen Greyhounds picked up two wins in one night.
Three weeks ago, they received a forfeit win over Imani Christian while they devoured Mountain Ridge (Md.) in a non-conference game.
Friday night at Memorial Stadium, the Greyhounds got one win in the standings when they blitzed Carlynton, 42-13, in front of a chilled senior night crowd.
The other win came in the form of Chartiers-Houston's 33-26 loss to Fort Cherry, which gives Monessen the top seed in the Black Hills Conference for the WPIAL playoffs.
Monessen (9-1, 8-1) finished as co-champs with Fort Cherry (9-1, 8-1) and Clairton (8-1, 8-1), but gets the top spot through the WPIAL tie-breaking system.
Monessen will be first, Fort Cherry second and Clairton third.
“We're happy to get the top spot in the conference,” Monessen coach Andy Pacak said. “It should help our seed in the playoffs. But, in the playoffs, everybody is 0-0 and anything goes. We have to keep working hard or none of it matters.”
Pacak added he was pleased to come out of Friday's game with no injuries.
“We're in a unique situation in that, not only are we totally healthy, but we got a couple players back so we are actually stronger going into the playoffs,” Pacak said. “For us as a staff, that is big.”
The Greyhounds were never in trouble as they took a 21-0 lead at halftime and then got three third quarter touchdowns from Clintell Gillaspie to open a 42-0 lead.
Gillaspie, who had 86 yards rushing on 14 carries, finished the regular season with 174 points to tie West Mifflin's Jimmy Wheeler for top scoring honors in the WPIAL.
Pacak was happy for Gillaspie and glad to get the win, but wasn't totally thrilled with his team's performance.
“I thought we came out sluggish,” Pacak said. “Traditionally, senior night is an emotional thing for us and I think I can credit that for our sluggish start in the first half. Our running game wasn't there and we weren't coming off the line.”
That didn't seem to matter because quarterback Noah Rullo shouldered the load with the passing game.
Rullo, who has more than 1,200 yards passing, completed 9 of his first 10 passes and finished the first half 11 of 15 for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
His first TD pass came on a fourth-and-nine when he hit a leaping Irvin Green in the end zone from 19 yards out to make it 7-0 four minutes into the game.
After Javon Brown capped an 11-play, 50-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run the first play of the second quarter to make it 14-0, Rullo was at it again.
This time, he hit Justice Rawlins from 15 yards out to make it 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
“Noah has been big for us all season,” Pacak said of his junior quarterback. “When teams bunch the line of scrimmage to stop our running game, we don't mind letting him throw it and we have a lot of kids who can catch it.”
In the third quarter, Gillaspie scored on runs of 1, 6 and 17 yards to make it 42-0.
Carlynton (4-6, 3-6) scored two touchdowns against Monessen's reserves during the running clock in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Brown finished the game with 78 yards on 9 carries for Monessen ... Brown's father, Bernard, is a member of the rap group Wu Tang Clan, and one of Wu Tang's associate groups, Wu Warlords, performed for the Greyhounds immediately after the game ... Rawlins blocked a punt Lavelle Rush and Jevonte Carlock recovered fumbles for Monessen ... Green, who caught three passes for 63 yards, also had an interception.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.