Name: Landan Stevenson
Stevenson’s week: The 5-11, 170-pounder scored three touchdowns in the first quarter of Mapletown’s 20-14 victory over Northgate. The win moved the Maples’ record to 2-0. Mapletown hasn’t been 2-0 to start the season since 2000.
Stevenson scored on a two-yard run and six-yard run and kicked the extra-point on both touchdowns against Northgate. Later in the quarter, Stevenson returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown. In the final minutes of that game, Stevenson, who plays linebacker on defense, leveled a Northgate runner, jarring the ball lose and Mapletown recovered the fumble and ran out the clock.
“I’ve had five or six touchdowns in my career (for a game),” said Stevenson. “I think it was against Avella. It’s been a while sine Mapletown was 2-0. We’re trying to change the culture at Mapletown.”
“I don’t really know the last time we started 2-0,” said Mapletown head coach George Messich. “I’m terrible with time. I saw one of my former players and I asked how long he’d been out of school. I thought it was 13, 14 years and he said ‘Coach, it’s been 20 years.’”
Mapletown takes on Chartiers-Houston (1-0) this Friday in another tester.
In the Northgate game, Stevenson rushed for 129 yards on 23 carries and caught three passes for 35 yards. For the season, Stevenson has 288 yards on 39 carries, an average of 7.3 yards per attempt. Stevenson has scored four of the six rushing touchdowns Mapletown has had this season.
His rushing total is second to Braylen Lovelace of Leechburg in Class A. Lovelace has 324 yards on 20 carries, an average of 16.2 yards per carry. Stevenson is eighth in rushing in the WPIAL, all classifications.
For his career, Stevenson has more than 2,000 rushing yards.
“He’s started three years for us,” said Messich. “He has such God-given ability that if you could teach it, every team would have five or six kids like him. He’s not afraid of anybody.”
What a catch: To get away from football, Stevenson hunts and fishes on a piece of ground the family leases near Jefferson.
“I use that to go hunting and fishing,” said Stevenson. “Last year, I got an 8-pointer. The biggest fish I caught was a 6-pound bass.”
This doesn’t mean the Stevenson brothers aren’t competitive but Landan claims he has never missed anything he has seriously taken aim at. And he is just as sure his brother, Lance, would say the same thing about his ability.
“Yeah, we’re pretty competitive,” Landan said.
Compiled by Joe Tuscano