Football - Greensburg Central Catholic vs Leechburg
GCC Claims Conference Title with 48-21 Win over Leechburg
Greensburg Central Catholic, already qualified for the WPIAL playoffs, put the cherry on top of a breakout season by beating Leechburg 48-21 on Friday, October 28, in front of an enthusiastic home crowd in Carbon.
The win capped a 6-0 run through the Class A Eastern Conference schedule for the Centurions, where their closest margin of victory was a 16-point win over second place finisher Clairton. Leechburg and Clairton entered the game with a chance of a three-way share of the conference title with GCC, but the Centurions' win over the Blue Devils give them the outright champion's trophy.
Leechburg took the opening kickoff and failed to convert, but their punt to the Centurions pinned GCC on the two yard line. A false start moved GCC back to the one, and while operating from a backfield in the end zone, running back Da’sjon Craggette lost his footing on the natural grass surface and his knee touched for a safety.
Down 2-0, the Centurions were forced to kick off to the Blue Devils from their own 20 yard line. Leechburg capitalized on good field position with a 4-minute scoring drive that ended with quarterback Jayden Floyd scoring on a 2-yard keeper around the left end. Ryan Shaw booted the extra point and the Blue Devils had a 9-0 lead with 5:28 left in the opening quarter.
Forty-five seconds later, Craggette had no problems with traction as he carried a 2nd-and-13 handoff 64 yards to the end zone for the Centurions first points. Jacob Reitler added the first of his six extra point kicks of the evening and GCC trailed 9-7 with 4:43 to play in the first.
Leechburg went to the air on their next possession, but it was GCC's Jaydin Canady who was on the receiving end of Floyd's pass. The Centurions were quick to take advantage of the turnover, as quarterback Tyree Turner threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Samir Crosby with 3:12 on the clock, and suddenly it was 14-9, advantage Centurions.
The teams then exchanged turnovers, with Craggette intercepting Floyd's downfield pass, followed by Leechburg's Tyler Foley stripping the ball from Canady at the end of a long run.
Shortly after the teams switched sides to start the second quarter, Tyree Turner hit Nate Dlugos for a highlight-reel catch down the left sideline. Dlugos tipped the ball to himself, secured it in stride, and took defender Owen McDermott with him to the pylon for the 64-yard score. Reitler's kick made it 21-9 with 10:11 to play in the half.
GCC held the Blue Devils from advancing again, then sent Canady 31 yards to the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown that put them on top 28-9. The Centurions added another before halftime when Craggette ran it in from 5 yards out at the 3:14 mark, making it 35-9 at the intermission.
Following a halftime performance by the Leechburg marching band, the Blue Devils got one back when Logan Kline caught a 15-yard pass from Floyd in the end zone. The extra point kick failed, and Leechburg trailed 35-15 with 4:25 on the third quarter clock.
GCC extended their lead to 42-15 at 7:07 of the fourth quarter with Amari Mack's 35-yard run to the house. But Leechburg answered with a quick scoring drive capped by Tim Andrasy's 9-yard touchdown run. A failed two-point conversion attempt put the score at 42-21 with 6:46 left in the game.
A minute later, the Centurions closed out the scoring with one more touchdown from Mack on an 80-yard run. The extra point kick failed and the Centurions were able to celebrate as undisputed champions of the Eastern Conference with their 48-21 victory.
GCC (8-2, 6-0) can expect a home playoff game, likely at a local school with a turf field, against an opponent to be named when the WPIAL announces playoff pairings on Saturday. Leechburg (7-3, 4-2) also awaits to see their playoff opponent as the third place team in the conference.
Watch this link for a full gallery of action photos available for purchase or sharing the day after the game.
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