No. 13 Neshannock upsets Monessen
The Monessen fight song was playing after the hard-fought battle between the No. 5 Greyhounds and No. 13 Neshannock.
Sadly, though, the mantra was being played for Neshannock, who share it as its fight song, by the Lancers band celebrating Neshannock's 24-21 come-from-behind, last-second win over the Greyhounds in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals.
The Lancers drove 60 yards in just over two minutes and scored on an Ernie Burkes' dive from the 1-yard line with four seconds remaining to send the underdog Lancers (10-1) to a WPIAL semifinal date with No. 1 Clairton.
“We were out here, still trying to earn respect, and our boys fought to the very end,” Neshannock coach Fred Mozzocio said. “No one gave us a chance in this game.”
It looked as if the Lancers' dream season was going to come to a close when Greyhounds' quarterback Chavas Rawlins hit Clintell Gillaspie on fourth down for a 20-yard touchdown pass to give Monessen a 21-17 lead.
Neshannock's Kienan Owens returned the ensuing squib kick to the Lancers' 40.
Nine plays and 40 yards later, the Lancers were staring down the end of their season with a 4th-and-10 from the Greyhounds' 20.
“During that timeout, I told the guys, ‘We're going to get this first down and we're going to win this ball game,'” Mozzocio said.
Burkes kept the drive alive by finding John Conglose for a 19-yard gain to the Monessen 1.
“The kid made a hell of a play on that pass,” Greyhounds coach Andy Pacak said. “It wasn't like we had someone out of position, they made the play. I mean ... it was a great high school football game.”
Gillaspie finished with 174 total yards, including 19 carries for 109 rushing yards.
After Eli Owens intercepted a Rawlins pass, Connor Richards booted a 22-yard field goal to give the Lancers a 3-0 first-quarter lead. The drive was aided by a roughing the kicker penalty called on the Greyhounds' Raymond Dickerson, who hit Lancers' quarterback-punter, Burkes. The snap appeared to hit the turf, which is a fumble, but the referees threw the flag.
“I thought that when the punter picked it up, he looked as if he was going to run. He made a football move,” Pacak said. “But the call was made. And that was that.”
Five plays later, the Lancers kicked the 22-yard field goal, which would later prove to be the winning margin.
“I'm not going to say that call cost us the game,” Pacak said. “They made plays and we rebounded from that.”
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org