Defense and Rushing Attack propels Blue Devils in convincing win
By Brian Ptashinski @BPtashinski on Twitter
The Blue Devils amassed 435 total yards in the contest, led by RB Cooper Califano, who rushed for 261 yards and six touchdowns. His backfield mate Brendon Mozeleski picked up an additional 105 yards via the ground attack and scored twice as well in the convincing win.
Defensively, Old Forge only gave up 78 yards of offense to the Lancers as they sacked the quarterback ten times in just over 30 plays from scrimmage. Mike Cantarella led the way with three of those sacks on the night. The defense also did not allow a single first down in the second half.
Old Forge wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Califano took the opening handoff 65 yards to the end zone to give his team a quick 7-0 lead. He then added a 22-yard burst to paydirt in the opening quarter for a 13-0 lead.
McDevitt got their only score of the night on a 42 yard pass from Max Bryson to Jaron Macon to cut the lead to 13-7 with 4:12 remaining in the quarter. Califano added two more scores in the second quarter on runs of 23 and 51 yards to extend the lead to 26-7 at intermission.
“Our offensive line really opened up some holes for us tonight,” Mozeleski stated after the game. “I am the blocker on most of the occasions for Cooper, so you know when I get a few carries it’s a bonus for our offense.”
The second half opened up with Jaret Horn picking off a pass for the Blue Devils in Lancer territory, which setup another Califano score, this time from 26 yards. A mishandled ensuing kickoff by McDevitt setup Old Forge with great field position. Mozeleski scored from 49 yards out to give his team a 38-7 lead.
“That interception was a key factor. We wanted to come and get a stop to keep the momentum going and put the game away early,” Horn said. “Making a play like that hurt their confidence the rest of the game.”
McDevitt again had a problem fielding the kickoff after Mozeleski’s score and again Old Forge was in terrific field position, but they turned it back over. They did, however, use up nearly seven minutes on the clock.
With under two minutes left in the third quarter, and after a personal foul and ejection of a Lancer player, Mozeleski got his second touchdown on the night from 19 yards out, pushing the lead to 45-7 and invoking the Mercy Rule for the rest of the ball game.
The victors completed the scoring for the contest when Ian Hook recovered a Lancer fumble and two plays later. Califano capped his night with a 33 yard run with 11:49 left in the game.
The night wasn’t all pleasant though for Old Forge, as starting quarterback and defensive back Joey Gutowski went down with an apparent knee injury in the second quarter. His status for next week’s game is uncertain.
“We had to step it up after Joey went down,” Califano stated afterwards. “He is one of the reasons we got this far. He has worked so hard getting us here, we had to pick it up tonight.”
With the win, Old Forge (13-1) will face defending state champions Bishop Guilfoyle (14-0), a 38-3 winner over Camp Hill Friday night, next week in state semifinals at a site to be determined. Bishop McDevitt ends it’s season at 7-7.
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