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Plum overcomes turnovers, penalties to roll past Connellsville |

Plum overcomes turnovers, penalties to roll past Connellsville

Plum put up big numbers in the right and wrong places in its 49-23 Class AAAA Quad East Conference win over Connellsville on Friday night. To go with the points, the Mustangs (5-1, 4-1) had nearly 300 yards of offense but lost 135 yards on 16 penalties.

“We have to stop taking stupid mistakes,” Plum coach Matt Morgan said. “We can’t afford to have so many penalties and turn the ball over that many times if we want to go far. It just won’t happen.”

Plum turned the ball over twice.

Connellsville (1-5, 1-4) showed it was going to be a tough out from the start. The Falcons returned the opening kickoff 74 yards to the Plum 18-yard line, but Plum’s defense held and forced Corey Fogel’s 27-yard field goal.

Plum’s offense followed with a 10-play, 80-yard drive to go ahead 6-3. The drive was capped by an 8-yard Kevin Brown touchdown run. The extra point was blocked.

Connellsville responded with a drive that lasted 12 plays, covered 80 yards and ended with Steve White’s 3-yard touchdown run. White took a pitch right and scooted past the Mustang defense for a 10-6 lead.

Plum responded with another long drove. Nick Coxan capped the 10-play, 79-yard march with an 18-yard touchdown run. Patrick Crossey ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Mustangs a 14-10 lead.

Plum’s defense then forced a three and out. On the ensuing punt, Connellsville kicked the ball into the back of one of its own lineman, and Plum took over at the Falcons’ 12-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Corey Thomas ran in from 4 yards to make the score 21-10.

After a Connellsville punt, Thomas hit Brown for a 4-yard score with fewer than 30 seconds left in the half. Plum led 28-10 at the half.

Thomas was 9 of 14 for 159 yards and one touchdown.

Falcons quarterback Dylan Harshman completed a 12-yard pass to Austin Puskar to open the second-half scoring. The Falcons’ 2-point pass was incomplete, and they trailed 28-16.

Nick Coxan gave Plum more breathing room when he scored on a 1-yard run to make it 35-16.

Zach Nolan put the game away when he stripped Harshman and fell on the fumble in the Falcons’ end zone early in the fourth quarter.

Despite the outcome, Falcons coach David McDonald believed his team gave a solid effort.

“We played hard the whole way and were in the game,” he said. “We gave them 21 points, and you can’t do that with good teams.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.

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