Big Red Keeps Bucket:Mount Carmel 35 Shamokin 6
In any rivalry series both sides are prepped and primed to play their best and leading into Friday Night’s annual Coal Bucket Game matchup both head coaches in this game, Mount Carmel’s John Darrah and Shamokin’s Pat DiRenzo, stated this game was “the biggest of the year”. Taking that factor into consideration, it makes the Red Tornadoes’ 35-6 victory over the Indians a bit more impressive than a normal regular season victory. In fact, the Tornadoes were absolutely dominant in all facets of the game, especially in the first half, producing over 300 yards on offense, while stymieing Shamokin on defense. “Credit our defense for coming out, being physical, and not giving them much. That intensity carried over to offense and allowed us to have a great half,” said Darrah.
The defensive intensity of the Red Tornadoes was immediately evident as sophomore cornerback Michael Cuff intercepted a first quarter Nate Shurock pass, setting up MCA inside the Indians’ 5 yard line. Freshman quarterback John Ayres, who looks completely healed from a mid-season injury, took it the final 2 yards to paydirt, giving the Red Tornadoes an early lead. Sophomore Kicker Rosolino Mangiapane would add his first of 5 PAT’s on the evening, to make it 7-0.
Mount Carmel Area would never look back. On The Red Tornadoes’ next possession, wingback Lane Tanney, had an electrifying 58 yard touchdown run down the left sideline and MCA would lead 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Tanney, along with Ayres, and fullback Allen Yancoskie, all provided excellent performances in the Tornado backfield to compliment senior running back Kyle Karycki who was limited on carries because of the defensive looks given by Shamokin. “They pretty much had everybody in box on defense and I was happy to see some other guys step up on offense,” said Darrah. Even with the added attention, Karycki still managed to rush for 90 yards, while adding a 20 yard reception from quarterback John Ayres.
It was the play of Ayres highlighting the second quarter on offense as the freshman signal caller made some key reads and threw for 2 touchdown passes. The first, a 34 yard strike to Wes Shurock, which would be the junior tight end’s 5th touchdown on the season and the second, which was 4 yarder to fullback Allen Yancoskie, and was the result of a perfectly engineered drive to end the first half, allowing the Tornadoes to head to the locker room with a 28-0 lead. “The offense did a nice job on that drive. John managed it well and we kept going to that flat pass because the defense never adjusted to it. Allen made some nice catches on the drive,” said a pleased Darrah.
The Big Red would add one more touchdown drive on the night and would place Shamokin Area under the PIAA mercy rule with 6:00 left in the third quarter after a 9 yard touchdown run by “Night Train” Lane Tanney, his second of the night. The score undoubtedly placed him into consideration for the Mike Terry Award, given to the outstanding Mount Carmel Area back in the Shamokin game. A second Terry award is also given for the outstanding lineman. After Mangiapane’s 5th and final PAT, MCA lead 35-0.
Shamokin Area would score a late touchdown, with starting QB Nate Shurock plunging into the end zone from 1 yard out. There was a bad snap on the PAT attempt and it was recovered by the Tornadoes’ Cameron Britt, but was not allowed to be returned under PIAA rules, making the final score 35-6.
The win was a milestone achievement for Mount Carmel Area, as the Red Tornadoes have now defeated their arch-rival a record 20 straight seasons. Senior fullback Allen Yancoskie captured the moment by saying, “The coal bucket game is like no other. It doesn’t matter how teams come in record-wise, it’s always played hard, but for the past 20 years Mount Carmel has been playing harder.” Senior center Ethan Bartos, who’s graduating class is undefeated in Coal Bucket games, said,”After last year’s game Lee Amarose (Now an offensive lineman at Lebanon Valley) said to the underclassmen now it’s on you to keep the bucket. Going into the game we knew it was going to be tough, but we weren’t giving up that bucket. This feels great, but after the game, I said the same thing to Freshman starters Johnny Ayres and Billy Anderson that Lee said to us. Now its on you guys to keep the bucket for the next three years.”
The win is also a caveat for first year head coach John Darrah, who at 6-4, guided the Tornadoes to a winning season in his inaugural campaign despite low numbers, transfers, and the media predicting Mount Carmel to have a sub-par season, including many claiming that this would be the year the Red Tornadoes would lose the coveted coal bucket. On Friday night, on their home field, Mount Carmel Area’s “Dirty 30” made their final regular season statement as a team that exceeded expectations. Darrah added, “We have 29 guys and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. They gutted it out the whole season and locked the gate in our biggest game of the year. Give credit to our coaching staff for doing such a great job and having our guys ready.”
Mount Carmel Area, although playing well enough to warrant a district playoff berth, finished ninth in a crowded and competitive District IV “AA” playoff race that only takes eight teams and does not use a power ranking. Although they just missed out on districts, the Red Tornadoes still got some good post-season news on Friday. They will be one of four teams to qualify for the Eastern Conference “AA” playoffs, with sites and times to be determined this weekend.
MOUNT CARMEL: 14- 14 -7 -0 = 35
SHAMOKIN: 0- 0- 0- 6 = 6
MOUNT CARMEL (6-4)
Kyle Karycki 14-90; Lane Tanney 8-84; Allen Yankoskie 2-19; John Ayres 15-96; Tommy McDonald 1-9; Cameron Britt 2-16; Marcus English 1 – (-4); Team 4- (-54)
John Ayres 9-16-0, 138 yards 2 TD
Allen Yancoskie 5-61 TD; Wes Shurock 2-51 TD; Kyle Karycki 1-20; Mason Duran 1-6
Mount Carmel Area Stats provided by Jose Gonzalo
RUSHING: Devin Pietkiewicz 9-53; Preston Burns 9-33; Nate Shurock 6-6 TD; Mark Wetzel 1-10; Isaiah Reiprich 1-0;
PASSING: Nate Shurock 3-10-1 23 yards
RECEIVING: Thomas Campbell 1-12; Devin Pietkiewicz 1-8; Ty Berge 1-3
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