Wildcats Make History with 28-21 overtime win @ Highlands


For the first time since 2019, the Greater Latrobe Wildcats have made the playoffs. The team clinched a spot in the 4A Playoffs after the Connellsville Falcons lost their Week 8 game, despite the Wildcats losing 54-14 to McKeesport that same week. The team finished the regular season with a record of 6-4 and a conference record of 3-3. 

The Wildcats started the season with two wins against Derry (55-0) and Franklin Regional (36-33 OT). The team then hit a three-game losing streak in the month of September losing to Hempfield (49-14), Thomas Jefferson (38-28), and Laurel Highlands (10-7). 

“We have to get back to the fundamentals,” said head coach, Ron Prady, after the loss against Laurel Highlands. “The further we get down the field, the urgency has to pick up,”said Prady. 

After the loss to Laurel Highlands, the Wildcats backed themselves against the wall knowing that they would need to win their next stretch of three games to give them a good chance of securing a playoff spot for the second time in four years. 

The team picked up the pieces, and put the puzzle together in the second half of the season. The team won three straight games against Trinity (31-6), Ringgold (42-0), and Connellsville (43-13). 

“We’re just going out there and playing our best, and not worrying about who we are playing. We are just worried about our jobs and it’s led to success thus far”, said senior captain Corey Boerio, after the team’s win against Connellsville, 43-13, to improve to 5-3. 

The team finished off with two games at Memorial Stadium facing off against the undefeated McKeesport Tigers (54-14) and Butler Golden Tornadoes (28-14). Against Butler the team honored their 13 seniors, which included Robert Fulton, Corey Boerio, Ray Dupilka, Wyatt Held, Danny Calebrace, Kolin Stevens.

The Wildcats finished off the season winning five out of their last six games in order to clinch a spot in the WPIAL Playoffs as part of the Big Seven Conference. 

The Wildcats faced off against the Highlands Golden Rams in round one of the 4A bracket, in the WPIAL Playoffs. The team headed out to New Kensington looking for their first WPIAL Playoff win in program history, and their first postseason win since 1968. 

The No. 6 Highlands Golden Rams hosted the No. 11 Greater Latrobe Wildcats in the first round of the 2022 WPIAL 4A Playoffs. 

“Highlands is the most physical team that we’ve seen since Thomas Jefferson. Coach Prady and I talked about how much they remind us of them in the way that their offensive line gets off the ball, they have a good quarterback, and they have a good running back. That all being said, I feel like we match up pretty well against Highlands,” said defensive coordinator, Lou Keyser ahead of the game against Highlands.

The game definitely didn’t start the way that Greater Latrobe wanted it to. The Wildcats went three-and-out and ended up punting on 4th and 35. 

With the good start, Highlands would put the first points on the board and took a 7-0 lead after a double pass by Aaran Randolph found Landan Signorella from 12 yards out. 

But the Wildcats responded. 

A three play drive managed by John Wetzel, tied the game for Greater Latrobe as he found Corey Boerio for 14-yards to tie the game at seven. After both teams traded turnovers in the second quarter, Highlands regained the lead, 14-7, as Chandler Thimons found Signorella from 11 yards.Signorella had his second touchdown of the half, and took that lead into halftime.

Despite only running 15 plays in the first half, the Wildcats still had their eyes on the prize.

In the second half, it was  almost like a different team came out of the locker room and took the field. On the first drive of the second half, Highlands was stifled by the Latrobe defense and it set the tone for the remainder of the game. Latrobe went right down the field and capped off their first drive of the second half with John Wetzel’s second touchdown pass of the second half, as this one found Connor Lakin from seven yards out. The score was once again tied at 14. 

Despite the momentum changing in Latrobe’s favor, Highlands kept the pressure on the Wildcats. Thimons kept the play going, and got into the endzone from 13 yards out. Once again, Highlands put the pressure on Latrobe and retook the lead, 21-14. 

The response from the Golden Rams didn’t startle the Wildcats. As the third quarter wound down, Robert Fulton found an opening in the Highlands defense, and powered into the endzone to tie the game up at 21 going into the fourth quarter.

The Golden Rams took a good chunk of the clock off in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats defense stood tall. JaTawn Williams made a critical pass breakup with 10 seconds left to shut down any opportunity that Highlands had of stealing the win late in regulation. Both teams would take a breather, and get settled in for overtime.

Highlands won the overtime coin toss and chose to defer, which would mean that Latrobe would begin the first overtime with the ball from the 10-yard line. 

Greater Latrobe had some experience in overtime games, and good experience at that, as the Wildcats bested Franklin Regional on the road in two overtimes, 36-33. 

After two runs by Robert Fulton, it was 3rd and Goal from the seven yard line. Third time’s the charm for Fulton, as he ran it in from seven yards out and gave Greater Latrobe their first lead of the night at 28-21. The biggest series in Latrobe history was about to take place.

First down for Highlands resulted in a six yard run for Aaran Randolph. Second down was a gain of nothing. But then… a dead ball personal foul against Highlands pushed Highlands back to the 19 yard line. The biggest play of the season for both teams.

3rd and 19. Thimons back. Rolling left. Fires to the endzone. His pass is… intercepted by JaTawn Williams. 

Greater Latrobe stunned the Highlands offense, and silenced the crowd after the history-making interception by Williams, and Greater Latrobe had done what they had done all year. Upset teams that didn’t see them coming. 

The Wildcats made history as they won their first WPIAL Playoff game in program history, and won their first postseason game since the WPIAL Championship in 1968. It was the second postseason win in school history. 

“They are a good team,” said Coach Prady about Highlands. “We answered all night.”

Greater Latrobe will face the Thomas Jefferson Jaguars on Friday, November, 11, 2022 at 7 at Thomas Jefferson. It will be the second meeting between these two teams this year, and the Wildcats will be looking for revenge for earlier in the season when the Jaguars won, 38-28. “We’ve seen them before,” said sophomore quarterback, John Wetzel. “Obviously they have gotten better, but so have we. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”