ShareThis Page
News

Greensburg Salem ousted by Blackhawk

| Saturday, Oct. 30, 2004

In Boston, the curse is no more, but for Greensburg Salem, the first-round jinx goes on.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Golden Lions were ousted from the WPIAL playoffs in the first round. In front of a sparse, rain-deterred crowd Friday night at Greensburg's Offutt Field, Blackhawk (7-3) exploded for 24 points in the third quarter and defeated Greensburg Salem, 38-9, to advance to the Class AAA quarterfinals against Moon next week.

With the Cougars clinging to a precarious 10-9 lead midway through the third quarter, Greensburg Salem's Matt Boe's 34-yard field goal attempt was blocked, a defensive play Blackhawk coach Joe Hamilton called the "turning point of the game."

Three plays later, the Cougars resorted to some Halloween trickery with a halfback option pass from Jeremy Bruce to Jeff Halbig for 82 yards and a touchdown, for a 17-9 Blackhawk lead. Two plays into Greensburg Salem's next possession, Blackhawk's Eric Petre intercepted a Golden Lions pass at the Greensburg Salem 28 and returned the ball to the one, from where Bruce scored one play later.

Bruce wasn't finished. He intercepted a Josh Williams pass and returned the ball for a 35-yard touchdown and a 31-9 Blackhawk lead. Bruce, who has committed to play at West Virginia next year, finished the Cougars' scoring with a four-yard run midway through the fourth quarter. Bruce led all ball carriers with 95 yards on 26 attempts.

"What's bad about this is that someone from out of town will see the final score and think it was a rout," Greensburg Salem (8-2) coach George Kemerer said. "The final score is not indicative of what happened. We weren't able to run the ball (41 net yards on 23 attempts), but we threw the ball pretty well."

In fact, Greensburg Salem came out of the lockerroom throwing, passing on its first three plays. "Blackhawk is big up front and we weren't sure we could run, so our game plan was to throw," Kemerer said.

After Blackhawk took a 10-3 lead early in the third quarter, Greensburg Salem needed only one play to score. Anthony Manley connected with Brennan Marion on a 75-yard touchdown pass to narrow the Cougars' lead to 10-9. Marion hauled in Manley's pass along the left sideline, sidestepped one defender, stumbled when another attempted to push him out of bounds, but regained his balance and tightroped his way into the end zone. Greensburg Salem's conversion attempt failed due to a mishandled snap from center.

When Greensburg Salem's Christian Johnson recovered a Blackhawk fumble on the Cougars' first play following the ensuing kickoff, momentum swung to the Golden Lions' bench. But the blocked field goal ended Greensburg Salem's scoring chances and season.

Despite the loss, Kemerer was more than positive in a subdued Golden Lions' lockerroom following the game.

"This was a tremendous season," Kemerer said. "This has been a great group of players to be around all year. I couldn't be more proud of what they accomplished. Our goal was to win a second consecutive Keystone Conference title, and we achieved that goal. This team has much to be proud of."

Manley, incidentally, who left the game late in the third quarter with what Kemerer speculated as being a "slight concussion," completed 12-of-24 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me