Latrobe Season Report #1

Richard Hillwig, Staff Writer

Throughout what seems like the longest start to a season ever the Wildcats have made it onto the football field and have played three games so far. There was the question if the WPIAL would even play the 2020 season, which would be a killer for the seniors on the team. But the WPIAL came through and made the decision to play this season. 

Latrobe to start their season played two road games and one game at Memorial Stadium in downtown Latrobe. They started their season on the road at Penn-Trafford and lost 48-14. Latrobe showed some fight in the second half of the game, but couldn’t get things going earlier in the game to put them in a position to win. Bright spots for the Wildcats in the game would be the running game which consisted of Dylan Gustafson running for 77 yards and 1 touchdown on 14 attempts, and Landon Carns throwing the ball. Carns threw for 158 yards on 13 completions and had a touchdown and an interception. Latrobe would have to rebound quickly with a game at Mount Pleasant the following week. 

Latrobe would be on the road for the second week in a row, going to Mount Pleasant for a non-conference game. Latrobe would be looking for their first win on the season, while Mount Pleasant would look to stay undefeated. Latrobe got off to the quick start that they needed and struck first on the road. Landon Carns threw a pass to Tucker Knupp and he broke tackles and ran it 64 yards for the Latrobe touchdown. 6-0 Wildcats. John McHenry added a 24-yard field goal to the score to make it 9-0 Wildcats at halftime. Latrobe would add 4 rushing touchdowns in the second half of that game. Two from Dylan Gustafson (8 yard and a 2 yard touchdowns), a 16-yard touchdown run from Kyle Brewer, and a 3-yard touchdown run from Bobby Fetter to seal the first win of the season for the Wildcats. Latrobe would move to 1-1 and would head home for a game against Upper Saint Clair the following week.

Coach Marucco said going into the game against Upper Saint Clair, “Any time you are coming off an opening season loss, you are looking for improvements in weeks 1 and 2 for the rest of the season, and I thought that we did a good job of that against Mount Pleasant.” Latrobe avoided an 0-2 start with a win against Mount Pleasant and their next opponent, Upper Saint Clair, would be waiting for them at Memorial Stadium. 

Latrobe fell just short of what would have been an amazing comeback win over the Upper Saint Clair Panthers in week three. Latrobe took the 10-0 lead then it was all Upper Saint Clair. Latrobe would be outscored 52-34 the rest of the way. Latrobe almost tied the game late in the fourth when they trailed by as much as 23 points and battled back to within eight points, but could pull through in the end. Latrobe lost a heartbreaker 52-44 at the home-opener at Memorial Stadium and would fall to 1-2 on the young and short season.

“I was impressed with our resiliency and how there were certain times in the game where it would be easy to fold up, and we kept battling back and we put ourselves in a position to tie the game at the end, and in the end, they made more plays than us.” Coach Marucco had that to say about his team after the performance against Upper Saint Clair. “In terms of preparations that part isn’t different, but your mindset certainly needs to be different. Because in high school football if you want to be in the postseason, you have to win games in October. That’s been the message to our football team and they understand that, having the veteran leadership that they have.” The Wildcats know that they have to win important games in October, and they are all for it heading into the last stretch. 

Latrobe’s game against Connellsville will be on Friday, October 9, 2020 at 7 p.m.