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Plum football eyes halt to two-game losing streak | TribLIVE.com
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Plum football eyes halt to two-game losing streak

GTRPennTraffPlum13102415
Ken Reabe Jr. | For Trib Total Media
Plum running back Nick Carlisano (44) tries to avoids the pursuit of Penn-Trafford's Joey Peduzzi (7) and Ben Davis (22) on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, at Plum Stadium. Penn-Trafford won 36-15.

Plum varsity head coach Matt Morgan said he was encouraged with a number of things he saw during Friday’s 36-15 loss to undefeated Penn-Trafford.

He said he was even more encouraged with his players energy and focus in practice Monday.

Despite the setback to the Warriors and the loss to McKeesport the week before, Morgan knows his team has the ability to get back on track at Latrobe on Friday and make a run in the WPIAL playoffs that begin Nov. 6.

“We have to come out with a sense of urgency this week,” Morgan said.

“Latrobe hasn’t won a game, but if we don’t come out and play the way we are capable, they can give us trouble. Preparation for the playoffs starts with Friday’s game.”

Latrobe has given up at least 58 points in four of its past five games and has surrendered an average of 49.3 points overall, the most in Quad-A and second most in the WPIAL overall behind AAA Yough (51.6).

Plum and Norwin currently sit in fourth place in the Quad East standings with 4-3 records.

Kiski Area is one game ahead of the Mustangs and Knights at 5-2. The Cavaliers have to deal with McKeesport on Friday.

Norwin also has a challenging game on Friday as it will take on Penn-Trafford.

Plum shut out Norwin, the Knights upended the Cavaliers, and Kiski scored a victory over the Mustangs.

Morgan said the key for his team continues to be consistency in games for four quarters.

“It’s about communication with each other on the field and simply lining up and playing the game the way they are taught,” he said.

“They can do damage if they just believe in the system and believe in what’s been taught to them. It’s a really good group. They have to believe in themselves that they can make a run in the WPIAL playoffs.”

Plum hopes for a repeat of last year’s end to the regular season and start of the playoffs.

The Mustangs came up short against both Penn-Trafford and McKeesport in 2014, but they took care of Latrobe and carried momentum into the WPIAL playoffs.

The Mustangs then kept their season alive with a spirited 17-6 victory over Penn Hills in the Quad-A first round.

In Friday’s game with Penn-Trafford, Plum fell behind 21-7 as running back Jonah Lisbon and quarterback Brett Laffoon helped put a trio of touchdowns on the board.

The Mustangs opened the second half with an 11-play drive that covered 70 yards to close to within one score.

Nick Coxon scored from 5-yards out to cap the drive.

A two-point pass from Patrick Crossey to Zach Nolan on what originally was to be a point-after kick brought Plum to within six at 21-15.

“That was probably the best drive I’ve seen in my three years as (Plum) head coach, considering the circumstances,” Morgan said.

“They responded to what we talked about at halftime. They executed every play. It turned the vibe around. Penn-Trafford came back with a long drive of their own to answer our score, and that’s what good teams do. But we showed we can compete with a team like that. I hope we see them again in the playoffs.”

Coxon led the Plum ground game with 12 carries for 79 yards and the second-half score.

Crossey tallied Plum’s first-half touchdown as he found the end zone from one yard out in the first quarter to answer Penn-Trafford’s opening score.

In all, the Mustangs collected 131 yards on the ground.

Lisbon finished with 25 carries for 224 yards, and Laffoon completed the game with two TD throws and two more scores on the ground.

Michael Love is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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