Sep. 17—Somerset put on a display of complementary football in Saturday night's Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference West 1 Section contest at Westmont Hilltop, as the Golden Eagles used splash plays on offense, defense and special teams to earn their second straight win with a 31-13 victory over the Hilltoppers.
"This was totally a team win," said Somerset coach Jeff Urban, whose squad improved to 2-2 on the season. "Our kids grew up a lot tonight, not just physically, but mentally. We were able to execute the game plan, and the kids believed in what the coaches prepared."
The Golden Eagles won two straight games for the first time since Oct. 2 and 9, 2020.
Somerset junior quarterback Lane Lambert's versatile performance provided an impact for the Golden Eagles. Lambert rushed for a team-leading 90 yards and two touchdowns, completed 3 of 5 passes for 81 yards and another score, and on the defensive side, he recovered two Hilltoppers fumbles and took one the distance from 67 yards out.
Westmont Hilltop (1-3) was able to move the ball, as the Hilltoppers outgained the Golden Eagles 358-267 in total yardage. However, Somerset's defense came up big when it counted, as Westmont Hilltop lost three fumbles in the red zone and also failed to score after a first-and-goal at the Somerset 8 early in the third quarter.
"We had too many mistakes, and that starts with me at the top," Westmont Hilltop coach Pat Barron said. "We've got to be better. We'll watch film, correct our mistakes and move forward. Credit to Somerset, they made a lot of plays tonight."
The Hilltoppers held the early momentum after Barrett Gyure recovered a Somerset fumble on the initial series of the game. Westmont Hilltop proceeded to engineer a trademark 15-play drive that consumed nearly nine minutes.
Freshman running back Bryce Goodman, who finished with a game-high 182 rushing yards on 27 carries, capped off the 69-yard drive by punching it in from the one on fourth-and-goal to make it 6-0 with 23 seconds left in the quarter.
However, it took just 11 seconds for Somerset to respond as senior Trevor McNabb fielded the ensuing kickoff and sprinted 75 yards down the right sideline for the tying touchdown.
The Hilltoppers looked to regain the lead on the next possession after three straight first downs on the ground moved the ball to the Somerset 24, but Lambert's 67-yard scoop-and-score followed by Josiah Antram's extra point put the Eagles on top 13-6 with 8:26 left in the half.
Westmont Hilltop answered on the ensuing drive by going away from their ground-and-pound offense and going to the air. Gyure connected with Gaven Cassick on a 31-yard completion, and followed that three plays later with a deep throw to Noah Brownlee, who made a contested grab and eluded a Somerset defender for a 37-yard touchdown. Sebastian Jones's kick tied it at 13-all.
Somerset drove into Hilltoppers territory on the following possession after a 17-yard Lambert scramble and a Westmont Hilltop personal foul penalty. Lambert hit Rowan Holmes over the middle for a 27-yard go-ahead touchdown strike at the 4:49 mark.
The Hilltoppers again threatened late in the half, but were turned away when Lambert recovered a fumble at the Somerset 12 with 1:33 left before the break.
Westmont Hilltop took the second-half kickoff and controlled the ball for 13 plays covering over seven minutes. However, the drive came up empty when Gyure's fourth-down pass into the end zone from the Somerset 11 fell incomplete.
From there, Somerset marched 89 yards in 10 plays. Rushes of 37 yards by Camden Lowery and 17 yards by Lambert set up Lambert's 5-yard keeper on the initial play of the fourth quarter.
The Golden Eagles subsequently put the contest out of reach when Lambert found the end zone from 29 yards out with 4:55 left to set the eventual final.
"We were prepared, and our team just put it all together tonight to get the win," Lambert said.
Westmont Hilltop travels to Greater Johnstown on Friday, while Somerset will host McCort-Carroll in the Golden Eagles' homecoming game.