Plum’s homecoming festivities were dampened a bit Friday night as the Mustangs tacked another loss onto their no-win record in a 42–0 shut out against Peters Township (4-2). The Mustangs, (0-6, 0-6 WPIAL AAAA Southeastern Conference) allowed nearly 400 offensive yards compared to the 66 total yards that they struggled to put up.
The Indians hit the ground running early in the opening drive with a first possession score at 7:27 by senior running back, Mike Minjock, who would continue to dominate the Mustang defense for the games entirety. Peters capitalized on 20 yards of penalties during the first drive: 15 yards for a personal foul and three plays later 5 yards for off sides.
There was momentum to be had at the beginning of the Plum drive after sophomore running back Joe DeFelice managed to stay on his feet and return the ball to the 26-yard line where he was taken down by defensive back Connor Kachowski. Kyle Smecker followed up with an impressive 14 yard run on the next play; however, that wasn’t enough to find the Mustangs their rhythm. After a loss of a yard, a short run, and an incomplete pass, the Mustang’s only forceful drive of the night came to an end.
Later in the first quarter, a hand off to Mike Minjock turned into a 44 yard run, taking him to the 14 yard line, with a running touchdown by Sean Sullivan shortly after to put Peters Township ahead 14-0.
With the Indians on a roll and no plans of stopping, the Mustangs struggled to stay afloat and find a successful offensive or defensive strategy. Peters Township was quick to close any holes on the ground that Plum saw as an opportunity. Things in the air were not much better, as senior quarterback Corey DeLoach’s pass fell incomplete and was almost picked off, surrendering the team to 4th and 4 in their final possession of the quarter.
After stopping the Indians three times just a yard shy of the goal line, the Mustang offense took over possession at their own one; however, DeLoach’s QB sneak and Jake Diguilio’s carry were unable to surpass the defense, resulting in a Peters Township safety made by Greg Lippert and Kenny Ward.
“We’re a pretty young team, but we have to stop making mistakes that cost us points,” Plum head coach Frank Sacco states.
Minutes away from the end of the half, there seemed as though there may be a glimmer of hope for Plum, as Peters committed 20 penalty yards against themselves in two plays, leaving them 1st and 35 at the 50 yard line.
Sophomore quarterback Cory Owen first gained 10 yards with a keeper and in a 3rd and long situation, Owen found Mike Erenberg at the corner of one-yard line. Minjock plowed through the D-line and was in for the touchdown – the extra point was no good and the Indians were up by 22.
With 18 seconds to go on the play clock, Peters Township recovered a fumbled punt on the 13-yard line, and after an incomplete pass, quarterback Pfeuffer scored on a run. The Mustangs solemnly headed towards the locker room with the halftime score 29-0.
There was very little change in the second half; the Plum Mustangs were just too far-gone. Midway through the third quarter, the Mustangs had only 18 yards on total offense, while Minjock alone had 127 rushing yards. Owen found his running back Ubinger in the end zone for 34 yards and a sweet 6 points, pushing the game clock into the mercy rule with 2:36 to go in the third.
Plum linebacker Jake Diguilo made his mark on Friday with an extremely impressive sack for a loss of 6 yards, late in the fourth quarter, but it was not nearly enough to save the Mustangs or prevent one final score for the Indians, closing the game out at 42-0. The Mustangs will look for their first win next week against Penn Hills.
“We’ve got to keep our heads up, I can’t complain about the practicing. All week long, they practice hard, and their attitudes are good,” said Sacco.
Indians Head Coach Richard Piccinini emphasized the significance of this win for his team.
“It’s always nice to win in a shut out, especially after coming off of a loss last week,” Piccinini said. “We are in the thick of the playoffs, and we are up against some really good teams, so games like tonight are meaningful."
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