Seton-La Salle shakes off scare from Steel Valley
A crushing block by Rashad McKinnon sprung D'Andre Pickens down the sideline for an 84-yard punt return, and Steel Valley climbed within a touchdown of the second-ranked Class AA team in the WPIAL late in the first half Friday.
The home crowd was rocking, and it got louder when McKinnon leveled Rick Mellick for a 2-yard loss on Seton-La Salle's ensuing offensive play.
Steel Valley had its Century Conference foe on the ropes, and everybody inside William V. Campbell Field knew it … except for maybe third-string running back Dequay Broadwater, who helped the Rebels escape a scare with a 34-7 victory.
Luke Brumbaugh dumped a middle screen to Broadwater on a third-and-12 deep in their territory, and he juked his way 70 yards for a touchdown. The game-altering play gave Seton-LaSalle a 21-7 lead with less than two minutes left in the first half.
“Boy, that was big,” Seton-La Salle coach Greg Perry said. “Their fans start to get in the game, and when we came back and scored, you could almost feel that air come out of the place. Momentum is such a big thing in high school sports.”
Steel Valley coach Rodney Steele was lamenting the play long after the game ended.
“You can't let that happen,” Steele said. “It was a mental letdown by one of the kids to let the back slip free. When you make mental mistakes against quality opponents, it always comes back to haunt you. It's been the same song for the past two weeks for us.”
After starting the season 2-0 by outscoring its opponents, 76-7, Steel Valley has dropped two in a row by a combined score of 84-7.
“They are a tough and physical football team,” Perry said. “We knew that coming in. They hit us hard.”
But the Ironmen had no answer for Brumbaugh and Seton-La Salle's big plays.
Brumbaugh threw for 229 yards and touchdowns passes of 70 and 74 yards and ran in another, and Tom Rizza scored on a 40-yard touchdown run.
“We have some big-play capabilities,” Perry said. “We didn't throw too many times, but when we did, it was effectively.”
Louie Rotunda caught four passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, and Broadwater added four catches for 91 yards and a score.
Steel Valley (2-2, 2-2) got 70 yards rushing from Pickens plus his punt-return touchdown, which were the first points Seton-La Salle has allowed this season.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org