FALLOWFIELD TWP. -- Geno Pellegrini threw for 301 yards and five scores in the first half, and Charleroi scored on its first eight drives for a 56-27 Century Conference win over Southmoreland Friday night.
“We played well in the first half, other than the one breakdown,” said Charleroi coach Lance Getsy. “It seems we have one each week and we have to correct that.
“Our guys are offensive-minded guys and we have to become more defensive-minded. Southmoreland came out in a new defense than they played all year, but we adjusted.”
“I thought coming in that it would be a shootout and that we would have to stop them and they would have to stop us,” said Southmoreland coach Dave Keefer. “They got the best of us in the first half and we couldn’t stop them.
“They are a talented team, their team speed is unbelievable and they are well coached.”
After holding Southmoreland on the first drive of the game, the Cougars (5-1, 4-1) went 81 yards on nine plays and took a 7-0 lead when Pellegrini hit Hunter Perry on a 45-yard touchdown strike.
Southmoreland (2-4, 3-4) went into its bag of tricks on the next drive as running back Anthony Govern took a hand off and threw down field for Cade Richter. The ball, however, was overthrown by inches or Richter would have walked into the end zone from 70 yards out.
It was one of three times in the first half that a Southmoreland receiver got behind the Charleroi defense, but the ball was overthrown.
“We had a few overthrows and it would have been a little bit closer,” said Keefer. “I am not saying it would have been a different outcome, but we missed some opportunities.”
The Cougars led 7-0 after the first quarter, and they doubled their lead to 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter when Pellegrini hit Dakota Romantino on a 48-yard bubble screen for a score.
After a Southmoreland three-and-out, Legend Davis returned a punt 24 yards and then caught a 45-yard pass from Pellegrini on Charleroi’s next drive.
It led to a two-yard touchdown pass from Pellegrini to his younger brother, Dom.
Pellegrini hit Romantino with an 85-yard pass on the first play of Charleroi’s next possession, and the Cougars led 28-0.
The Scotties finally got on the board with Zach Carnuto hit Riley Comforti with a 34-yard touchdown pass with 55 seconds left in the half, but they left Charleroi with too much time.
Pellegrini threw his fifth touchdown pass of the half with one second left, a 5-yard score, to Ethan Codeluppi to make the score 28-7 at halftime.
Charleroi had 359 yards on 24 plays in the first half, while Southmoreland had 164 yards on 35 plays.
Davis took the second half kickoff 85 yards untouched for a touchdown, and Joe Caruso’s extra point enacted the Mercy Rule.
The teams exchanged scores the rest of the game as Southmoreland’s Ronnie Robinson followed with a 42-yard touchdown run, Perry countered with a 9-yard score, Carnuto connected with Brandon Peterson on a 32-yard touchdown pass for Southmoreland, Brayden Mihalcin scored from five yards out for Charleroi, and Carnuto closed the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run.
Despite the lopsided win, Geno Pellegrini said the team lost focus at halftime.
“We got too big-headed and took our foot off of the gas,” he said. “We let up and I don’t know why, but I know that we have to correct it and fix it.
“We have to get better on defense this week.”
Charleroi hosts McGuffey in a key section contest Friday while Southmoreland hosts Shenango in a non-conference game.
“McGuffey is a tough team,” Getsy said. “We did not look ahead so I have to study them and we know we have a tough game in front of us.”
Southmoreland 0-7-6-14 -- 27
Charleroi 7-28-14-7 -- 56
Char: Hunter Perry 45 pass from Geno Pellegrini (Joe Caruso kick)
Char: Dakota Romantino 48 pass from Geno Pellegrini (Joe Caruso kick)
Char: Dom Pellegrini 2 pass from Geno Pellegrini (Joe Caruso kick)
Char: Dakota Romantino 85 from Geno Pellegrini (Joe Caruso kick)
S: Riley Comforti 34 pass form Zach Carnuto (Andrew Rodriguez kick)
Char: Ethan Codeluppi 5 pass from Geno Pellegrini (Joe Caruso kick)
Char: Legend Davis 85 kickoff return (Joe Caruso kick)
S: Ronnie Robinson 42 run (kick failed)
Char: Hunter Perry 9 run (Joe Caruso kick)
S: Brandon Peterson 32 pass from Carnuto (Ronnie Robinson run)
Char: Brayden Mihalcin 5 run (Joe Caruso kick)
S: Zach Carnuto 1-yard run (Andrew Rodriguez kick)
Records: Southmoreland (2-4, 3-4), Charleroi (4-1, 5-1, 4-1).