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Mount Carmel Rushes For Over 500 yards in 54-13 Win Over Bloomsburg

Written by: on Sunday, November 7th, 2021. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


MOUNT CARMEL – Mount Carmel has put together several outstanding rushing performances this year. On Saturday, in the District 4 Class 2A quarterfinal against Bloomsburg, they added another chapter.

The Red Tornados ran for 554 yards, including 290 in the second half, and the Mount Carmel defense bottled up Bloomsburg’s rushing game for the most part, as Mount Carmel topped the Panthers 54-13 to advance to next week’s semifinal, where the Red Tornados will host Troy.

“Looking at the scoreboard, it was 54-13 but it didn’t necessarily feel like that. Today was obviously good for us, but there are definitely some things we can take from this to improve on. We wanted to play a little cleaner, so that was an emphasis (at halftime) to play a cleaner game and our guys did,” said Mount Carmel coach John Darrah. “I knew we’d be fine, I have confidence in our guys and I felt confident in our offense continuing to move the ball.

The game definitely didn’t have the feel of a blowout at any time until the end when Mount Carmel put the game into the mercy rule with its final score midway through the fourth quarter. The Red Tornados committed a pair of first-half turnovers and were also hurt by six penalties.

But the Red Tornados ended the game with four consecutive unanswered touchdowns, breaking open what was a relatively close game late in the third quarter.

The win also marked the 50th at Mount Carmel for Darrah, who is in his seventh year as head coach.

Even more important than ending the game with four straight unanswered scores for Mount Carmel was answering both of Bloomsburg’s touchdowns in the third quarter.

After the Panthers got a 29-yard touchdown reception by Daniel Guzevich at the 10:06 mark of the third quarter to cut the Mount Carmel lead to 20-7, the Red Tornados answered with an impressive nine-play, 79-yard drive – all rushes – capped by Julien Stellar’s five-yard touchdown, his second score of the day. Stellar also became Mount Carmel’s all-time leader in career extra points made, as he kicked six PATs on the afternoon, and was also one of three 100-yard rushers for Mount Carmel, as he had 131 yards. Pedro Feliciano had a couple of big pickups on the drive, going for runs of 10, 30 and 14 yards, as he had 121 yards on the afternoon.

Bloomsburg countered with another touchdown as the Panthers emptied the playbook and went to a halfback pass and Guzevich found Damon Rasmussen in the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to a two score game once again at 27-13 with just 4:04 left in the third quarter.

That drive, as well as the preceding drive for Bloomsburg, was extended by the scrambling ability of Bloomsburg quarterback Michael Widom, who led Bloomsburg with 55 rushing yards and also threw for 172 as Bloomsburg tried to get their athletes into space for much of the game rather than going up against Mount Carmel’s bigger defensive line. Widom was able to avoid several sacks and either turn them into a gain on the ground or throw a completed pass.

“They really attacked the edges, they didn’t try us too much inside, it was mostly passing it and trying to get outside,” said Darrah. “We couldn’t seem to get him (Widom) down. He’s a good athlete and he was more slippery than we accounted for. A lot of times, we would force him to peel back and go backside and he hurt us on that a lot and on top of that, he found some guys down there and they made some good catches.”

“We felt we could get some things going (through the air), which we did. They’re really tough against the run. They dare you to run but then when you run, they do a great job. They haven’t given much up in the run to anyone all year, and they’ve had formidable schedule, so we just tried to get our athletes in space and if we run, get the edge, which we did a little bit at times,” said Bloomsburg coach Mike Kogut.

“Michael was extremely impressive. He showed his leadership and his athletic talent. His eyes were down the field the whole time. Some of the plays he made were amazing and certainly a credit to him.”

But following Bloomsburg’s second touchdown, the Panthers attempted an onside kick, which was recovered by Mount Carmel at midfield, and on its first play, Xaviar Diaz burst loose for a 50-yard touchdown run to put the Red Tornados back up by 20 at 33-13.

