Plum gunning for senior-night magic against rival Indians
The Plum football seniors, along with those in the band and the cheerleaders, will be honored before and during Friday's game against Penn Hills at Mustangs Stadium.
The rivalry with the Indians is renewed in the new Quad Central Conference, and Plum players hope to celebrate senior night with a victory and snap the string of six losses to start this season and a 13-game losing skid dating back to last year.
“Monday through Thursday, they practice hard,” Plum head coach Frank Sacco said.
“They keep fighting and battling for each other. They want to be accountable for each other and for the coaching staff. They are good kids and are working hard. They want so bad to get to where they need to be. A lot of times, they make mistakes because they try to do too much. That happens with a young team and a team trying to overcome things.”
Plum wasn't able to get the offense going in last Friday's 42-0 conference loss to Peters Township.
The Mustangs generated 66 yards of total offense.
“We have to continue to do a better job offensively,” Sacco said. “I have to do a better job at play calling. We also have to do a better job blocking all the way around, from the line to the backs, to be successful.”
Peters Township led 16-0 before scoring two touchdowns in the final 18 seconds of the second quarter to extend its advantage at halftime.
A kickoff miscue set up the second score.
“There were times in the second quarter we were really playing nice team defense,” Sacco said.
“We just have to avoid the mistakes we had at the end of the second quarter. We were in the ball game up to that point.”
Sacco said senior linebacker Jake DiGuilio and sophomore linebacker Nathan Turchick had strong games defensively for the second week in a row.
“They've looked really good as a linebacker tandem,” Sacco said.
Penn Hills comes into the game smarting after a 31-7 loss to Bethel Park last Friday. It was the Indians' third loss in a row and fourth in six games this season.
Penn Hills suffered a close 21-20 nonconference loss to North Hills two weeks ago and was on the wrong end of a 27-0 shutout at the hands of Quad-A power Upper St. Clair on Sept. 21. Peters Township got the better of Penn Hills, 14-0, on Sept. 7.
“I think Penn Hills is a pretty good football team,” Sacco said. “They are in the same boat we are having played some pretty tough teams. They play everybody pretty tough, and it seems like they are in every game.”
Senior quarterback Darius Holloway is a dual-threat quarterback who has fared well so far this season.
“Offensively, they spread you out and use their skill kids well,” Sacco said.
“They have some nice athletes, and they like to get them out into space.”
“We have to be able to contain Holloway,” Sacco said. “When they spread you out, if he doesn't see something, he's not afraid to tuck it under and run. We have to keep him in check.”
Senior Aaron Bailey is a veteran running back who often is called upon to gain yards.
“Bailey runs really hard, and they have some nice size up front,” Sacco said.
“They have a 320-pound- er and a 280-pounder on the offensive line.”
Sacco said he's impress- ed with Penn Hills' defense.
“They run a 3-5-3 defense and utilize their linebackers,” Sacco said. “They are aggressive and get after the ball.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.