West Mifflin football earns OT win over Central Valley
DiAngelo Mitchell knew exactly what the situation meant as it unfolded.
Central Valley's all-everything Robert Foster broke into the open field in a tie game with no time on the clock after Stanford band-like laterals, and the Warriors were about to pull off one of the most miraculous victories in WPIAL playoff history.
But that's just about when Mitchell, 30 yards behind Foster, heard West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo's voice in his head.
“Coach says that hustle wins the game, so I just hustled,” Mitchell said. “I thought he was going to score. I saw him break loose and when I saw him keep cutting, I just tried to time it up and made the tackle.”
Mitchell raced down the field and tackled Foster at the 10-yard line, sending the game into overtime — where West Mifflin advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA championship for the first time since 2004 when Derrick Fulmore dove into the end zone for a two-point conversion that gave the Titans a 36-35 win.
“We kind of told them all week that if we were going to win, we had to out-hustle him,” Braszo said. “What an unbelievable game that was.”
The Titans (11-1) will take on West Allegheny for the Class AAA title Friday. It will be a rematch of the 2000 title game that West Allegheny won, 21-7.
West Mifflin used a two-headed rushing attack of Jimmy Wheeler and Fulmore to advance to its third title game since the merger of West Mifflin North and South in 1985. Fulmore rushed for 162 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns, and Wheeler added 141 yards on 34 carries and a score.
Foster finished with 147 yards rushing and three touchdowns. His athleticism bothered West Mifflin the entire game and was the reason why the Titans elected to go for two in overtime.
“Definitely, that's why we went,” Braszo said. “(Foster) made us kick off the way we did, punt the way we did.”
After Mitchell was able to haul down Foster to send the game into overtime, Central Valley wasted no time taking the lead. Foster scored from 5 yards out to make it 35-28. West Mifflin answered on its first play of overtime with a Fulmore 10-yard run. Dom Gajdos-Benson's kick appeared to send the game into a second overtime, but the Warriors were called for offsides.
“Once we made the decision, it was just figuring out what we were going to run,” Braszo said. “Derrick thought we could wedge it and so we went for it.”
Fulmore's quarterback sneak over the right side of the line gave West Mifflin the victory.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.