Serious sack time
Yough coach Jim Wehner is known as an offensive wiz.
But the Cougars' new coach knows a little bit about defense, too.
Wehner and defensive coordinator Bill Schrecengost devised a defense to pressure the Uniontown quarterback. It worked like a charm.
Yough's defense sacked Uniontown quarterbacks Steve Kezmarsky and Michael Dvorchak a combined eight times, and linebacker Cody Wilson returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, as Yough blitzed Uniontown, 22-14, in Friday night's WPIAL Class AAA Keystone Conference battle for first place at Cougar Mountain.
"Turnovers, big plays and their defense were the difference," Uniontown coach John Fortugna said. "We practiced all week picking it up. They just made the plays."
Yough, which improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the conference, started quickly. The Cougars scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Brad Janiro hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Shaffer on a fourth-and-16 to highlight a 10-play, 81-yard drive on the first possession. The Cougars also converted two third and long plays.
Shaffer connected with Craig Sedunov on a 41-yard pass, and then hit Janiro for 15 yards. Shaffer completed 8 of 15 passes for 148 yards.
On the second possession, Sedunov capped the second drive with a 34-yard gallop to cap a 5-play, 57-yard drive.
Yough extended its lead to 16-0 in the second quarter after Janiro pinned Uniontown back at its one with a 64-yard punt. On first down, Yough's Jesse Lachimia and Shaffer tackled running back Greg Uphold for a safety.
"We told the players all week that if they came out and set the tone, we'd be OK," Wehner said. "We relaxed late and it almost cost us."
Uniontown, which turned the ball over three times, got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Uphold caught a 6-yard pass from Steve Kezmarsky. The score trimmed the score to 16-6 at halftime.
Wilson's interception return early in the third quarter pushed Yough's lead to 22-6. Wilson finished with 93 yards on 18 carries.
After Wilson's score, the Cougars' defense took over the game. They allowed a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Uniontown was held to a minus 35 yards rushing. Kezmarsky (10 of 19 for 128 yards) and Dvorchak (10-15-98) combined to complete 20 of 34 passes for 226 yards.
Dvorchak hit Uphold with a 4-yard scoring strike with 23.8 seconds left.
Uniontown did recover the on-sides kick at the Yough 41, but two unsportsmanlike penalties on the Uniontown bench pushed the Red Raiders back to their 30.
"When knew every play and he (Schrecengost) coached the heck out of the players," Wehner said. "Craig knew where every play was going."
Sedunov, who rushed for 51 yards, bruised his back after getting hit late on his touchdown run. He did electrify the large crowd in the third quarter with a nifty 88-yard touchdown run when he refused to be tackled. But the played was called back because of a holding penalty.
Yough was flagged 13 times for 125 yards.
"Coach said he was going to get me the ball, and (Friday) I did what I could," Sedunov said. "This was a great win for us. It's probably the most we've been up for a game all season."
Yough will visit Belle Vernon on Thursday, in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports Pittsburgh. Uniontown returns home to play host to Mt. Pleasant on Friday.