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Written by: Nate Grella on Saturday, September 25th, 2021
By: Bruce Davidson
The new Mustangs Field had to wait until week 5 to debut, but the wait was worth it.
Following a double-digit comeback last week at Ringgold the Laurel Highlands Mustangs hosted the West Mifflin Titans Friday night during their homecoming game.
Laurel Highlands won the toss and received but punted after an opening drive three and out. Mustangs special teams delivered a punt block to set the offense up inside the Titans 20-yard line. Junior Quarterback Rodney Gallagher tossed to Senior Wide Receiver Demonte Kiss for first touchdown.
West Mifflin went for it on fourth down and six to go from the Mustangs 32-yard line but failed to convert late in the first quarter.
At the close of the first quarter, it was 7-0 Laurel Highlands
Both teams had a handful of turnovers. Once even less than 3 minutes apart when Laurel Highlands failed a fourth down try, then got the ball right back on a Titans fumble.
Rodney Gallagher ran in a 1-yard touchdown in the middle of the second quarter to give the Mustangs a 14-0 lead.
The score remained that way into halftime when in the closing seconds of the half Laurel Highlands Senior Daniel Carney fell on top of a West Mifflin fumble.
After each team had one second half possession West Mifflin returned the favor by blocking a Laurel Highlands punt. Despite getting the ball at the Mustang 36-yard line, the Titans drive stalled out on a fourth and 12 from the Laurel Highland 17-yard line.
Rodney Gallagher had a fumble late in the third quarter, and that turnover finally allowed West Mifflin to break through. Sophomore Running Back Delrico White would not be denied with 1:27 left in the quarter making it a 14-7 Mustang lead.
Laurel Highlands nearly added to the lead again before Gallagher was brought down at the Titans 3-yard line to end the third quarter.
It was back to the air, this time to Junior Wide Receiver Keondre Deshields. With the extra point missed Laurel Highlands led 20-7 early in the fourth quarter.
The game was full of penalties on both sides that brought the action to a screeching halt at times. Senior Jayden Pratt got an interception for the Mustangs with under five minutes left keeping the score at 20-7.
Pratt would play a part in the exclamation point grabbing a 21-yard Rodney Gallagher touchdown pass to make it 27-7 Laurel Highlands with only 1:35 left in the game.
The score would not change, and the Mustangs improve to 5-0, 2-0 in conference, while West Mifflin falls to 1-4, 0-2 in conference with the final score 27-7 in favor of Laurel Highlands.
When asked if anyone believed they could go 5-0 Gallagher gave his thoughts.
“It’s different from all my years, freshman and sophomore year, it’s a whole different mindset,” Gallagher said. “We just come out every time and we want to win.”
Offense hasn’t been in question once this year for the Mustangs, yet a week after giving up their most points in a game, they held West Mifflin to just seven tonight.
West Mifflin heads back home next week to face Trinity (1-4, 0-2), and Laurel Highlands travels to Belle Vernon (4-0, 2-0) with the top spot in the Big Eight Conference on the line.
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