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Written by: Billy Splain on Sunday, November 28th, 2021
Mt Lebo Levels McDowell 47-14
Coming into Friday’s contest with Erie McDowell, one of the biggest buzzes among sports fans in the South Hills was “Will there be a drop off?” after Mt. Lebanon’s dominating 47-7 victory over traditional WPIAL powerhouse Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the 6A district final.
McDowell threw the first punch, scoring on their first drive via Christian Santiago QB keeper on 4th down from 20 yards out. The score silenced the raucous home crowd and when McDowell came up with two straight 3 and outs, it appeared that Mt. Lebanon was facing a team that could match them. Not even an Alex Tecza pick in McDowell territory brought Lebo points, as they missed a mid-range field goal in the first quarter.
By halftime, the song was very different. Lebo rolled off 21 points unanswered, leaning heavily on Navy bound Eli Heidenreich and star running back Alex Tecza, to storm into the dressing room with a 21-7 lead.
Heidenreich broke the game open in the third with an 80yd TD run and the blowout bell began to ring. Lebo continued to score at will, as senior QB Joey Daniels hit Brenden Anderson for a 36yd TD run and Tecza added a 9yd TD run to put the game well out of reach late in the third at 40-7.
Bob Palko utilized his reserves extensively in the fourth quarter, the game well out of reach. Each team added a late score to set the final at 47-14, though it is worth noting that the McDowell TD was their starters against Lebo’s reserves.
1.) Turnovers destroyed McDowell. Once you get to this stage of the season, 5 turnovers loses you a game. On Friday, it got McDowell blown out and I think puts a sour note on an otherwise excellent season. McDowell takes on what is potentially the toughest schedule in the state on a yearly basis and this loss, enhanced by so many mistakes and turnovers, shouldn’t take away from the pride the program should have. They won 9 games against brutal competition.
2.) For Lebo, it’s now all about “team”—Bob Palko made it very clear, as did his staff, that if they are going to get to Hershey, they need another “team win”—Their post game speech revolved around having players who don’t get as much press stepping up to create turnovers and make big plays to beat McDowell and that needs to be replicated in order to be standing on the final day of the season.
The Blue Devils will face State College this weekend in the west 6A semifinal
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