Mt. Lebanon, Canon-McMillan motivated for battle
Teams use many motivators to prepare them for battle.
For example, some prognosticators picked Hempfield to beat Mt. Lebanon. “That touched a nerve,” said Lebo skipper Mike Melnyk. The Blue Devils went out and thumped the Spartans, 31-0.
Then there is Canon-McMillan. The Big Macs thrive on character and integrity, fighting back when they are down and regaining the lead. They will answer the proverbial question regarding how they will respond from last week’s first loss of the season to Penn Hills, 33-17.
No matter what, however, both teams face a battle when Lebo travels to Canonsburg Memorial Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff Sept. 15 against the Big Macs in Southeastern Conference action. Both teams are 2-1 and 1-0 in the conference. No further motivation is necessary.
“It’s a huge game,” Melnyk said.
Mike Evans agreed and added that the keys to the game are easy questions to answer. “Blocking and tackling.”
Both know it will take the utmost effort to win.
“We have to play all phases for four quarters,” Evans said.
“The game will be a battle for 48 minutes and we will prepare for that,” said Melnyk. “We need to take care of our business and get better.”
The Blue Devils have already improved. They had three turnovers in their first two games but none in the win against Hempfield.
Lebo also saw Antonio LaSota rush for 130 yards and a 9-yard touchdown. James Stocker completed 10 of 21 passes for 103 yards and a 24-yard scoring strike to Lucas DeCaro. Seth Morgan also tossed a 53-yard TD aerial to Aidan Cain and rushed for a 3-yard score. Bart Barcic kicked the extra points and a 19-yard field goal.
With Stocker back from a knee injury and Morgan still in tow, Melnyk said the Blue Devils are “fortunate to have two players who have proven they can be excellent varsity quarterbacks” and Lebo will continue to use them both.
“Competition is a great motivator,” he said. “We know that if we are going to be successful, we have got to have a balanced offense. We have improved but we are not where we need to be yet.”
The Big Macs, on the other hand, have improved in the three seasons that Evans has been at the helm. They have built an identity, they are competitive and they believe in the system and the team concept.
“They are much improved,” Melnyk said. “They have excellent lineman and their skill kids can make plays.”
Evans acknowledges that Lebo, similarly, has its standouts.
“Mt. Lebanon and their coaches do an outstanding job,” he said. “We know what kind of program they have. They look very good on both sides of the ball and specials, they have some very talented players. This is a very good Lebo team. They have weapons and a good system.
“Our defense has played pretty well, I believe in our defense. We have to put some points up on the board to have a chance to beat this team. Our defense has given us opportunities and kept us in games so far this year.”