Mars football runs past Elizabeth Forward in 1st round
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Mars did what it does best and ran the ball to a 38-21 victory over Elizabeth Forward (6-4) on Friday in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
Senior Josh Schultheis, the WPIAL's fourth-leading rusher, finished with 19 carries for 100 yards, and Jason Lozzi added 88 on 11 carries to lead the Planets offense. They ran for two scores each.
“We all had our share of the ball this game, and that's how it should be,” Schultheis said. “You share the love, and that's how it works, and it worked out great (Friday).”
The Planets (9-1) rode an eight-game winning streak into the playoffs, but the first-round win was different than the rest.
“It's not just another win,” Schultheis said. “It's ‘guys, we're in the playoffs. We're moving on to Week 2, and Heinz Field is in sight.' That's the ultimate goal.”
Although Mars finished with a three-score win, it took a dominant second half to put away the Warriors.
Trailing 21-13 at the start of the second half, Elizabeth Forward drove 80 yards on 11 plays, including a 54-yard catch-and-run on a pass from Jaquan Davidson to Matthew Bernadowski, for a touchdown. After Davidson scored on a 4-yard plunge, the dynamic senior found Brandon Barr in the back of the end zone on the 2-point conversion to tie the game 21-21.
“We were calm at halftime. We knew what we needed to do,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer said. “Our kids came through when they needed to come through, and we felt our backs against the wall a little bit.”
The Planets answered right back with an 8-yard touchdown from Lozzi, capping an eight-play, 60-yard drive. Mars led the rest of the way.
“Mars played as a team, and they wanted it more than us, I think, in the second half,” Davidson said. “That's why they came out with the victory and are heading to the second round of the playoffs.”
Davidson, a Pitt recruit, gave his team a scare when he came off the field late in the second quarter after an apparent neck injury on a quarterback-sneak attempt. He returned for the second half.
“I just blanked out real fast,” Davidson said. “But I got back in. My team needed me.”
Davidson finished 9-of-22 passing for 154 yards and added 80 yards rushing on 23 carries.
The Planets will face Central Valley in the next round of the playoffs, and Heinauer knows his team will have to be at its best if it want to advance.
“We have to play better,” he said. “We had one turnover and a couple untimely penalties. If we can not have that, I think we'll be in the ballgame against Central Valley.”
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Former South Park coach Loughran optimistic about Fox Chapel’s prospects
- Players benefit from A-K Valley 7-on-7, Big Man Challenge
- High school notebook: Christy will join Knoch football staff
- Kiski Area to host Alle-Kiski Valley 7-on-7 Passing Competition and Big Man Challenge
- Armstrong football captures 7-on-7 title at Alle-Kiski Valley competition