Woodland Hills stuns Mt. Lebo in OT
It took one drive for senior running back Lafayette Pitts to give Mt. Lebanon a taste of what his Woodland Hills football team is all about.
On the first drive of the seventh-seeded Wolverines’ WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal contest against the second-seeded Blue Devils Friday at Baldwin Stadium, Pitts carried the ball 15 times for 82 yards before scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run.
“That’s what Wolverines football is about,” Pitts said.
“Pound it and pound it. If you can’t stop it, we’re going to keep coming at you.”
By the time he put the finishing touches on Woodland Hills’ 29-22 victory with a 10-yard touchdown run in overtime, Pitts had battered Mt. Lebanon’s defense 33 times and racked up 175 yards with two touchdowns.
“He put a good day’s work in today,” Wolverines coach George Novak said of Pitts, who also returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to open the second half.
In handing the Blue Devils (10-1) their first loss of the season, defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion Woodland Hills (8-3) advances to the semifinals where it will face North Hills (10-1) next Friday at a site and time to be determined.
The Indians knocked off Upper St. Clair 16-14 Friday in their quarterfinal contest.
The Wolverines are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak. Before the game against Mt. Lebanon, Novak’s team had defeated its past six opponents by a combined score of 229-28.
After being battled to overtime against one of Class AAAA’s toughest teams, Woodland Hills will enter its semifinal contest against coach Jack McCurry’s North Hills team with more confidence.
“Coach McCurry does a great job,” Novak, whose team lost a Week 2 contest to the Indians 7-0, said. “He has a great football team. We’ve got our hands full with them. We played them once and it was a battle.”
In the fourth quarter Friday, however, it was looking as if the Wolverines would not be able to continue on their quest toward Heinz Field and a second-straight WPIAL title.
With the score deadlocked at 14-14 with 10:34 left in regulation, Mt. Lebanon embarked on a 17-play, 69-yard drive that took 7:40 off of the game clock.
Senior running back Luke Hagy finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run that handed the Blue Devils a six-point lead with 1:54 left in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Pat Goff then connected with tight end Dylan White to make the lead 22-14.
Hagy carried the ball a season-high 44 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns on the game. He also made a 15-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
“We weren’t trying to compare tailbacks,” Blue Devils coach Chris Haering said. “Our offensive line could run the football and Luke could find a way to manufacture yards. He did that tonight. Those guys did a great job.”
Following one last drive orchestrated by Wolverines quarterback Patrick Menifee, it would be Woodland Hills that left the contest all smiles.
Upon inheriting the football at the Wolverines’ 27-yard line with 1:48 left in regulation, Menifee led his team on a 10-play drive.
With five seconds remaining, he found senior receiver Devon White for a 32-yard touchdown pass.
Menifee then connected with White for the corresponding two-point conversion to send the game to overtime.
“It was a nice catch,” White said. “I was kind of scared because I couldn’t see the quarterback, Pat Menifee. Then I saw him throw the ball in the air. I saw it and I knew I had to come down with it.”
After Pitts scored on the first play of overtime, Woodland Hills stuffed Hagy on three straight runs before Goff threw an incomplete fourth-down pass to end the game.
“We hadn’t been in a tight ball game for a while,” Novak said. “It’s good to be in one and win it.”
In the second quarter, Woodland Hills turned the ball over twice and allowed Mt. Lebanon to score 14 unanswered points to take a 14-7 lead into the second half.
Hagy scored a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter and caught his 15-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the second quarter.
“We were energized,” Pitts, a University of Pittsburgh recruit, said.
“We knew we still had a chance to come back. We was only down by seven. So, we had a lot of courage and believed that we could still win this game.”