Tornado win at Hempfield


GREENSBURG — With 4:08 remaining, Hempfield tried planting a seed of doubt. 

Claude Clark dug it right back up. 
Clark had 21 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns — including a critical 48-yard burst late in the game — as Butler defeated Hempfield, 23-10, in a non-section football game Friday night at Spartan Stadium. 
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Golden Tornado (3-4), who gained some momentum heading into next week’s crucial matchup with Fox Chapel. 
Butler also ended a 19-game road losing streak that dated back to 2008. 
“We’ve been fighting confidence a little bit and this will help,” Butler coach Clyde Conti said. “Our effort is there, but our focus and performance have to get better if we’re going to beat Fox Chapel. 
“Both teams left some points out on the field tonight.” 
Hempfield (3-4) trailed 10-3 at halftime and had a DeLorian Day interception and return deep into Tornado territory negated by a pass interference penalty early in the third quarter. 
Late in the quarter, a 33-yard pass to Tyler Handlan that would have given Hempfield a first-and-goal at the Butler 2 was wiped out by an illegal shift. 
Butler lost a fumble inside Hempfield’s 30 in the second quarter and Devin Fitz was wide right on a 22-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the first half. 
Fitz made good on field-goal attempts of 25, 38 and 21 yards on the night, however, the latter giving the Tornado a 16-3 lead with 7:03 remaining. 
“We have a lot of faith in Devin and he knows that,” Conti said. “He’s only a freshman, yet he’s a very solid kicker.” 
Hempfield used a nine-play, 60-yard drive to score its lone touchdown with 4:08 left in the game, pulling within 16-10. The Spartans then had Butler in a third-and-9 situation near midfield. 
“Our kids played hard and we were in position to pull this one out,” Hempfield coach Rich Bowen said. 
Clark took care of that. 
The senior fullback took a delayed handoff up the middle and split the seam for a 48-yard run before being tackled at the Spartans’ 3-yard line. Two plays later, he scored the game-clinching touchdown with 1:26 remaining. 
“Bobby Vernick made a kick-out block on their linebacker and I saw nothing but grass in front of me ... just run as hard as you can,” Clark said. 
“We didn’t want to be satisfied with just holding on. We wanted another touchdown.” 
Jake Olenick added 18 carries for 87 yards for the Tornado, who rushed for 217 as a team. 
“Our offensive line was on it tonight. They were moving people,” Clark said. 
And Clark was moving the ball. 
“I had a feeling, if we were going to win tonight, Claude Clark was going to have to have a big game,” Conti said. 
The Tornado defense had a strong effort, as well. Lucas Dubyak intercepted a pass to set up a Fitz field goal. Canan Roskovski — who caught a 46-yard bomb to set up Butler’s first touchdown — intercepted a pass midway through the second quarter and returned it 60 yards for a score. 
An illegal block during the return negated the touchdown, but the theft did set up another Fitz field goal. 
Curtis Hunka had a pair of quarterback sacks and Keenan Barlow had a sack for a 14-yard loss. 
Hempfield completed 15 passes on the night, but for only 109 total yards. 
“No YAC (yards after catch) happening tonight,” Bowen said. “Butler came up and made the stops repeatedly. 
“They’re in the second year of a rebuilding program and they’re coming. That’s a tough team playing in a tough conference.”