McCoy delivers on both sides of ball in Laurel's win over New Brighton

Laurel's Luke McCoy runs up the field during a home game against Riverside.

The Laurel High football team needed a win to remain in the playoff race.

Luke McCoy made sure the Spartans would get that victory.

McCoy rushed for 204 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns in a 27-25 WPIAL Midwestern Conference decision over host New Brighton on Friday.

For his efforts, McCoy was named Lawrence County Athlete of the Week by the New Castle News sports staff.

“I thought he had a great game,” Spartans coach Brian Cooper said. “He’s just an explosive player. He has an ability to make big plays and extend plays; Luke is a talented running back who has speed and explosion.”

A 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior running back/inside linebacker, McCoy scored on runs of 69, 55 and 6 six yards. His six-yard scoring scamper in the third quarter gave Laurel (3-2 conference, 3-2 overall) a 27-19 lead. The Lions answered back later in the period with a touchdown, but would get no closer. There was no scoring in the fourth quarter.

McCoy, a son of Doug and Kristine McCoy, also delivered on the defensive side of the ball as well in the win over New Brighton. He broke up a pass on New Brighton’s first two-point conversion attempt, while making the tackle just short of the goal line on the second two-point conversion attempt. The tackle helped preserve Laurel’s two-point advantage and eventually the win.

“They were just big moments,” McCoy said of his two-point conversion plays. “I knew I had to make the big plays there.”

Said Cooper, “He’s all over the field, making plays sideline to sideline. He’s so explosive and tackles so well. Luke does a tremendous defensively. That hit he made on the goal line preserved our lead.

“He has been a good tackler for his whole career. He has a nose for the ball; he’s so quick and explosive. We know Luke is very talented.”

McCoy has rushed for a team-high 538 yards on 77 carries, while hauling in four passes for 77 yards. He has scored six touchdowns and added a two-point conversion.

Last year, McCoy blew out his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a 57-0 win over Bishop Canevin.

“The rehab work he did to get back was phenomenal,” Cooper said. “He’s faster now than he was last year and that says a lot about him and his work ethic.

“I was worrying he was going to be a little slower. His understanding of the game and maturity of the game is his big developments from his freshman year.”

McCoy noted the work he put in to get back on the field.

“It was a long process, but I got through it,” he said. “I worked hard every day. 

“I feel like I’m even better, faster. Everything feels fine now.”

The Spartans return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they host Mohawk (1-4, 1-4) in a conference matchup.

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com

Sports Writer

Ron Poniewasz Jr. is a sports writer at the New Castle News. Email him at rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com.

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