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Five Takeaways Lead Mt. Lebanon to PIAA Playoff Win over McDowell, 47-14



MT. LEBANON, Pa. —Mt. Lebanon (13-0) created five turnovers, and scored 28 points off of them to pull away in a 47-14 win over McDowell (9-3) that advanced the Blue Devils to the PIAA 6A semifinals.

The game started with Mt. Lebanon going down 7-0. Erie McDowell mixed and matched their two-quarterback system, and it was their dominant runner Christian Santiago on a quarterback keep that gave McDowell the early lead.

Mt. Lebanon struggled to respond, and even missed a field goal after an Alex Tecza interception. However, they did eventually settle in, mostly behind Eli Heidenreich scrambling out of the wild cat. Heidenreich took the direct snap and scampered left, cut back right, and scored a 27-yard rushing touchdown. McDowell drove but missed a kick that gave the Blue Devils a chance to take the lead.

Heidenreich once again got into the wildcat, and this time he scored on a 13-yard touchdown run to give the Blue Devils their first lead, 14-7. It did not take long until Mt. Lebanon scored again and took control of the game though.

Matt Wertz picked off a pass near the sideline and gave Mt. Lebanon the ball on their side of midfield with just enough time to score before the half. Heidenreich caught a pass this time that got the Blue Devils inside their red zone. Then, they leaned on Alex Tecza, who took a nine-yard run into the end zone to give Mt. Lebanon a 21-7 lead at the half.

Wertz had a key interception to end the half and after McDowell drove down the field, he forced a fumble early in the third quarter, as Daniel King recovered.

McDowell gave Mt. Lebanon an inch and Eli Heidenreich took it a mile, going 80 yards on the very next play, extending the lead to 28-7, and making it tough for McDowell to get back in this game.

McDowell was clearly pressing and the first pass on the ensuing drive was picked off by Tommy Boehner. The pick led to a quick score when Brenden Anderson took a 36-yard reception to the house. Despite a no good extra point Mt. Lebanon had a 34-7 lead and complete control of the game.

Mt. Lebanon got a stop and Joey Daniels hit Heidenreich for 40, which put him over 100 rushing and receiving for the game. The catch set up a Tecza run from eight yards out and the lead extended to 40-7.

With a 40-7 lead entering the fourth quarter, head coach Bob Palko called off the dogs, and went with his subs to get the team ready for their next game.

Still, Charlie Pellegrino caught a pass from Alex Gevaudan to extend the lead to 47-7, and get the mercy rule clock running. McDowell added a score late to make it 47-14.

Mt. Lebanon will take on the winner of State College vs. Harrisburg with the time, date, and location to be announced.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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