PITTSBURGH — A WPIAL championship is not going to be won on one play. However, it took one play for the OSLH Chargers to set the tone of the game, and use that tone to roll away with a 28-6 victory.
This was a game won and lost on field position. The very first play of the game saw a Rochester fumble, with OLSH recovering inside their own 20-yard line. While OLSH did not score immediately, they had won the battle which was establish field position.
“We lost field position on the first possession,” Gene Mastook admitted. “We shortened the field tremendously. They only had 87 yards on offense in the first half but we were down 14-0.”
The field position did not pay dividends immediately. However, it was key to establishing the first half lead. OLSH took over, went for it on fourth down, and took the ball to the three-yard line where it was turned over. So, while they did not capitalize on the field position, they did give a tougher starting point for Rochester.
“It was unfortunate we didn’t take advantage (of the turnover),” admitted OLSH head coach Dan Bradley. “But we got the ball down to the three and were able to control field position.
OLSH forced a punt from there and dominated field position, starting their average drive in Rochester territory. OLSH saw it as a huge advantage to start in such a great spot. It put an aggressive minded team in a position to be aggressive.
On their oppositions side of midfield, OLSH was more inclined to go for it on fourth down than punt. The worst case is Rochester starts in their own territory, after all. This philosophy gave the Chargers a chance to be aggressive, while also using third down play as two-down territory calls. It opened up the playbook and eventually trickled down to the scoreboard.
SETTING AN EXAMPLE
With the win OLSH won their first WPIAL championship in program history. The program is only nine years old, showing tremendous growth from day one. The OLSH players saw the game as an opportunity to not only play for themselves, but also for the classes before and after them that helped pave the way, and will continue to carry on the tradition.
“To make history so fast is an honor,” mentioned wide receiver Andrew Schnarre.
“This year reflects all of the hard work we have put in over the last three years,” added quarterback Tyler Bradley.
This is a group that gave OLSH their first playoff appearance two years ago. They took a step forward the following year, and capped off their progression by holding the WPIAL crown. Now, the group of seniors want to come back and see the foundation that they have made get built into a power house.
“Our program is only going to continue to grow,” proclaimed Tyler Bradley. “We have a lot of great young guys who now have experience in Heinz Field. Now, they will only work harder in camps and work harder in workouts since they have experience and know what it takes. They will hold this over the younger teams who didn’t get here yet and will bring it out of them. That gives me confidence in our future.”
Bradley also hopes that it not only ignites the program, but also attracts the program to others hesitant about joining the new program.
“We want more multi-sport athletes” Bradley mentioned. “From basketball to soccer and cross country, hopefully they will see this win and we can get more multi-sport athletes.”
WIN FOR NOAH
OLSH did not walk away from the game completely unscathed. Wide receiver Noah Campalong sustained an ankle injury early into the first half. Campalong spent a lot of time on the ground in pain before a stretcher came to take him off.
The loss did not affect the Chargers, but rather inspired them. OLSH scored on the very next play, which helped establish a 14-0 lead. Campalong did not return and his status is unknown moving forward.
“This game is for Noah,” Tyler Bradley claimed as his rallying call immediately following the injury. His teammates were to able to come to the call and get the victory for their injured teammate.