Football - Greater Latrobe vs Hempfield Area
Hempfield Reigns in Battle of Unbeatens with 49-14 Win at Latrobe
Hempfield broke open a 14-all second quarter tie with 35 unanswered points to tame the Latrobe Wildcats 49-14 on Friday, September 9, at Latrobe's Memorial Stadium.
Both teams entered the contest with 2-0 records, having demonstrated high-scoring offenses in their prior contests. But Hempfield found a way to limit Latrobe's Robert Fulton to under 50 yards on the ground, while effectively mixing the run and pass in their no-huddle offensive sets to scoring success.
A large and enthusiastic crowd filled the stands for this first game between the Westmoreland County combatants since 2015. It took Latrobe senior Kollin Stevens only 11 seconds to get them out of their seats as he took the opening kickoff 83 yards for the Wildcats' first score. Vinny Oddo added the PAT kick to make it 7-0 as Hempfield settled in to receive the ball for their first possession.
Hempfield went to work evening up the score as they mounted a 12-play drive capped by Elijah Binakonsky's 6-yard touchdown run at 7:57 of the first quarter. Josh Reilly booted the first of his 7 PAT kicks on the night and the teams were knotted at 7 apiece.
Hempfield went on top one minute into the second quarter when Binakonsky went over the left side of the line from 1 yard out to make the score 14-7.
Latrobe answered with a long drive, which included a 53-yard John Wetzel run, and was capped by Robert Fulton passing to Corey Boerio for a 6-yard touchdown. Oddo tied it at 14 with the PAT at 9:22 left in the half.
But it would be the last time in the game that Latrobe would get on the scoreboard. Hempfield's Jake Phillips was intercepted by Dom Flenniken on the ensuing possession, but the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs following an unsuccessful 4th-and-1 attempt. Hempfield took control from there with 6 minutes left in the half.
Gino Caesar scored on a 1-yard run to make it 21-14 at the 4:52 mark. Only 41 seconds later, following a Latrobe fumble, Hempfield's Ian Tuffs caught a 15-yard pass from Jake Phillips to give the Spartans the lead 28-14 at halftime.
Gino Caesar took care of all the Spartans' scoring in the second half, as they rang up three more touchdowns to put the game into the mercy rule for the final quarter. A pair of 1-yard rushing touchdowns by Caesar in the third quarter, followed by a 29-yard pass reception from Phillips as the four quarter opened, saw both coaches give their bench players opportunities for the remainder of the 49-14 final.
Hempfield, sporting a 3-0 record for the first time since 2016, finishes the non-conference portion of their schedule next week with a trip to Shaler. Greater Latrobe (2-1) faces their first game as a Class 4 school with a tough section matchup at Thomas Jefferson.
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