It was a game that Greater Latrobe needed to win Friday as it traveled to Trinity for a Big Seven Conference matchup.

It was a must-win game for the Wildcats and the Hillers as both teams were coming into the game with matching 2-3 overall records, with Trinity holding one more conference win than Greater Latrobe.

And it was the win that the Wildcats needed as they rolled 31-6 over the Hillers.

“We asked a lot of the kids this week at practice,” Greater Latrobe coach Ron Prady said. “We asked them to pick up their intensity at practice. We asked them to be more focused, to execute better, finish drives and get off of blocks. Tonight, they did those things. They responded. This is 100% of kids tonight. They were phenomenal tonight.”

Turnovers were the name of the game in the opening quarter.

Trinity would fumble the ball and Greater Latrobe would drive to the Trinity 12-yard line before the Wildcats returned the favor and fumbled the ball with the Hillers recovering.

Trinity would then march down the field getting to the Wildcats’ 25-yard line.

The Hillers would attempt to get the ball into the end zone on 4th and 5. And on a floater of a pass, the Wildcats’ Ja’tawn Williams got in front of the Hillers’ receiver and picked off the pass at the one-yard line.

The Wildcats would break the game open on its ensuing possession. After, Robby Fulton got Greater Latrobe out of its own end zone by picking up the first down and getting the Wildcats to the 11-yard line.

With 1:14 left in the quarter and the Wildcats looking at third down at its 16-yard line, quarterback John Wetzel kept the ball on a fake handoff to Fulton and scrambled 84 yards for the first Greater Latrobe score of the game.

After the extra point by Vinny Oddo, the Wildcats were up 7-0.

Wetzel had a breakout performance against Trinity and he was just getting started.

At the 10:51 mark of the second quarter, Wetzel would strike again, this time through the air. With the ball on the Trinity 31-yard line, Wetzel dropped back and found Dominik Flenniken at the five-yard line. Flenniken and Trinity’s Dominic Derubbo went up in the air for the ball, Flenniken came down with it and scored Greater Latrobe’s second TD of the first half.

Latrobe added to its lead when Benjamin Bigi, who came in for Oddo, who was injured on an earlier kickoff, kicked a 32-yard field goal to push the Wildcats out to a 17-0 lead with 4:56 left in the half.

Wetzel would wrap up his big breakout first half with yet another touchdown strike. With just over three minutes until halftime, Wetzel connected with Kollin Stevens for an 84-yard TD. With the Bigi extra point, Greater Latrobe had a 24-0 lead at the half.

“We asked more of Johnny in the passing game and the running game,” Prady said. “You saw him run the ball well too tonight. He is just a great athlete. He is one of the best athletes on the field every week.”

The turn of the half saw the scoring cool. It would be nearly 11 minutes into the third quarter before the scoreboard changed.

Trinity, after working its way down the field, found itself at the Latrobe two-yard line. On a QB keeper, Jonah Williamson snuck in for the Hillers to put Trinity on the scoreboard at 24-6.

In the fourth quarter, with the score still 24-6, with Trinity driving with just over six minutes left in the game, Wetzel picked off a pass for Latrobe.

Then with 1:53 left in the game, Fulton found the open room in the Hiller defense and scored from 20 yards out to put the Wildcats up 31-6.

“I’m proud of the defense and the effort,” Prady said. “We asked them not to give up big plays and they did that tonight. At the start of the game, with the 3rd-and-long situation was the only big play they had.”

Flenniken had a standout outing on the defensive side for the Wildcats, with a string of bone-jarring tackles.

“(Flenniken) played a phenomenal game,” Prady said. “He is always so consistent. Every week he is like that. He just does his job and he does it really hard and does it well. He is just a great player. He is such a team guy. He will play some receiver; he doesn’t care if he catches the ball. He is willing to go block. He will stick his nose in there at corner and hit people. Great player, great kid.”

Wetzel finished two touchdowns through the air and one rushing TD. He passed for over 130 yards in the air and rushed for 153 yards on 10 carries. Fulton had one rushing touchdown, rushing for 141 yards on 21 carries. Kollin Stevens led the Wildcats in receiving with 84 yards on one catch and one touchdown.

The Wildcats improve to 3-3 and 1-2 in conference play.

“Our backs were against the wall with losing three in a row, especially losing a tough one (last week to Laurel Highlands),” Prady said. “Even the one the week before, (Thomas Jefferson) was tough. We are getting better.”

Greater Latrobe will host Ringgold on Oct. 7 in another Big Seven Conference matchup.

Greater Latrobe 31 Trinity 6

Score by quarters

G. Latrobe 7 17 0 7 — 31 Trinity 0 0 6 0 — 6

Scoring summary

GL John Wetzel 84 run (Vinny Oddo kick) GL Dom Flenniken 29 pass from Wetzel (Oddo kick) GL Ben Bigi 32 FG GL Kollin Stevens 84 pass from Wetzel (Bigi kick) T Jonah Williamson 2 run (kick failed) GL Robert Fulton 20 run (Bigi kick)

Rushing

GL: Wetzel 10-153; Fulton 21-141. T: Hello 21-100.

Passing GL: Wetzel 5-9–153. Receiving

GL: Stevens 1-84

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