Senior leads Fox Chapel to victory after long layoff
PLUM: Stan Malyszka picked up where he left off a year ago.
Fox Chapel's senior receiver tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the Foxes' 2001 opener against Plum and missed the rest of the season.
Fittingly, Plum was the opponent for Malyszka's first game back Friday night.
And Stan was the man against the Mustangs.
Malyszka hauled in a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Evans with 6:56 remaining to lift the Foxes to 20-13 nonconference victory at Mustang Stadium.
"This is one of the best feelings ever," Malyszka said. "I've been waiting for this game against them for a while. I have it marked on my calendar."
Malyszka caught four passes for 57 yards and carried the ball twice on reverses for another 34 yards.
Fox Chapel won its season opener for the first time since 1997.
"These guys have worked hard for it," Fox Chapel coach Todd Massack said. "We made some mistakes on both sides of the ball, but we kept it positive and kept our composure, and that will make us a better team."
The Foxes' Jim Goerss rushed 29 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Goerss ran 7 yards through the middle of the Plum defense for a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Foxes had opportunities to add to their lead in the second quarter but fumbled the ball away twice deep in Plum's end of the field.
Plum, which generated only 50 yards of offense in the first half, tied the game at 6-all on Zach VanLemmeren's 30-yard touchdown pass to Alvin Hill early in the third quarter.
Fox Chapel answered with an 80-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Goerss. The Foxes tried a two-point conversion, but Plum's Steve DiTommaso stuffed Evans on a keeper at the goal line to keep Fox Chapel's lead at 12-6.
On Plum's next possession, Mike Lewandowski was stood up near the line of scrimmage by Fox Chapel's defense, then dropped the ball.
The loose ball was recovered by Fox Chapel's Lance Asbee, but the referees ruled that the play already had been whistled dead.
"The referee came over to me and told me it was a fumble, but there was an inadvertent whistle," Massack said. "My hat's off to Plum. They capitalized on the next play."
Van Lemmeren found Hill streaking down the left sideline for a 55-yard score. Bryan Wikovitz's extra-point kick gave the Mustangs a 13-12 lead with 2:09 left in the third quarter.
"We were down, but we realized we still had a whole quarter left to play," Malyszka said.
Tim Frank recovered a Plum fumble at the Mustangs' 32-yard line. Four plays later, Evans hit Malyszka on a slant pattern for the winning score, and the pair also hooked up on a two-point conversion pass.
Fox Chapel's defense stopped the Mustangs on downs at midfield with two minutes remaining. Then, with just under a minute to play, Plum fumbled a punt that was picked up by Fox Chapel's Justin Papariella.
"We're so young. We have nine new starters on defense and eight on offense," Plum coach Bill Rometo said. "We're inexperienced, and it showed tonight."