Heartland Conference Slugfest: Selinsgrove 14, