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Thomas Jefferson (13-0) defeated Belle Vernon (10-2) 41-7 Saturday night at Heinz Field for the program’s ninth WPIAL Championship.
The Jaguars have won four of the past five WPIAL Championships.
This is the second time Thomas Jefferson has accomplished the feat, Aliquippa, West Allegheny and Rochester have also four titles in five years – Braddock and Clairton have both won five in a row.
Once again, the Thomas Jefferson defense turned in a gem, allowing just seven points. It was the 12th time (in 13 games) this season the Jaguars have allowed seven points or less.
Thomas Jefferson allowed 10 points to Canon-McMillan in Week Zero, and have allowed just 10 points in the past seven games.
The Jaguars scored on all five of their possessions in the first half, three touchdown runs from Dylan Mallozzi (12, four and 16) and two from quarterback Shane Stump (one and three), and Thomas Jefferson carried a 35-0 lead into the half.
Dylan Mallozzi totaled 91 yards on 16 carries while Stump added 42 on nine carries through the first 24 minutes. The senior entered the game with 1,205 yards on 123 carries, for an average of 9.8 yards per carry.
In the first half, Thomas Jefferson outgained Belle Vernon 243-8, all eight of Belle Vernon’s yards came on the ground.
Belle Vernon’s only loss this season was to Thomas Jefferson in Week Two 34-7, but the teams were tied 7-7 at the half.
The Leopards made their first trip to Heinz Field and their first WPIAL Championship appearance since 1999. Belle Vernon won a championship in 1995.
The win is the eighth for Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak, who is now tied with Bob Palko for the most all time.
The clock ran in the second half, but the Thomas Jefferson defense still stood tall. Following a turnover on downs, Belle Vernon took over inside the 25-yard line when Ian Hansen intercepted a pass inside the five-yard line to preserve the shutout for the time being.
Belle Vernon finally got on the board with 1:04 remaining in the third when senior quarterback Jared Hartman found Nolan Labuda for a five-yard touchdown.
The fourth quarter was merely academic except for a 39-yard touchdown run by Mallozzi, extending the lead to 41-7.
Mallozzi finished with 178 yards on 27 carries and the four scores.