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Plum and Canon Mac both looking for first win of season

Michael Love
| Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Something has to give when Plum and Canon-McMillan do battle Friday evening.

The Mustangs and Big Macs both have been on the wrong side of the score in each of their first four games, and both are hoping to make work in practice this week pay off on the scoreboard.

“Over the first four games, we were playing some pretty good football teams,” Plum head coach Frank Sacco said.

“The kids are staying positive and still playing hard. We have to continue put things together, and, like I said before, good things will happen for this football team. We can get this thing on the right path if we keep plugging away.”

Plum fell behind early to Woodland Hills last week and couldn't recover in a 35-0 Quad Central Conference loss at Mustangs Stadium.

“We were still flying to the ball defensively, but Woodland is so fast, and it's hard to match up with their speed. A lot of teams have trouble matching up with their speed.”

Canon-McMillan hasn't scored a point since week one's 20-13 loss to Penn Hills. The Big Macs were shut out, 44-0, by Bethel Park last week, and they also were shut out by WPIAL powers Upper St. Clair (50-0) and Pittsburgh Central Catholic (44-0).

“The WPIAL didn't do them any favors giving them Central Catholic as a nonconference game,” Sacco said. “They've played some top-quality teams. They do some good things.”

Canon-McMillian, like most teams on Plum's schedule, owns a size advantage along the offensive line.

Big Macs sophomore tackle Alex Paulina is pushing 300 pounds, and senior guard Torre Carr is a Division I prospect.

Senior tight end Alex Campbell, at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, also is getting Division I looks.

Plum senior offensive tackle Chip Kress (6-4, 245) didn't play against Woodland Hills because of injury, and the Mustangs coaches had to shift some people around on the line.

Sacco said Kress will be back this week.

Also expected back in the lineup is sophomore lineman Nate Kunkel.

“Both teams are looking for a win,” Sacco said. “It's going to be the team which is hungrier. Hopefully, we're the hungrier team.”

Plum and Canon-McMillan meet for the first time since the programs played a home-and-home series in 1994 and 1995. The Mustangs won the 1994 game, 31-21, and the 1995 matchup, 27-6.

With two trips to the South Hills already this season, plus many of the players experiencing last year's trip to Altoona, Sacco said the trip across town and down 79 to Canonsburg shouldn't be an issue.

“The players aren't making a big deal about it,” Sacco said. “They know what to expect and what they need to do to be ready.”

Sacco said he's happy with the continued progression of his young running backs, including sophomores Kyle Smecker, Joe DeFelice, Nick Robb and Zach Martin.

“They're sophomores and are learning on the fly,” Sacco said. “They're blocking for each other and are doing some good things.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at

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