Monessen beats Brentwood with special teams, defense
Brentwood and Monessen traded big plays and blunders for the majority of their Black Hills Conference game Friday night at Brentwood Stadium.
In the end, Monessen was able to overcome its biggest mistakes.
The Greyhounds' late defensive stand inside their own 20-yard line made the difference, as Monessen (2-0, 2-0) came away with a 35-28 victory.
Monessen turned the ball over twice and had two punts blocked, but the Greyhounds prevailed, thanks to big plays on offense, defense and special teams, as well as Brentwood's own mistakes.
Brentwood's Chris Shortley passed for 182 yards and two touchdowns, but Monessen intercepted him three times, returning one for a crucial second-half touchdown that gave the Greyhounds the lead for good.
Justin Vickless added 197 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries for Brentwood (1-1, 1-1), but he fumbled at Monessen's 1-yard line with six seconds left in the first half.
“Big plays killed us,” Brentwood coach Kevin Kissel said. “And not getting in from the 1-yard line at the end of the first half, that hurt.”
Brandon Lenhart returned a Shortley interception 41 yards for a touchdown, and Javon Brown added an 85-yard punt return for a score in the second half.
Brentwood cut the lead to 35-28 on a Shortley pass to Bill Madeja, but couldn't complete the comeback.
While defenses made the biggest plays in the second half, the offenses ruled the opening 24 minutes.
The teams traded turnovers on downs on their opening possessions, with Brentwood's drive dying inside the Monessen 20-yard line.
Three plays later, Monessen's Chavas Rawlins found Clintell Gillaspie, who broke two tackles en route to a 79-yard touchdown.
Brentwood tied it up after a Monessen mistake.
Rawlins, the Greyhounds' punter, fumbled the snap on fourth down at his own 12-yard line. Vickless punched it in on the next play.
After the teams traded scores — Brentwood's coming on another short field following a Monessen fumble — Rawlins again found Gillaspie, who broke more Brentwood tackles on an 87-yard score.
Monessen's speed overwhelmed Brentwood.
“It's nice to have, I can't even lie,” Monessen coach Andy Pacak said. “It's a game-changer. Between Clintell on those two runs, Brown on the return and Chavas doing what he does, it's a nice combination.”
Doug Gulasy can be reached at email@example.com.