Westmoreland high school notebook: Southmoreland ready to start a winning streak
Shrouded in a haze of exhilaration, Southmoreland football players remembered what it felt like to win again on Friday night in Alverton.
A small town came together to welcome back a once rudderless program, horns and sirens glaring like a parade, after an 18-14 win over neighboring Mt. Pleasant snapped a 13-game losing streak dating to 2016.
“It was absolutely phenomenal,” Scotties senior running back Ronnie Robinson said. “That was the first time in such a long time we have beaten them ... so many emotions running through the town and the players, as well. Experiencing that feeling was absolutely amazing.”
Robinson ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
The Scotties hadn’t defeated the Vikings since 1995. Their last win came against Waynesburg, 23-15.
But this one just felt so good.
Mt. Pleasant led 14-12 with 9 minutes, 33 seconds remaining before Scotties sophomore quarterback Zach Cernuto threw a strike to Brandon Peterson inside the final minute for the game-winner.
“Our guys came out and played like they wanted this game,” said Scotties first-year coach Dave Keefer, who jumped around on the sidelines like an antsy third-grader as time ticked away. “We’re low in numbers, but the guys that we have reached down and got the job done.”
Southmoreland (1-0) has not been to the WPIAL playoffs since 1979. It has not posted a winning season since ’03.
So, what is the secret to making it two wins in a row and reversing course for a different type of streak? The Scotties play at Frazier (0-1) next week and will look to snap an 11-game losing streak in conference.
“No secret ... everyone is sleeping on us,” Robinson said. “We are going to prepare all week and come out and play our game.”
Wood’s ‘guardian angels’
Scott Wood still can’t believe his son walked away from a car accident with only “bumps and bruises” when the Yough football coach looks at a photo of Dallyn Wood’s mangled Ford Focus.
The younger Wood collided with a flat-bed tow truck at the intersection of Route 30 and Arona Road in North Huntingdon on Thursday evening but sufffered only a concussion and needed eight stitches in his elbow.
“Guardian angels were watching over him,” said Scott Wood, who still coached Yough on Friday night in the team’s season opener against Serra Catholic at Yough’s Cougar Mountain Stadium. “When I saw the car, the first I thought was somebody was with him today. Maybe it was his (late) grandma. We called her ‘Nunny,’ or my nephew who we lost in February.
“He is lucky to have been able to walk away.”
Dallyn Wood, 18, just graduated from Hempfield.
“Like the medics said, the car did what it was supposed to do,” said Scott Wood, who is a volunteer fireman at Shafton Fire Co. in North Huntingdon but was not on the scene of this call. Two other departments responded. “The car is designed to do certain things in a situation like this. We’re fortunate that impact was not on the driver’s side.”
Scott Wood said the brush with tragedy puts football in perspective, even on a hype-fueled opening night.
“It’s just a game,” the coach said. “There are things in life that are so much bigger than football. Count your blessings.”
Waywood to Cal (Pa.)
Yough senior softball pitcher Kierra Waywood, a Tribune-Review all-star, committed Friday to Cal (Pa).
Waywood had interest from a number of Division II schools, and Division III Saint Vincent, but wanted to play close to home, Yough coach Dutch Harvey said.
She went 14-4 last season with 110 strikeouts.
Belle Vernon star Markello Apodiakos, the returning Tribune-Review Boys Soccer Player of the Year, was named to the inaugural TopDrawer Soccer High School All-America Watch List. He headlines a group of seven WPIAL players to make the list.
More than 200 boys and girls players were chosen.
Apodiakos, a senior forward, scored 37 goals last season to break coach Rob Miele’s single-season school record set over 10 years ago.
A Pittsburgh Riverhounds Club player, Apodiakos also set a program record with 81 points. He is undecided on a college.
Girls players selected include Norwin defenders Eva Frankovic, a junior, and Maddie Genicola, a senior; Shady Side Academy senior midfielder Krystyna Rytel; and Peters Township junior Hannah Stuck and senior Regan LaVigna.
Frankovic is a Pitt recruit while Genicola plans to play at Duquesne.