Mt. Pleasant edges McGuffey in high-scoring affair
Mt. Pleasant senior running back Trevor Salopek used his blistering speed to mesmerize McGuffey's defense Friday night.
Salopek just wished he had some spell that would've given him a chance to finish the Vikings' season-opening win.
Cramps late in the third quarter caused Salopek to miss a topsy-turvy conclusion to Mt. Pleasant's 45-39 win over Interstate Conference foe McGuffey (0-1, 0-1) at Viking Stadium. Salopek, a former wide receiver who moved to running back for this season, raced his way to 137 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries, with 107 of those yards and all of the scores coming in the first half.
He left the game following a kickoff with 1:57 left in the third quarter and did not return, despite trying to walk off the cramps on the sideline.
“I just wanted to make it magically disappear and go away,” Salopek said. “But it just wouldn't.”
With Salopek and junior running back Jake Adamrovich absent for the game's home stretch — Adamrovich suffered a separated shoulder less than a minute into the second half — Mt. Pleasant's offense cooled off, McGuffey rallied to score 20 fourth-quarter points with feisty play from senior quarterback Nate Whipkey and senior James Duchi.
Whipkey threw for 157 yards and one touchdown — 131 yards came in the second half — and also rushed for 97 yards and two scores.
Duchi rushed for 125 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries.
However, his final carry led to a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-2 at Mt. Pleasant's 27-yard line with 2:08 left in the game.
“On that down, I had a play and I didn't use it,” McGuffey coach Ed Dalton said. “That's my fault. I didn't play to win. I played for the first down.”
Salopek stole the show just minutes into the game with his ability to beat defenders to the sideline and turn the corner.
His 12-yard touchdown run put Mt. Pleasant ahead of McGuffey, 7-6, with 6:43 left in the first quarter.
Two Mt. Pleasant possessions later, Salopek again went wide to the right side of the field and then raced by the Highlanders for a 72-yard touchdown.
Even with just a few yards in which to work, Salopek still impressed. During his third touchdown run, a 3-yard sweep, the senior swiveled his hips enough to throw off a would-be tackler's balance and strolled into the end zone untouched.
Just in case the Highlanders still didn't comprehend his speed, Salopek snagged an interception in the first half's final minute and zoomed past McGuffey on the way to a 52-yard touchdown return.
“We knew he's fast; he's a track kid,” Mt. Pleasant coach Bo Ruffner said. “He had that speed at wide receiver last year, so we knew he'd have it at running back.”
Adamrovich finished with 69 yards on 10 carries in the first half.