Mt. Lebanon up next for Plum
The Plum and Mt. Leba- non football teams last met in the first round of the 2010 WPIAL Quad-A playoffs, and that night, the Blue Devils scored a 35-14 victory.
There is a new coach in place at Mt. Lebanon, as Chris Haering, who guided the Blue Devils for 17 seasons, won 111 games and a WPIAL title in 2000, moved on to an assistant position with the Pitt football program.
The new coach is Mike Melnyk, a 13-year head coach at Manheim Township in District 3, and despite the change in offensive and defensive coaching philosophies, Plum head coach Frank Sacco knows the Blue Devils will pose the same challenge they always do.
The teams meet Friday at Mt. Lebanon in a Quad Central Conference game, and kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
“They always have great athletes, and that is important, no matter what the system is,” Sacco said.
“They have a big offensive line. They average 265 to 270 across the front. Their skill players are very talented.”
Plum will be on the road for the second week in a row. On Friday, the Mustangs were tied with Baldwin at halftime before the Highlanders, led by senior tailback Dorian Brown, broke open the game en route to a 35-7 victory.
Mt. Lebanon rebounded last week from a tough opening loss to Quad-A No. 1-ranked North Allegheny to upend Bethel Park, 17-7.
The Blue Devils, more of a running team in recent history, have passed more this year, and senior quarterback Tyler Roth and 6-foot-2 junior receiver Troy Apke lead the way.
Roth and Apke connected on a 55-yard touchdown pass in the second half against Bethel Park, and Roth finished nine of 18 passing for 122 yards.
Plum players hope to generate more offense this week, as they showed stretches of strong offensive play against Baldwin.
Mustangs senior quarterback Corey DeLoach and senior wideout Tevin Odom connected on a 11-yard pass for the team's lone score last Friday.
It was 7-7 at halftime.
“We put a nice drive together in the first half and really ate some clock up,” Sacco said. “The offensive line did a really nice job, and the backs were hitting the holes well. We also threw a nice screen pass on the drive.
“Defensively, we settled down after they broke their first touchdown.
For Baldwin, Brown had two rushing touchdowns and added one receiving, and he finished with 14 carries for 167 yards.
“Brown was able to take over the game in the second half with his athleticism and play-making ability,” Sacco said.
“He was a hard runner and tough to bring down. He was every thing as advertised.”
Sacco said he was pleased with the improvement of the special teams against Baldwin after giving up four special-teams scores against Bethel Park.
“Jake DiGuilio blocked a punt and we recovered it,” Sacco said.
“Dylan Kondis did a tremendous job punting Friday night. He hit 35 to 40 yards every time and was angling the ball toward the sidelines. Our punt and kickoff coverage was a lot better, too.
“Our effort is still there,” Sacco said. “We just have to be able to put together a full game.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.