Prep football: Greyhounds feel right at home in return to PSS

In Duluth East's first return to Public Schools Stadium since building an on-campus football field, the Greyhounds made themselves at home Friday night.

TD toss
Duluth East's Chase Dedominces (left) pulls in a touchdown pass against Duluth Denfeld's Alex Larson (13) during Friday night's game at Public Schools Stadium. East defeated Denfeld 33-8. (Clint Austin /

In Duluth East's first return to Public Schools Stadium since building an on-campus football field, the Greyhounds made themselves at home Friday night.

Senior quarterback Alex Toscano threw three touchdown passes and ran for another -- all during a 33-point explosion in the second quarter -- to lead East to a 33-8 Mississippi 8 Conference victory over crosstown rival Duluth Denfeld.

East, which called PSS home for generations, debuted at Ordean Stadium earlier this month. As the road team Friday, the Greyhounds did what they had done for years: hop on a bus and make the drive across town. And the seniors did what they've done for the past eight meetings against Denfeld: climb the bleacher fence and celebrate a win with their fellow students.

"I missed the bus ride over here -- you get pumped up on your way over here -- and it was awesome to climb the fence at PSS one more time," said senior tight end Chase Dedominces, who caught a pair of scoring passes. "We have bragging rights for the rest of our lives."

Toscano, who completed 6 of 11 passes for 111 yards, teamed with Dedominces on touchdown tosses of 15 and 26 yards and found Derek Donald on a similar play for 20 yards.


"That was the tight end quick pass," Dedominces said. "We practiced that play all week in practice and it worked every time."

In between, Toscano sneaked over from the 1 as the Greyhounds (2-2 overall, 1-1 conference) totaled 197 yards of offense in the second quarter.

"Our line blocked their guys, our backs were running hard and that set up the pass," Toscano said. "They were biting on the fake."

After a scoreless opening quarter, Toscano picked off a Matt Klang pass and returned it 12 yards to the Denfeld 5. Junior Brian Lansing, who finished with a game-high 124 yards on 20 carries, scored on the first play for a 7-0 lead. Four plays into the Greyhounds' next drive, Dedominces slipped behind the secondary and nabbed Toscano's 15-yard strike to make it 13-0. That tandem worked the play to perfection again with 3:09 left in the quarter to put East ahead 27-0.

"When you start having success running the football -- and we had success between the tackles -- then that opened up the play-action to Chase," East coach Joe Hietala said. "It's a play we've had success on all year long and it's a play Alex and Chase know how to read really well. Alex knows where to throw it, and Chase knows how to get open."

Toscano followed with his third scoring pass of the quarter with 1:14 remaining, salting the game away by halftime.

Denfeld (0-4, 0-2) did win the scoring battle in the second half, scoring on Nick Malec's 66-yard run and keeping East off the scoreboard.

"Those moral victories only last for so long -- you can only tell yourself that so many times," Hunters coach Frank Huie said. "Yeah, we won the second half and we outplayed them here and there, but eventually you have to face the fact that you got outscored by 20-some points. It's hard to play quality football on one side of the ball, on defense, when offensively we're so poor. It never balanced out."


The Hunters committed four turnovers and made only four first downs in the first half.

"Turnovers have plagued us," Huie said. "With turnovers, sometimes three things lead to one turnover. Maybe a receiver runs the wrong route, a guy doesn't block and then the quarterback throws the interception. A lot of that is going on right now, but all the teams we've played have been better teams than we are at this point."

The Hunters couldn't even use the home field to their advantage since East shared the field for so many years.

"Going back to PSS, we're not very far removed from that process so it felt like second nature to do our warm-up at our school and then head over to PSS," Hietala said. "It probably felt more natural than playing at the new field."

Duluth East: 0-33-0-0--33

Duluth Denfeld: 0-0-0-8--8

DE -- Brian Lansing 5 run (Alex Toscano kick)

DE -- Chase Dedominces 15 pass from Toscano (kick blocked)


DE -- Toscano 1 run (Lansing run)

DE -- Dedominces 26 pass from Toscano (kick failed)

DE -- Derek Donald 20 pass from Toscano (pass failed)

DD -- Nick Malec 66 run (Jerome Strother Jr. pass from Matt Klang)

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