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Mount Carmel Cruises Past Troy in 2A Semifinals

Written by: on Sunday, November 14th, 2021. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


MOUNT CARMEL – Mount Carmel is Pennsylvania’s winningest program, as it holds the state record for most wins in program history.

So, when a program of this caliber set a new program record, it’s a big deal.

The Red Tornados broke the school record for most rushing yards in a single season, surpassing the record previously held by the 1998 team with 4,067 yards, and Mount Carmel topped Troy 35-7 in the semifinals of the District 4 Class 2A.

The Red Tornados ran for 317 yards – which may have seemed rather pedestrian compared to last week’s 554 against Bloomsburg in the district quarterfinal, or the 539 on the ground against Loyalsock earlier this year, but in a district semifinal, is still pretty significant.

“We started a little slow tonight so I didn’t know if we’d get there but these guys deserve that. They work extremely hard and our linemen have just been grinding it out for months and they’re a special group, and a lot of are coming back next year,” said Mount Carmel coach John Darrah.

The Trojans were able to match Mount Carmel’s physicality of the line of scrimmage early in the game – something not many teams on the Red Tornados’ schedule are generally able to do – but in the end, were worn down in the second half.

“Troy is a physical team. They gave us something we weren’t necessarily thinking they were going to do defensively and once we figured it out we did pretty well and got to our assignments and had some big runs there in the second half,” said Darrah. “They were playing their tackles a little wider than we accounted for and it was a little tough to see until we had some time to look at the line patterns.”

The Trojans, who are used to dominating teams in the running game, were held to just 73 rushing yards in the game, and actually had more passing yards (103) than yards on the ground. Troy played without its two top running backs, however, in Damien Landon and Clayton Smith, as the team that took the field on Saturday night was largely different than the team that got it there.

“We were here without a lot of the players that got us up to this point, so for the kids to be able to be able to adjust and play in different positions – that’s small-school football,” said Troy coach Jim Smith. “We have tough kids and young kids that played well. We expect to get back here next year, maybe against this team again, and hopefully, we’ll be able to keep kids healthy so we can better compete.”

Both teams exchanged punts on their first possessions of the game, but then a 13-yard touchdown run by Julien Stellar put the Red Tornados on the scoreboard late in the first quarter and capped an 11-play, 69-yard drive that took 5:04.

It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that the Red Tornados found the end zone again. Another long drive – this one 14 plays and 88 yards in 7:16 – was capped by Pedro Feliciano’s 2-yard touchdown run. That drive featured all rushing plays, as on the previous drive, Feliciano was picked off by Troy’s 310-pound lineman Mason Imbt at the line of scrimmage.

Mount Carmel would only throw the ball once more in the entire game, but Troy was unable to do anything with its ensuing possession, but it was able to pin Mount Carmel back at its own 12-yard line, only to see Mount Carmel take up over half of the quarter with another long scoring drive.

“That’s the way that you play football and that’s our game (long drives) and all of the teams left in this area play football that way,” said Smith. “I take a lot of pride in how that football is played and so does Mount Carmel and they have a lot to be proud of. They’ll have an opportunity next week and they’re a good football team and they’re young so they have a lot to look forward to.”

The Trojans received the second-half kickoff but were forced to punt, and Mount Carmel took over at its own 26. This time, a long, clock-chewing drive wasn’t required, as Stellar got loose for a 44-yard touchdown run – the first big play of the night for either team – to put the Red Tornados up 21-0 at the 5:16 mark of the third quarter. Stellar led the way on the evening for Mount Carmel with 92 yards on 14 carries.

Troy managed to grind out a touchdown on its subsequent possession. The Trojans, who like Mount Carmel are mainly known for their running game, got a 54-yard reception by Gavin Cohick on a 3rd-and-6 from their own 24 to flip field position. Later in the drive, freshman quarterback Evan Woodward would run it in from three yards out to cut Mount Carmel’s lead to 21-7 with :41 left in the third quarter.

“That made it tough (with the top two running backs out), but the kids that we put in there did a heck of a job, and to put a freshman quarterback in that position against a really good Mount Carmel team – it’s just tough to keep up when you’re missing those horses,” said Smith.

But Mount Carmel answered right back and quickly. On his only carry of the game, Michael Farronato took a handoff and went 33 yards around the left end of the line on just the third play of Mount Carmel’s ensuing drive to put the Red Tornados up 28-7 early in the fourth quarter.

Later in the quarter, Xaviar Diaz put the exclamation point in the victory with a 52-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-7, another play to add to the sophomore’s growing highlight reel of long touchdown runs.

The Red Tornado defense held Troy’s potent running game, albeit missing its two top backs, to just 73 yards. The Trojans threw for 103, with 54 coming on that single reception on Troy’s lone scoring drive in the third quarter.

With the win, Mount Carmel advanced to take on Southern Columbia in the district championship next week for the fourth time in the last five years.

Mount Carmel 35, Troy 7
Troy (8-4)                       0     0     7     0   – 7
Mount Carmel (10-2)     7     6     8    14  – 35

First quarter
:55 – (MC) Julien Stellar 13-yard run (Stellar kick), 11-69, 5:04

Second quarter
:41 – (MC) Pedro Feliciano 2-yard run (kick failed), 14-88, 7:16

Third quarter
5:16 – (MC) Julien Stellar 44-yard run (Stellar run), 6-74, 3:08
:41 – (T) Evan Woodward 3-yard run (Chimics kick), 7-80, 4:35

Fourth quarter
11:12 – (MC) Michael Farronato 33-yard run (Stellar kick), 3-39, 1:29
3:26 – (MC) Xaviar Diaz 52-yard run (Stellar kick), 4-55, 2:09

                                         T                      MC

First downs                      11                     18

Rushes-net yards          35-73               44-317

Passing yardage             103                     7

Passing                       4-12-0-2            1-3-0-1

Fumbles-lost                   2-1                    0-0

Penalties-yards              2-30                  4-40

RUSHING — Troy: Evan Woodward (14-15-1), Cody Johnson (9-30), Gavin Cohick (6-10), Justice Chimics (5-12), Jackson Taylor (1-6); Mount Carmel: Julien Stellar (14-92-2), Pedro Feliciano (9-47-1), Thomas Davitt (8-33), Xaviar Diaz (5-80-1), Ryan Weidner (3-26), Cole Spears (2-10), Michael Farronato (1-33-1), Matt Balichik (1-(-1)), Ethan Urbanowicz (1-(-3))

PASSING — Troy: Evan Woodward (3-10-91-0-1), Justice Chimics (1-2-12-0-1); Mount Carmel: Pedro Feliciano (1-3-7-0-1)

RECEIVING — Troy: Justice Chimics (2-37), Gavin Cohick (1-54), Mason Woodward (1-12); Mount Carmel: Ryan Weidner (1-7)

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