Lions storm back to beat Red Raiders
UNIONTOWN — Trailing 20-7 with just over two minutes left in the first half, Greensburg Salem figured it would take a lot to get back into the game, let alone win.
Those needed elements included a patient offense, steady defense, and a little luck.
Greensburg Salem got all three, and a victory to boot, as the Golden Lions scored 20 unanswered points en route to a 27-20 victory at Uniontown.
Tied at 20-20 with just over one minute left in the third quarter, Greensburg Salem got a double dose of good luck, leading to the game-winning score.
First, Uniontown punter Nathan Fike uncorked a 13-yard punt giving Greensburg Salem possession at the Uniontown 35. Seven plays later luck helped Greensburg Salem again. On second and goal at the six, fullback Cory Bush took a hand-off, rumbled toward a possible touchdown before fumbling. Uniontown’s Billy McLee took possession and tried to start running, but quickly fumbled, and Greensburg Salem quarterback Anthony Manley jumped on the loose ball giving the Lions a first down at the Uniontown 12. Four plays later, Brandon Sticca scored from a yard out for the decisive score.
“What an exciting game,” Greensburg Salem coach George Kemerer stated. “Pretty typical for a Greensburg/Uniontown game,” noting that the previous two matchups were decided by two and three points.
Uniontown (3-2, 2-1) didn’t go away without a fight. Uniontown took over at its own 18 with seven minutes to play, and marched to the Greensburg Salem 13 with just over a minute to play. However, a three-yard loss by McLee on first down, a sack by Patrick Hutchinson on second down, and a pair of incompletions sealed the victory for Greensburg Salem.
“We refer to third and fourth down as the ‘money downs’, and our guys made enough plays on those downs to win,” Kemerer said.
Uniontown had a prolific night of offense, totalling 343 yards of offense, and amassing 19 first downs. McLee rushed for a game-high 153 yards on 20 carries, and quarterback Ryan Guthrie threw for 122 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 31 more. Junior Mays also caught five passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
“McLee really stepped it up tonight, and Guthrie did a fine job,” Uniontown coach John Fortugna stated. “We just made too many mistakes on defense.”
Uniontown travels to Mount Pleasant (2-3, 1-1) next Friday, hoping to stay in the Keystone Conference race.
Greensburg Salem had a solid night on offense themselves. Sticca rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, and Manley was an efficient six of 10 passing for 44 yards.
With the victory, Greensburg Salem (3-2, 2-0) set up a first-place showdown in the Keystone Conference next Friday at home against Belle Vernon (3-2, 3-0).
“We want to enjoy this victory as much as we can right now, but we’ll get ready for Belle Vernon starting Monday,” Kemerer explained.