Neshannock responds to trash talk with win over Monessen
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A handful of Monessen players strutted and pranced onto the field Friday, eliciting a personal foul penalty for taunting Neshannock before the opening coin toss.
But the Greyhounds exited battered and humbled following a 35-6 drubbing by the Lancers in a WPIAL Class A quarterfinal at Chartiers-Houston.
For the second straight year, Neshannock (9-2) upset the higher-seeded Greyhounds (10-2). The sixth-seeded Lancers advance to face No. 2 seed North Catholic on Friday at a site and time to be determined.
“We're Neshannock. Teams don't take us seriously so we're always out with something to prove,” Neshannock coach Fred Mozzocio said. “We have a chip on our shoulder every week, and we'll have one next week as well.”
Quarterback David “Ernie” Burkes accounted for four first-half touchdowns, two passing and two rushing, as Neshannock sprinted to a 28-0 halftime lead.
Tailback Elijah Owens rushed for 160 yards on 23 carries and scored the Lancers' final touchdown. He amassed nearly 100 yards in the third quarter alone.
“There's nothing they ran we didn't practice over and over again, but to go live against them with that speed and the way their linemen come out, that's difficult to simulate at practice,” Monessen coach Andy Pacak said.
“We wanted to run the ball, but they jumped up on us and it took us out of what we wanted to do. When you get that far behind, you've got to try and come back.”
The Lancers bolted to a 14-0 lead on their first two possessions as Burkes ran for touchdowns of 19 and 23 yards. On both plays, he took a shotgun snap, faked an end-around, feigned a handoff to Owens and dashed to the end zone.
“Ernie Burkes is one of the best playmakers in the WPIAL, bar none,” Mozzocio said. “Our offensive line got clicking, we stayed to our game plan and kept pounding away and they ended up wearing down a little and Eli took over in the second half.”
The Monessen offense sputtered, managing just 50 yards and one first down in the first half. Running backs Javon Brown and Clintell Gillaspie finished with 36 yards on 13 carries.
Meanwhile, Monessen quarterbacks Noah Rullo and Justice Rawlins tossed four interceptions while completing just 7 of 21 attempts.
Of Monessen's 88 passing yards, nearly half came on the final play of the game when Rawlins hit Gillaspie on a broken play for a 34-yard touchdown. Monessen didn't bother to kick the extra point following its lone score.
“From start to finish, we executed on both sides of the ball and just got after them,” Mozzocio said. “Our defensive front seven shut down their run from the very start and got constant pressure when they tried passing.”
Rullo took several hard shots while attempting passes and came out of the game for good with 8:50 remaining. Monessen entered the game as the No. 3 seed in Class A.
“I'm surprised we got the hell beat out of us, but the turnovers are hard to overcome,” Pacak said. “You turn the ball over that many times against a team like that, and that's all she wrote.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.
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.
- Yough happy to be out of the Greater Allegheny
- Baldwin-Whitehall school board blocks change to football team coaching staff
- Gorman: Farewell to a classy coach
- Clairton players offer video apology to Bishop Guilfoyle
- Opinions differ on more classifications for high school football
- Hamilton retires as Blackhawk football coach