EF wins third in a row behind strong second half
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Elizabeth Forward coach Mike LeDonne gathered his team in the end zone and let out one barbaric yell.
And why not?
For a team that's had two winless seasons over the past five years, there's cause for celebration at Elizabeth Forward these days.
The Warriors exploded for 26 points in the first eight minutes of the second half and went on to beat visiting Uniontown, 33-0, in a Big Nine Conference game at Warriors Stadium.
It is EF's first three-game winning streak since opening the 2008 season 3-0, and the latest the Warriors (3-2, 3-2) have been over .500 in the conference since Oct. 8, 1999, the same year they advance to the Class AAA semifinals. LeDonne was an assistant coach on that team.
“Wow,” LeDonne said. “It's been that long?”
The next thing to check off on EF's list is qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
“This game was a very important game for both of us,” LeDonne said. “We knew with a win that we could put a stranglehold on making the playoffs.”
Rex Pearce and JaQuan Davidson, along with a stifling defense, made a postseason appearance more of a reality.
Davidson ran for three touchdowns, threw another and rushed for 100 yards, Pearce rushed for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown.
But it was the Warriors' defense that impressed LeDonne the most.
EF held Uniontown (1-4, 1-4) to 52 totals yards, including 18 in the decisive second half.
“They have been executing the defense very well,” LeDonne said. “That side of the ball really was getting after it.”
However, it was Uniontown's defense that was getting after it in the first half.
Even though EF racked up 128 yards of offense in the first half, it could only manage a 6-0 halftime lead.
“A credit to them, they hit us in the teeth in the first half,” LeDonne said. “They were very comfortable in their defense. We didn't do enough offensively to get them to move out of that on-stack. We tried to muck it up, and we thought we could.”
Elizabeth Forward got on the board following an interception by Matt Bernadowski that set the Warriors up on the Uniontown 34-yard line.
After Pearce converted a fourth-and-4, Davidson faked a handoff to Pearce out of the spread and galloped 21 yards into the end zone for a 6-0 advantage.
EF threatened again right before the half with a 12-play drive, but turned the ball over on downs with less than a minute left in the half when Davidson was pushed out of bounds just short of the first down at the 15-yard line.
“This is a game that we thought we could come out on top,” Uniontown coach John Fortugna said.
“We thought we could play with this team. Hey, we just played a bad second half. We couldn't get anything rolling on offense and on defense, we weren't tackling.”
It didn't take long for the Warriors to get on the board in the second half.
Pearce rambled 57 yards on the second play of the third quarter to give EF a 12-0 lead.
“He is a power runner, but he is faster than we thought he was,” Fortugna said.
The flood gates opened after that.
Davidson hit Matt Diehl for a 42-yard touchdown pass two minutes later; Davidson sneaked in from the 1-yard line two minutes after that; then scored from 18 yards out four minutes after that to give EF a 33-0 lead.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sabres hire Bylsma as coach; Penguins receive 3rd-round pick
- Penguins GM Rutherford ‘wouldn’t make’ Despres trade today
- Starkey: Kang story of the year for Pirates
- Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers
- Pirates pitching prospect Kingham undergoes Tommy John surgery
- Taliani’s 3 homers propel Deer Lakes to 2nd WPIAL softball title in 4 seasons
- Man uninjured after leap from Hulton Bridge
- I-79 work to cause lane restrictions through June 30
- Crews rescue worker trapped in Lawrenceville trench collapse
- Officer: Munhall driver in fatal crash was going too fast to make turn
- Police seek help finding missing Squirrel Hill man