Dynamic duo helps Mt. Pleasant pound Charleroi
Mt. Pleasant came into Friday's Interstate Conference battle with winless Charleroi featuring one of the top running backs in the WPIAL in Tyler Mellors.
Mellors didn't disappoint, rushing for 120 yards on nine carries and scoring two touchdowns.
And the Vikings also displayed a solid passing attack as quarterback Ryan Gumbita hit on 7 of 9 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns in a 54-14 win.
Mellors and Gumbita did all of their damage in the first half as Mt. Pleasant (4-0, 4-0) took a 48-0 halftime lead.
“We knew they were a good running team, and I know (Mt. Pleasant coach Bo Ruffner) and his quarterback and what they can do, as well,” Charleroi coach Ed Jenkins said. “At some point, to advance further in the playoffs, they will need the kind of balance they showed tonight.
“That's a good football team, but we made enough mistakes to help them out.”
Charleroi (0-4, 0-4) not only blew pass coverages that allowed Vikings receivers to run free in their secondary, but the Cougars also fumbled three times in the first half and gave up an interception return for a score.
Mt. Pleasant took a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game as Gumbita found a wide-open Joey Paul for a 53-yard scoring strike.
After the Cougars punted on their next possession, the Vikings needed just two plays to make the score 13-0 as Taylor Allison ran 17 yards before Mellors ran 54 yards to the end zone.
Charleroi fumbled on its next possession and gave Mt. Pleasant the ball at the Cougars' 16. Two plays later, Allison went in from 2 yards out, and the score was 20-0 with 3:04 left in the quarter.
The second quarter was worse for Charleroi as Mt. Pleasant scored four touchdowns.
Gumbita hit Tim Hostetler with a 61-yard scoring pass to make the score 27-0. Then, the Vikings scored three more times in the final 3:94 of the half to blow the game open.
First, Mellors capped a 62-yard drive by scoring from 1 yard out. Then, after a Charleroi fumble, Gumbita hit Andrew Puskar from 28 yards out to make the score 41-0. On the last play of the half, Mt. Pleasant's Ryan Ballew picked off a desperation pass from Charleroi's Brendan Matthews and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown.
Trailing, 48-0, Charleroi scored two quick touchdowns during the continuous-clock third quarter.
Tommy Mathers capped a 54-yard drive to start the quarter with a 17-yard scoring run. The diminutive Mathers broke several tackles on his way to the end zone.
On Charleroi's next possession, Matthews teamed up with Jimmy Diaz on a 76-yard touchdown with 4:24 left in the quarter.
Mt. Pleasant added a touchdown in the fourth quarter as Nathan Pleszak scored on a 14-yard run.
“It's disappointing when you put in a week of work and the kids understand the material and then come out and start like we did,” Jenkins said. “It's frustrating.
“We've played some of the best teams in the conference. And I don't know if there were games we should win, but we should not play like we have. We expect to come out and be more competitive, and that's what's hardest to swallow.”
Three of the four teams Charleroi has played — Jeannette, Washington and Mt. Pleasant — are undefeated.
Jeff Oliver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.