No. 5 Mt. Lebanon routs Hempfield behind defense
If you looked at the final score of Friday’s Class 6A Southeastern Conference battle, a 31-0 Mt. Lebanon victory, you would assume the leading passer and receiver in the WPIAL had big nights.
Think again. It was No. 5 Mt. Lebanon’s defense that stood out.
The Blue Devils (2-1, 1-0) forced five turnovers and sacked Hempfield sophomore quarterback Blake Remaley six times.
Hempfield (1-2, 0-2) was playing without senior quarterback Justin Sliwoski, who separated his right shoulder last week at Canon-McMillan. His leadership and presence was missed.
Spartans coach Rich Bowen knew his team faced a tough challenge on the road.
“Every game in this conference is tough on the road,” Bowen said. “Mt. Lebanon is a great program.”
Oh yeah, leading receiver Aiden Cain, who caught a state-record 27 passes last week at Pine-Richland, was held to three catches for 82 yards and a 53-yard touchdown.
Mt. Lebanon junior quarterback Seth Morgan, who shared time with senior James Stocker, completed 3 of 9 passes for 66 yards. Stocker was returning from an injury. Morgan hit Cain with the long touchdown and scored on a 2-yard run as Mt Lebanon led 17-0 at halftime.
Cain’s score came early in the third quarter.
So where did Mt. Lebanon’s offense come from? Stocker engineered an 86-yard drive in the second quarter to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead.
Stocker, who missed the first two games with a leg injury, completed eight consecutive passes during the drive, the final 24 yards going to Lucas DeCaro for the score.
Stocker completed 10 consecutive passes after misfiring on his first attempt and finished 10 for 20 for 104 yards.
Mt. Lebanon’s Antonio LaSota rushed for 126 yards on 21 carries and capped the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
Hempfield’s offense couldn’t get untracked because it was dominated in the trenches by the Mt. Lebanon trio of Jonathon Nelson, Coleman Coco and Ryan Gaughan.
Coco and Gaughan has two sacks apiece.
The Spartans running game was held to a minus-14 yards. Remaley lost 47 yards.
Remaley, who had five or six passes dropped, finished 16 for 35 for 138 yards. Braden Brose caught four passes for 85 yards.
Hempfield didn’t begin a drive in Mt. Lebanon’s territory and never got closer to the end zone than the Mt. Lebanon 33.
It doesn’t get an easier for the Spartans as they host No. 2 Central Catholic on Friday.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.