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Defense comes up Big Late in West Mifflin win over Laurel Highlands 27-20 @NathanGrella @PABackyard

Written by: on Saturday, September 26th, 2020

 

For a West Mifflin team that surrendered 97 points in their first two games, limiting a potential 5 star in Rodney Gallagher and the Laurel Highlands Mustangs would be paramount, as well as shaking off a few demons in the process. Fortunately for the Titans, they would be aided by their very own college recruit in Pitt commit Nahki Johnson. 

“This is a huge win, definitely a confidence getter, all our confidence is back now, hopefully we can win out the rest of the season now.” Johnson said after the win.  “All my confidence is in these boys. We’re definitely going hard at practice so hopefully we keep getting wins.”

The game certainly wasn’t without its fair share of dramatics. Laurel Highlands, coming into the game off of a comeback win against Ringgold, would be looking to pull a road victory. Both teams would trade stalling drives in the first quarter before a pass to Nahki Johnson put put the Titans up early. 

“I always wanna be a factor on either side of the ball. When I had the ball and I got the opening, I knew I could get into the endzone.” Johnson said on the catch. 

Despite the early score, the Mustangs still had very much of a say. A West Mifflin fumble and take back to the 2 would lead to a Rodney Gallagher pass reception to tie the ballgame. Then following another interception,  QB Joe Chambers would drop a arcing pass directly into the breadbasket of Rodney Gallagher who would take it to the house. 

Another early setback wouldn’t be on the board for long, as after a long kick return, Tyrese Ogltree would take it to the house to tie it up before the half. 

The second half would be defined by defense. A Pick 6 by Demonte Kiss would put the Mustangs up once again, however a missed two point conversion would only leave the score 20-14.

From this point on, it would be all Titans. A pitch and catch to Andre Spencer, who would take it to the house, put the Titans in the lead, then two possessions later, the game’s second pick six, this time on the Titans end, would make the score 27-20. 

“This is a huge win for our defense. They played really well, a lot of the touchdowns that they scored were just big busts on our end, holding them to this score makes me very proud of them.” Johnson said on his teammates performance. 

Although the game was in the Titans grasp, the Mustangs still hung around. In the final two minutes, Laurel Highlands would find themselves on the Titans goal line and with 3 downs to work with. The West Mifflin defense stood up when they were needed most, shutting down the run on first down and holding the Mustangs to three more incompetions before a turnover on downs. Two of those passes were directed toward Gallagher. 

“Gameplan was definitely stopping Rodney Gallagher. He’s a really, really, really, good player. We were just keeping to him. My DBs did a really good job.” Johnson said on the final drive. 

Next week two red hot defenses will collide when West Mifflin visits Trinity, while Laurel Highlands will try to rebound at home against the Belle Vernon Leopards.

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