ROGERSVILLE – The start was slow and sloppy for both Chartiers-Houston and West Greene.
Chartiers-Houston punted twice on just seven combined plays in its first two drives. West Greene punted after four plays on its first drive and fumbled the ball back to the Bucs on its second possession.
Then the floodgates opened up for the Pioneers, who came into the night with the most points scored in the WPIAL (143).
West Greene sophomore Corey Wise picked off Chartiers-Houston quarterback Anthony Lento and took it 35 yards to the end zone, snapping the Bucs’ eight-quarter shutout streak and giving the Pioneers a 6-0 lead with 2:45 left in the first quarter. That score started a stretch of 44-straight West Greene points before Chartiers-Houston finally cracked the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter.
It was too little, too-late for the Bucs as the Pioneers rolled to a convincing 51-12 win Friday night to advance to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Tri-County South Conference.
“They did a good job early on and we weren’t blocking especially well,” said West Greene head coach Brian Hanson. “We had some missed assignments. Overall, it’s hard to say when you score 51 points, but we played a sloppy football game. Not happy about that, but I’m happy with the result.”
Following the initial pick-six, Pioneer quarterback Gavin Scott hit wide receiver Austin Crouse deep on a 47-yard play-action touchdown pass, just the team’s sixth pass attempt of the year, to give West Greene a 12-0 lead over Chartiers-Houston.
Despite recovering another fumble, this time by West Greene running back Ben Jackson, the Bucs could not overcome the Pioneer defense. After Chartiers-Houston turned the ball over on downs, Jackson made up for his mistake with 2:29 left in the first half with a 50-yard touchdown run to give his team an 18-0 lead.
Lento threw another interception on the ensuing drive, setting up West Greene with 35 seconds left on their own 43 yard-line. Jackson took a handoff 17 yards, then fumbled right to teammate Nathan Orndoff, who finished off the job and took the ball 40 yards to the end zone. The Pioneers entered the locker room with a comfortable 24-0 lead.
West Greene didn’t let off at all over the final two quarters as Jackson rushed for three more scores and Kolin Walker added a 15-yard touchdown. Jackson completed his night with 17 carries for 268 yards and four touchdowns, and Walker added 96 yards and a touchdown.
“We knew we had to group and gang tackle. We couldn’t tackle them all the time consistently one-on-one, so we practiced a lot on pursuit – hitting and wrapping,” said Chartiers-Houston head coach Terry Fetsko. “We tackled well, we are doing a good job, but they’re two quality running backs and if you give them the ball enough they’re going to make plays.”
Chartiers-Houston got both of its touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Lento found Jacob Mele for a three-yard score with 9:23 left to bring the score to 44-6. Then, with five seconds remaining, freshman quarterback Terry Fetsko hit Justin Beekley for a 16-yard touchdown.
“Like I told the players, bad things happen to you – it’s how you respond to them,” coach Fetsko said. “We have a good group of kids. They’ll come back, they’ll respond. We have to work hard and come out and play hard, and we will.”