West Mifflin crushes Belle Vernon
Written by: Doug Keklak on Saturday, September 7th, 2013
Earlier this week, West Mifflin senior tailback James Wheeler was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as stating one of his goals is to rush for 3,000 yards this season. After the start he’s had this season just through two games this could be a distinct possibility. Wheeler had touchdown runs of 5, 60 and 16 yards in the Titans’ 41-6 victory over the visiting Belle Vernon Leopards Friday night.
The game was actually evenly matched and quite competitive through two and a half quarters of play as the game was deadlocked at 6 at the half. However, the Titans got three scores relatively quickly in the second half and pulled away.
Belle Vernon received the opening kickoff but went three and out. A Kevin Garbark punt return set the Titans up with the ball on their own 36. When came next was a time-consuming, eleven play drive that culminated with Wheeler’s first score of the night from five yards out. The extra point was no good and with 4:52 left in the first quarter it was 6-0 West Mifflin. Although of those eleven plays, Wheeler carried on nine of them, the key play on the drive was a third down and 5 conversion from fullback John Green that gained 24 yards and advanced the ball to the Leopards’ 16.
The Leopards answered right back though, taking advantage of a West Mifflin personal foul at the end of the kickoff, they started their answering drive at their own 48. Just six plays later, Travis Snyder hooked up with Derek Verkleeren from 20 yards out to tie the score. The snap on the extra point attempt was high and it was a broken play, so with 2:07 to go in the first quarter the game was knotted at six.
The teams would trade possessions where they each turned the ball over on downs until the end of the half. West Mifflin received the second half kickoff and although they looked to gain momentum from that, three plays into their first drive Green fumbled the ball and Collin Johnston recovered for Belle Vernon.
The Leopards were able to advance the ball to the Titan 35 but a fourth down sack turned the ball back over to West Mifflin. The Titans needed just three plays to answer as sophomore signal caller Karyln Garner hooked up with Garbark for a 58-yard pitch and catch for the score. Paul Eagle was good on the extra point and the Titans took the first and ultimately good-ahead-for-good lead 13-6 with 5:47 to go in the third.
Another Leopard three and out equaled another Titan three play scoring drive. This time it was once again Wheeler who scored from 60 yards out on a beautiful run that saw him run all over the both sides of the field to pay dirt. Eagle was again good and with 2:42 to go in the third, West Mifflin’s lead was 20-6.
The story of the night for Belle Vernon was their offense just not getting anything going aside from their initial scoring drive. Even when the field position game was in their favor it did not matter. After yet another three and out, Snyder’s punt pinned the Titans on their own 22. It only took one play to knock off what the BV special teams unit did as Wheeler broke a 40-yard scamper off and six plays later, at the start of the fourth quarter, he scored from 16 out and another Eagle PAT gave the Titans a 27-6 lead.
Garbark got on the board again for West Mifflin with 7:40 to go in the game, he took an inside hand off and scored from 38 yards out. The extra point made it 34-6.
Before both teams pretty much emptied the benches and let the reserves in, DiAngelo Mitchell scored from twelve yards out. Eagle connected on his fifth and final extra point of the night and the final was cemented at 41-6.
West Mifflin improves to 2-0 and will be at Uniontown next Friday while Belle Vernon falls to 1-1 and will host Ringgold next week.
Belle Vernon 6 0 0 0 – 6
West Mifflin 6 0 14 21 – 41
WM-James Wheeler 5 run (kick failed)
BV-Derek Verkleeren 20 pass from Travis Snyder (kick failed)
WM-Kevin Garbank 58 yard pass from Karlyn Garner (Paul Eagle kick)
WM-Wheeler 5 run (Eagle kick)
WM-Wheeler 16 run (Eagle kick)
WM-Garbank 17 run (Eagle kick)
WM-DiAngelo Mitchell 12 run (Eagle kick)
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