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December 9-11 2021 Scoreboard

Mt. Lebanon Blows Out Central Catholic 47-7 in a Historically Dominant Offensive Performance GALLERY @NathanGrella @PaBackyard @AlexTecza2 @mtlebofootball @MtLebanonSports @EHeidenreich44

Written by: on Sunday, November 21st, 2021


It’s been 21 years in the making, and the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils are WPIAL champions once again. Two years ago, Bob Palko entered Mt. Lebanon fray and wholly changed the program.

“He’s really changed the culture here. As soon as he got here, you could tell that things changed,” Blue Devils RB Alex Tecza said. “How we treated football, how we treated each other, how we acted in school. He’s the best coach I’ve ever had, I give all the credit to him.”

Bob Palko and the Blue Devils would be facing the two-time defending WPIAL champion Central Catholic Vikings, a team that Mt. Lebanon defeated in Week 6 35-14 in a game split over two days by rain. Not even the Blue Devils could have expected such a dominant victory over the next toughest team in the conference.

“We were not at all expecting a result like this, “Eli Heidenreich said. “They’re an extremely talented, extremely well coached, tough, physical, football team. We just came out and played a fantastic football game. We made a limited amount of errors, played together and came out on top.”

The game started leaning in Central Catholic’s favor. A favorable kickoff return would lead to a 15-yard scamper by Gannon Carothers to put Central Catholic up 7-0 early in the 1st quarter. From that point on, the game would be firmly the Blue Devils’.

The Mt. Lebanon offense drove down the field and found the endzone within the 5 for Alex Tecza’s first touchdown of the contest. The quarter would end 7-7.

In the second, the Blue Devils turned on the jets. A run by Tecza set up a haul in by Brenden Anderson to put the Blue Devils up by 7 early in the second quarter.

The Blue Devils defense stood tall once again, forcing a turnover on downs from the Vikings. A minute and a half later, Alex Tecza put Lebo firmly in the driver’s seat, sprinting down the sideline 59 yards.

“It was a great game rushing for myself but I give all the credit to my offensive line, outside receivers and tight ends, they’ve done great all year,” Tecza said on his brilliant offensive performance. “We’ve really stepped it up in the blocking department. All year they’ve been super great. I gotta give credit to those guys.”

Another quick defensive stand put the ball right in the hands of the Blue Devils. This time, Palko went methodical. Up 21-7, Mt. Lebanon churned clock and set up a Joey Daniels pass once again to Tecza, ending a four and a half minute drive to go up by 21 heading to the half.

Mistakes and miscues on defense for Central Catholic in the first half were exacerbated in the second. On the first Lebo offensive drive, Daniels found Heidenreich in the endzone for a 28 yard pass. On the next drive, Tecza drove in from 25 out. Before the Vikings could blink, they were down 40-7 and faced with the possibility of a mercy clock.

“The versatility on this team is outstanding,” Tecza said of the Blue Devils’ ability to create big plays. “We have Eli (Heidenreich) who can run, pass, catch. We have Joey (Daniels) who can scramble, throw darts all over the field. We have me, who can pass, run, and catch the ball. The versatility on this team is super important, I think that’s going to be big for our team in the state playoffs.”

The nail in the coffin would be Heidenreich from 67 yards out with 7:14 left in the 3rd quarter, darting in and around Central Catholic defenders and galloping into the PIAA playoff bracket.

“I saw one of our linemen kick out the tackle and I went inside of him, saw the defender, gave him a little move, cut inside and just had some blockers ahead of me. I read them and went right down the sideline.” Heidenreich said on the run.

The score would finish out at 47-7

The win certainly does not come without history. The Blue Devils will be entering the state playoffs for the first time since 2000, where they lost to Erie Prep in the Quad A semifinals. The win also ties Bob Palko with Bill Cherpak with 9 career WPIAL Championship wins, tied for the most all-time. With all of the records and history, however, the impact of the present is not lost on the Blue Devils.

“This is one of the greatest night’s of my life,” Eli Heidenreich stated. “We’ve been working so incredibly hard for this moment. We started working this season in January, but it’s really been going on a lot longer than this. We’ve been playing together as a senior class since we were in first and second grade. We would go to our high school football games together and watch that, it was always in the back of our minds that once we got to this point in our football career that we would want to go out and win a WPIAL championship. That goal came true today, and it just feels absolutely amazing.”

What’s Next? The Blue Devils will move on to the PIAA 6A Quarterfinals to face the District 10 champion McDowell Trojans.


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