Pen Argyl Beats the Cold and Wyoming Area to Advance
Slatington, Pa. – Senior Mike Racciato contributed 1,362 yards to the Pen Argyl Green Knights rushing attack through the first 12 weeks of the 2012 season.
On Saturday, the Green Knights had to attack the defense of the Wyoming Area Warriors without him.
Racciato left the game early in the second quarter with a left calf injury. He was evaluated by trainers in the locker room and after a conversation between the team and Racciato’s father; they decided to let him play in a limited role. That meant, not allowing him to run the ball.
Also during halftime Green Knights head coach, Paul Reduzzi, had a conversation with junior Mike DePaolo and told him that they need to saddle him up and ride him and his talents all the way to a victory. And the Green Knights did just that.
With flurries flying on and off during the first round AA state playoff game at Northern Lehigh, the coldness was a big factor on both sidelines. Pen Argyl was able to overcome it and defeat the warriors of Wyoming Area by a final score of 21-7.
DePaolo, who ran for 220 yards, put it best, “We did what we had to do.”
Early on neither team could muster a big drive. After exchanging a few possessions, Wyoming Area had their drive stopped with an interception by senior Zak Ruppert. Three plays later the Green Knights capitalized on the turnover with a 48 yard breakthrough touchdown run by DePaolo.
After a great kickoff return, the Warriors started with the ball on Pen Argyl’s 21. Unable to reach a first down the Warriors set up to attempt a 35 yard field goal. They faked it with a pass that fell incomplete in the end zone.
With momentum rising on their side, the Green Knights rallied a long drive that ate up the majority of the second quarter. Wyoming was able to halt their drive and a force a Green Knight punt.
Being plagued by penalties and errant snaps all afternoon, the Warriors failed to score in the first half. However, heading in to the locker room they were only losing by a score of 7-0 thanks to their very versatile player, senior Nick O’Brien.
Wyoming Area received the ball to commence the second half and with only a few plays in to their drive had it stopped again by another interception. This time it was senior Matt Gilfilen who grabbed the pass.
A la the second quarter, the Green Knights took the ball and controlled it offensively for about half of the third quarter. They kept moving the chains by mixing in junior Nick Oyer in to the rushing attack along with the 6’3”, 210 pound DePaolo. Oyer also came up big in the passing game as his 25 yard pass to senior Scott Beltz set up the one yard touchdown punch by DePaolo on the next play.
Wyoming Area’s head coach, Randy Spencer, talked about how Pen Argyl was able to keep drives alive, “They converted a couple of times, whether it was off the edge or someone breaking a tackle. They did a great job converting.”
After once again capitalizing on a Wyoming Area turnover Pen Argyl with a 14-0 lead kicked the ball off to the Warriors with 6:32 left in the third quarter.
Setting up their second drive of the second half of the game, the Warriors had great field position thanks to a beautiful kick return. In two minutes and twenty seconds, the Warriors were finally on the scoreboard with a 31 yard touchdown run by the future Bucknell Bison, O’Brien.
Even DePaolo, who is a fabulous rusher in his own right, had praise for the 5’10”, 180 pound O’Brien, “He is shifty, really shifty. Be careful as he could juke you out. He is a really good player.”
Following a punt by Pen Argyl, Wyoming Area drove the ball to Pen Argyl’s ten yard line, but couldn’t punch it in. Instead they attempted a 27 yard field goal that missed.
The Green Knights took over after the missed attempt and marched down the field. Gaining yards and eating up more of the clock, Pen Argyl took the ball in to Wyoming Area territory and finished it off with a 37 yard touchdown run by DePaolo making the score 21-7.
With two more interceptions by the Green Knights thanks to Oyer and DePaolo, Pen Argyl sealed the victory. After the game a shivering Reduzzi was elated with his players and so happy to have achieved 11 wins this season.
Pen Argyl advances to the AA state quarterfinals where they will face off against Imhotep. That game will be played at Northern Lehigh’s Bulldog Stadium on Saturday, December 1. That is 1pm kickoff.
PA: 1:48 48 yd TD rush by DePaolo
PA: 6:38 1 yd TD rush by DePaolo
W: 4:12 31 yd TD rush by O’Brien
PA: 5:09 37 yd TD rush by DePaolo
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