CLAYSVILLE – Not much has changed in eight years for Monessen running backs Clintell Gillaspie and Javon Brown.
The two joined the same backfield in fifth grade and have been terrorizing opposing defenses since. Gillaspie, using a 235-pound frame, was the Greyhounds’ thunder last fall, with the speedy, undersized Brown providing the lightning
With Monessen head coach Andy Pacak directing the duo on the South Squad in the BeeGraphix Football Classic Saturday at McGuffey High School, the one-two punch was just as lethal.
The Monessen duo scored a pair of touchdowns for the South Squad and combined for 205 total yards to lead the South to a 35-7 victory over the North Squad.
“We got one last go around with those guys and it was a lot of fun,” Pacak said. “They both made big plays all over the field. It made me sad again because I remembered I’m not going to have them this season.”
The North Squad took a 7-0 lead 4:28 into the first quarter when quarterback Charles Manack of Frazier found Bethel Park’s Jake Greiner with a fade pass in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
The South quickly answered with South’s most valuable offensive player Gillaspie, who will play football at Lackawanna Community College, scoring the touchdown. On the drive, Brown rushed for 39 yards and Gillaspie caught a 33-yard swing pass to get the South into scoring position.
Gillaspie finished the drive by catching a screen pass from quarterback Xavier Ellis of Uniontown, shaking left to freeze three defenders before dashing right for an easy 12-yard score.
“We’ve been together since midget football, and it’s always been like this,” Gillaspie said of the duo’s big night. “We both do our thing. He has the speed, I have the power.”
One of Gillaspie’s biggest rivals during basketball season, Brandon Lawless of Carmichaels, added to the South’s lead with the play of the night. An Alderson Broaddus recruit, the 6-4 Mikes quarterback capped a 74-yard drive when he took a high snap and tucked the ball to elude the rush before squaring up and throwing a 29-yard touchdown strike to Mapletown’s Dereck Riggleman for a 14-7 lead heading to halftime.
“I was running for my life,” Lawless joked. “I just rolled to the side and saw Riggleman down the field so I tossed one up. I was getting pressured, but it was great playing with these guys.”
On the first offensive drive of the third quarter, Brown lined up as a slot receiver and caught a pass from Ellis for a 57-yard touchdown to give the South a 21-7 lead.
Brown caught two passes for 65 yards and rushed for 42 yards, while Gillaspie ran for 53 yards on four carries and caught two passes for 45 yards – including the touchdown. Midway through the third quarter, Gillaspie overran a handoff from quarterback Austin Hunter of California and had to back track to avoid a loss.
He reversed field, stiff-armed a defender and scampered 19 yards up the sideline for a first down.
“It was obviously nice to see (Brown and Gillaspie) play the way they did, but we had a good group of players out there,” Pacak said. “It helped having the quarterbacks we did and the other team dealt with some injury issues.”
Douglas Lewis of Uniontown and Brandon Bowman of Charleroi added rushing touchdowns for the South in the third quarter to extend the scoring streak to 35 unanswered points for Pacak’s team. The South squad maintained possession in the fourth quarter by converting two fourth downs and ran out the clock to end the game.
“It was just good to play football again,” Gillaspie said. “I just wanted to come out to show people what I can do. There was some talking going on and I wanted to show out.”