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Belle Vernon Rolls Through Laurel Highlands in Battle for Top of Big Eight Conference 56-14 @BVAFootball @BruceDavidson37

Written by: on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021

 

By: Bruce Davidson

All the buildup and all the hype was placed on Friday’s game between Belle Vernon and Laurel Highlands.

The Mustangs off to their best start of 5-0 traveled to face the 4-0 Leopards in a clash of unbeatens at James Weir Stadium.

Belle Vernon won the toss and deferred to Laurel Highlands, Rodney Gallagher and the Mustang offense would get the ball first. Laurel Highlands drive stalled out near midfield, then it was Devin Whitlock and Belle Vernon’s turn.

With over half the first quarter gone the Mustang defense recovered a fumble to halt the Belle Vernon drive deep in the redzone. The Leopards forced a punt, and Devin Whitlock took it back 67 yards for the first score of the night.

Just 48 seconds remained in the opening frame, and nothing would change in them as Belle Vernon led 7-0 over Laurel Highlands through one quarter.

Both teams traded drives until Devin Whitlock ran in a touchdown with 6:40 left in the second quarter. Belle Vernon had all the control now up 14-0.

When they needed a spark, Rodney Gallagher and Keondre Deshields delivered for Laurel Highlands. The Mustangs got on the board with a 78-yard TD pass to cut the Leopards lead to 14-7.

Laurel Highlands was driving late in the half looking to tie the game, but Belle Vernon had a timely interception from Junior Evan Pohlot. A few big runs led to Sophomore RB Jake Gedekoh extending the Leopards lead back to 21-7 with only 27 seconds remaining in the first half.

It was a two-score game heading to the locker rooms, and that was the closest it would be the rest of the night.

Gedekoh rattled off a 26-yard touchdown run to finish Belle Vernon’s first drive of the third quarter. With 9:38 to play in the third, the Leopards led 28-7.

However, the Mustangs clawed back to within two scores when Gallagher tossed a touchdown pass to Senior WR Jayden Pratt. Not yet halfway through the third quarter it was 28-14 Belle Vernon.

On a night billed by many as Gallagher vs Whitlock, from that point on it became the Jake Gedekoh show.

The Leopards Sophomore stretched the lead back to three scores with 6:27 left in the third quarter. His third rushing touchdown made it 35-14 Belle Vernon.

Then he did it again.

Three minutes later Gedekoh got a fourth touchdown and Belle Vernon entered the fourth quarter with a commanding 42-14 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter Gedekoh powered into the endzone for the fifth time. A 49-14 Leopards lead began the running clock.

Not to be forgotten Devin Whitlock picked up his third touchdown of the game with 7:50 to play on a 27-yard touchdown run.

At the final whistle it was Belle Vernon on top 56-14 in a statement win as the magic that propelled Laurel Highlands to an incredible season start vanished at least for this night.

After the game Gedekoh described how Belle Vernon broke open the second half.

“You got to go out there and just get a different animal in you in the second half,” Gedekoh said. “It wasn’t too good the first half, I felt we played down to their level in the first half.”

Eyeing 6-0 next week, Gedekoh outlined his mindset heading to the next matchup.

“Forget about the past, defensively not give up a lot of points,” Gedekoh said. “Aligning right and playing aggressive.”

Laurel Highlands returns home next week aiming to bounce back against Thomas Jefferson (3-1, 1-1), while Belle Vernon travels to Ringgold (3-3, 0-2) looking to stay undefeated as October football enters full swing.

Be sure to follow @PaBckyard and @PAFootballNews on Twitter for continuing coverage throughout the 2021 high school football season.

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