A three-and-out by Bloomsburg gave the ball back to Mount Carmel at its own 21 following a 49-yard punt, and the Red Tornados again put together an impressive drive, this time going 79 yards in just five plays, and a Thomas Davitt 14-yard touchdown run capped the drive to make it 40-13. Feliciano had a 15-yard pickup while Ryan Weidner had the big gainer, a 44-yard rush to flip field position.

Bloomsburg drove it down to the Mount Carmel 30 on its ensuing drive but turned it over on downs, and from there, Diaz made it two long touchdown runs as he got loose for a 63-yard touchdown, giving him 149 yards on the ground for the afternoon on just four carries to lead the way for Mount Carmel.

“Every week, he (Diaz) has been doing bigger and better things,” said Darrah. “He was involved on the defense early in the year and is now involved on offense and he seems to keep topping his performances every week. That run at the end there was a crazy run.”

A missed opportunity also hurt Bloomsburg earlier in the game. Trailing 13-0 after Mount Carmel scored on their first two drives of the game, Bloomsburg got an interception by Guzevich to set them up at the Mount Carmel 41 at the 10:21 mark of the second quarter. The Panthers then drove all the way down the goal line, but were stuffed on a fourth-and-1 play from the 1-yard line. The Red Tornados then took over from their own 5, and proceeded to put together a 95-yard drive that took just seven plays, capped by Feliciano’s 11-yard run to make it 20-0 heading into halftime.

Mount Carmel 54, Bloomsburg 13
Bloomsburg (4-7)             0     0    13    0   – 13
Mount Carmel (9-2)         13    7    20   14  – 54

8:41 – (MC) Julien Stellar 1-yard run (Stellar kick), 8-77, 3:19
3:49 – (MC) Jacob Schultz 17-yard pass from Pedro Feliciano (kick blocked), 3-45, :55

5:02 – (MC) Pedro Feliciano 11-yard run (Stellar kick), 7-95, 2:50

10:06 – (B) Daniel Guzevich 29-yard pass from Michael Widom (Doerschler kick), 7-73, 1:54
6:36 – (MC) Julien Stellar 5-yard run (Stellar kick), 9-79, 3:30
4:04 – (B) Damon Rasmussen 42-yard pass from Daniel Guzevich (kick failed), 5-69, 2:32
3:55 – (MC) Xaviar Diaz 50-yard run (kick failed), 1-50, :09
1:30 – (MC) Thomas Davitt 14-yard run (Stellar kick), 5-79, 1:54

8:28 – (MC) Xaviar Diaz 63-yard run (Stellar kick), 2-70, :35
7:24 – (MC) Al Bailey 8-yard run (Stellar kick), 2-12, :48

                                         B                       MC

First downs                      12                       26

Rushes-net yards          26-78                 52-554

Passing yardage             218                      28

Passing                       13-32-2-0            4-8-1-1

Fumbles-lost                   3-2                      1-1

Penalties-yards             11-89                   9-61

RUSHING — Bloomsburg: Michael Widom (10-55), Damon Rasmussen (4-8), Brady Horan (4-5), Nick Wharton (4-4), Daniel Guzevich (3-10), Nasir Kelly (1-(-4)); Mount Carmel: Julien Stellar (13-131-2), Pedro Feliciano (11-121-1), Michael Farronato (6-56), Thomas Davitt (6-16-1), Xaviar Diaz (4-149-2), Matt Balichik (3-14), Al Bailey (3-13-1), Ryan Weidner (2-39), Cole Spears (2-16), Maddox Reed (1-2), Daniel Velasquez (1-(-3))

PASSING — Bloomsburg: Michael Widom (11-30-172-1-0), Daniel Guzevich (2-2-46-1-0); Mount Carmel: Pedro Feliciano (3-7-22-1-1), Cole Spears (1-1-6-0-0)

RECEIVING — Bloomsburg: Damon Rasmussen (5-126-1), Daniel Guzevich (4-49-1), Parker Jones (3-39), Michael Widom (1-4); Mount Carmel: Jacob Schultz (3-28-1)

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