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Plum football team to tackle Baldwin in home opener

Michael Love
| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Plum head football coach Matt Morgan said he knows his team can play better than it did in Friday's season-opening 38-0 loss to Bethel Park.

The Mustangs will get the chance to prove him right Friday at home against Quad Central foe Baldwin at 7 p.m.

“You can't win a game if you don't execute and you turn the ball over,” Morgan said after Friday's game.

“We have to move forward and work to improve instead of feeling sorry for ourselves.”

The Highlanders finished seventh in the Quad Central Conference last season. They were 2-6 in conference and 3-6 overall.

The two conference wins were against Canon McMillan and against Plum, 35-7, in week two.

The dynamic running of Dorian Brown moved to Ohio University, but Baldwin's top quarterback — Doug Altavilla — and top receiver — Luke Smorey — are back.

Altavilla complimented the Baldwin running attack last season to the tune of 843 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Baldwin also features a go-to player in senior running back Nick Barca, who made the transition from wide receiver.

The Highlanders were in a tussle down to the wire with Quad Central foe Peters Township last week.

The teams combined for 47 points in the fourth quarter as the Indians pulled out a 33-28 victory.

The game was tied 7-7 heading into the fourth quarter, and Peters Township rattled off two straight touchdowns to take a 20-7 advantage.

The teams traded touchdowns the rest of the way to set the final.

Altavilla and Smorey connected twice for scores, and Smorey finished with five catches for 130 yards.

Five to 10 miles west at Bethel Park High School, the Black Hawks and the Mustangs played to a scoreless tie after one quarter.

But Bethel Park tallied 24 points in the second quarter to take a 24-0 advantage at the break.

“There were some positives (Friday),” Morgan said.

“(But) you can't give up the ball to a good team in the red zone and expect to win.”

The Plum defense forced a pair of Bethel Park three-and-outs to start the game.

However, the Black Hawks broke through on their third drive, as they moved 86 yards in 13 plays.

Bethel Park sophomore quarterback Levi Metheny capped the drive with a 10-yard run early in the second quarter. The point-after kick made it 7-0.

A bad snap on a punt and fumbles on a running play and a kickoff return gave Bethel Park three possessions deep in Plum territory. Two of the turnovers led to scores.

The Mustangs offense struggled in the first half.

Plum was limited to minus-35 yards on the ground.

Quarterback Will Fuhrer completed three of seven passes for 32 yards in the first half and finished with seven completions in 16 attempts for 72 yards. He was sacked four times, as Plum turned the ball over five times overall.

“Will didn't do too bad,” Morgan said. “He made two bad decisions with the interceptions. But you live and learn and move on from there. I know he will learn from his first game.”

Football shuttle

The Plum Borough School District again will offer a free football shuttle from AE Oblock Junior High and St. John's School.

The pregame shuttles will transport fans to the stadium beginning at 6 p.m. and will begin returning fans to these locations at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Fans are encouraged to take advantage of the shuttle service because of the limited parking at the high school.

Advance-sale tickets for home games will be available at Plum High School and AE Oblock Junior High on Thursday and Friday the week of home games.

Advance-sale adult tickets are $5, and student tickets are $3.

Elementary school student tickets are available at the gate for $3, but all other tickets on game night are $5.

Advance-sale tickets for away games will be available in the high school cafeteria during lunches on Thursdays and Fridays.

The Plum School Board approved changes for admission to extra-curricular events.

Discounted parent passes for sporting events no longer will be offered, and senior citizen Gold Cards no longer will be issued or accepted.

Plum School District employees and school board members no longer will receive complimentary admission to school-related events, including athletic contests and the school musical.

Plum hosts Baldwin Friday at 7 p.m.

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

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