Monessen looking for first playoff win against Springdale
When Monessen battles Springdale in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals Friday at Penn-Trafford, the Greyhounds will be trying to do something they’ve never done in the playoffs:
Defeat the Dynamos.
The programs have met four times since 2003, and the Dynamos have won every time, each time ending Monessen’s season.
“We haven’t had much success against them,” Monessen coach Andy Pacak said. “It’s time to get them.”
Last year in the playoffs, Springdale defeated Monessen, 21-14, at Monessen’s Memorial Stadium when Bill Arch scored on a 6-yard run with 30 seconds left following an interception. Arch and Sean Dugan each rushed for more than 100 yards in the game.
Last week, Arch and Dugan led Springdale (9-1) to a 35-14 victory against Western Beaver. Arch scored twice and intercepted three passes, and Dugan, a sophomore, rushed for 166 yards and scored three times.
Monessen (9-1) also looked impressive in its playoff opener against Chartiers-Houston. The Greyhounds won, 33-0, and Monessen’s 3-5 defense limited the Buccaneers to fewer than 60 yards of offense.
Trae Cook and Brett Crenshaw each scored two touchdowns, as Monessen rolled up 361 total yards.
“We switched the defense this year, and the players have flourished in it,” Pacak said. “There is a sense of pride with the players. They swarm on defense, and the play of our secondary — Brady Kunsa, Tyler Young and Nick Bolias — allows us to free up the linebackers. They cover people well.”
That defense will be tested by Springdale, a team Pacak said plays almost flawlessly.
“They do everything well,” Pacak said. “They don’t make many mistakes or take many penalties.
“They do exactly what they’re supposed to do. That’s a credit to their coaching staff.”
Springdale forced five turnovers, turning three of them into points, against Western Beaver.
The Dynamos’ pass defense was tested by Western Beaver quarterback Joe Dawida, who completed 14 of 24 passes for 209 yards.
Springdale coach Chuck Wagner said his team had trouble putting Western Beaver away until the fourth quarter. He was thankful the team got off to a quick start.
“I don’t think there’s any question (Monessen) will be up for the occasion,” said Wagner, who is coaching in the playoffs for the 14th time in his 47-year coaching career at four schools. “We’ll have to make sure to keep our heads on straight and realize that this could be another tough ball game.”
Monessen can throw the ball, too. Kunsa, the Monessen quarterback, has capable receivers in Bolias and Jeff Francis.
Monessen wants to run the ball with Cook and Crenshaw. That has been the team’s offensive trademark for years, even though it was the defense and passing of Kunsa that sparked Monessen past Beth-Center in their battle for the Tri-County South Conference title.
“We live in Western Pennsylvania, and you don’t see many teams throwing a lot in November and December,” Pacak said. “We have the Steelers’ mentality — you want to run the ball. It’s great that we can have a balance if we need it.”
Pacak also is getting tired of those who bash the Tri-County South. Monessen and Beth-Center were first-round winners this year, and at least one team from the conference has advanced past the first round since 2004.
“There have only been a couple teams (Rochester and Clairton) that have dominated the Class A the past few years,” Pacak said. “We have great tradition here, but we’d like to be like Clairton and Rochester again.”
At a glance
Monessen (9-1) vs. Springdale (9-1)
? When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
? Site: Penn-Trafford Warrior Stadium
? Regular-season series: Monessen leads, 2-0.
? Playoff series: Springdale leads, 4-0.
? Head-to-head playoff scores: 2009 â¢ Springdale, 21-14; 2006 â¢ Springdale, 20-7; 2004 â¢ Springdale, 47-6; 2003 â¢ Springdale, 22-7.
? Monessen’s last victory against Springdale: 1987, when both were in the Eastern Conference. Monessen won, 26-0.