Hopewell throttles Mt. Pleasant
You didn’t need a scoreboard to know the result of Mt. Pleasant’s nonconference game against visiting Hopewell on Friday night. All that was necessary was a walk through Mt. Pleasant’s locker room.
Amid the deafening silence, not a creature was stirring.
“You certainly can’t find many bright spots, if any, when you lose 41-0,” Mt. Pleasant (2-3) coach Mark Lyons said. “Especially when we scouted them and prepared so hard all week. We knew what they were going to do.”
Lyons then paused and managed a weak smile. “At least our lights were bright,” he added.
Against the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA champions, Mt. Pleasant’s offense managed a meager 115 total yards and did not record its initial first down until 3:59 remained in the first half — and that first down came via a Hopewell penalty. Mt. Pleasant’s deepest penetration was to the Hopewell 17 late in the second quarter.
On defense, the story was much of the same for Mt. Pleasant: Hopewell (3-2) rushed for 299 yards. That figure included touchdown runs of 52 and 48 yards by Chris Snyder, who rushed for 128 yards on a dozen carries.
In defense of Mt. Pleasant, eight of Hopewell’s possessions started in Mt. Pleasant territory, “but it wouldn’t have mattered if they started their possessions at the 5-yard line,” Lyons said. “They executed, and we didn’t. They aren’t the defending champions for nothing. No matter what we tried, nothing was there. It was a poor effort on our part. We had one good drive, but you have to finish it. That’s been our Achilles heel all season. Even when we move the ball, we come up short. We aren’t consistent in that area.”
Despite trailing 13-0 at the half, Lyons stayed with his ground-oriented game plan.
“You have to run the ball,” he said. “Until we can run the ball, we aren’t going to take the next step. I didn’t want our quarterback (sophomore Jeff Marker) running for his life in the second half. At times, he feels comfortable, but he’s still in the learning stage.”
Hopewell got on the scoreboard when Scott Kelly scored on a 10-yard run with three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Snyder’s first touchdown came three minutes into the second quarter, and his second came two minutes into the second half.
“Field position was the name of the game tonight,” Hopewell coach Dave Vestal said. “We had the position, and our offense executed. Our backs ran well between the tackles, and Chris was able to break a couple long runs to the outside. This is turning into a seasoned team. We are capable of becoming a good football team.”