Taking Care of Business; Tornadoes Down Dragons 28-14
Coming off of Amos Alonzo Stagg Field in the crisp autumn air Mount Carmel Area defensive coordinator Pete Cheddar put up his hand and signaled, “(4-4)!” The gesture was a perfect way to symbolize the Red Tornadoes’ workmanlike 28-14 victory over the Lewisburg Green Dragons at Susquehanna University. The win puts the Tornadoes back at .500 and makes John Darrah’s squad an intriguing contender for the District IV “AA” playoffs. “We’re back at even,” said the second year head coach. “Give credit to our guys. They came out and took care of business. We had some mistakes, penalties and a blocked punt, that we have to clean up, but overall a great job and extremely pleased in how our running game is developing.”
That development that Darrah is speaking of was on full display Friday night. In all, the Red Tornadoes had five ball carriers with at least eight carries. John Ayres, Tanner Karycki, C.J. Reichard, Lane Tanney, and Zach Zarkowski collectively amassed 283 yards on the ground and kept the Lewisburg defense from keying on one player all game. The Big Red wasted no time getting started, as junior wingback CJ Reichard capped a 58 yard opening drive by taking it the final 8 yards into the end zone. Junior kicker Rosolino Mangiapane added the PAT and Mount Carmel Area held a 7-0 lead with 7:08 left in the first quarter.
Lewisburg had some success moving the ball in the first half as senior wide receiver Donte Malone and freshman quarterback Nicholas Shedleski each had nice runs on the Green Dragons opening drive, but any momentum was thwarted by the Red Tornadoes defense, who forced a punt. The Red Death defense set the tone early and has continued to display an extra level of intensity in the past three weeks. On the first drive, that style of play was led by defensive end Mike Hood, who had two tackles and a sack. The sophomore would terrorize the Green Dragon offensive line all game and finished with 4 tackles, 2 for losses, 1.5 sacks, and 2 quarterback hurries.
After a Mount Carmel Area punt, the Red Death defense again stepped it up on Lewisburg’s ensuing drive, turning the Dragons away on downs after they marched deep into Red Tornado territory. On this drive, some great tackles were made by junior defensive end Brendan Boris, sophomore defensive tackle Billy Anderson, sophomore defensive back Avery Demko, and junior linebacker Manus McCracken, who had three tackles and a drive ending sack on 4th down. “When you have a job to do, you have to do it, especially on 4th down,” said McCracken of the great play. Wearing jersey 47, McCracken’s play Friday night reminded fans of another great Tornado linebacker, Steve Sinkovich (1995-98), who also wore the number.
Play really heated up as the half was winding down, as both teams scored a touchdown with under a minute remaining in the first half. Lewisburg, after a blocked punt, scored with :59 seconds on the clock on a 3 yard touchdown run by senior Trey Delbaugh. Junior kicker Nate Liscum would add the PAT and the game was tied 7-7. The Green Dragon momentum wouldn’t last for long as Mount Carmel executed a 2 minute drill in under 1 minute, scoring on 10 yard pass from quarterback John Ayres to senior wingback Lane Tanney with :04 seconds left in the quarter. “It gave us huge momentum going in to half,” said Ayres. “Time was winding down,” said Tanney, “I knew we only had 2 plays left to get a score. When the pass play was called, I knew if it went to me I have to come down with it no matter what. When John threw it, he put it in a good spot, and it was all mine to go grab and we got the touchdown.” Mangiapane added the PAT and the Red Tornadoes took a 14-7 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, Mount Carmel Area continued to roll and scored consecutive touchdowns. The first on a 1 yard run by John Ayres with 5:06 left in the third quarter. Mangiapane again added the PAT and the Red Tornadoes would lead 21-7. On the next series, the defense again came up big with a three-and-out stop and a Dragon punt of negative yardage gave the Red Tornadoes great field position at the Lewisburg 28 yard line. They would capitalize and sophomore running back Tanner Karycki would add a 1 yard touchdown run of his own. Mangiapane would add his 4th PAT and the Big Red would increase their lead to 28-7.
Lewisburg would find success through the air in the fourth quarter behind the arm of freshman quarterback Nick Shedleski, who will be zipping passes through the Heartland Conference for the next three seasons. Taking over following a Red Tornado punt, The Green Dragon signal caller would connect on a 22 yard seam route to sophomore wide receiver Dylan Farronato on a 3rd and 4. On the following play, Shedleski would find senior Dante Malone for a 27 yard scoring strike. Liscum would add the PAT, making the score 28-14. The Dragons would attempt an onside kick, but it was recovered on a great snag by Red Tornado junior Tommy McDonald, who has continued to shine on special teams all season.
Following the recovery, Mount Carmel Area would drive to the Lewisburg 10 yard line, but came away scoreless, following a holding call on 3rd down which negated a touchdown pass from Ayres to freshman tight end Logan Wills, and a missed 27 yard field goal on 4th down. Shedleski would again march the Dragons down the field, but on a 3rd down pass with seconds remaining, John Ayres, from his linebacker spot, would make a great play on a pass intended for senior tight end Hunter Murphy. Ayres’ would get a hand on the pass, tipping it, and allowing junior CJ Reichard to intercept the deflection to seal the victory for the Red Tornadoes, 28-14.
Mount Carmel Area (4-4) will face another Susquehanna Valley foe, hosting Heartland Conference rival Selinsgrove (6-2) at the Silver Bowl. “MCA isn’t done yet,” said McCracken. “The plan is to win next week and to keep on winning.” Lewisburg (2-6) and coach Michael Ferriero, who are still very much alive for the District IV “AAA” playoffs, will be playing at Bloomsburg (3-5).
Game Side Notes: Although Mount Carmel Head Coach John Darrah and Lewisburg Head Coach Michael Ferriero were on opposing sidelines Friday evening at Susquehanna, the last time they stepped onto Amos Alonzo Stagg Field together they weren’t. Darrah and Ferriero were teammates and starters in the defensive backfield at Wilkes University (2003-2006) and were undefeated playing at Susquehanna, defeating the Crusaders in both 2004 and 2005.
MCA: 7-7-14-0 = 28
LEWISBURG : 0-7-0-7 = 14
MOUNT CARMEL (4-4)
John Ayres 17-87 TD; Lane Tanney 9-40; Zach Zarkowski 10-57; CJ Reichard 9-45 TD; Tanner Karycki 8-62 TD
John Ayres 4-8-1, 49 yds TD
Lane Tanney 1-10 TD; CJ Reichard 1-20; Manus McCracken 2-19.
Mount Carmel Area Stats complied by Jose Gonzalo
AJ Ramirez 3-16; Donte Malone 2-10; Nick Shedleski 7-10; Trey Delbaugh 9-8 TD; Dylan Farronato 1-0.
Nick Shedleski 15-24-1, 192 yards TD
Donte Malone 7-108 TD; Dylan Farronato 5-62; Hunter Murphy 2-12; Drevin Doebler 1-10.
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
Share This Post: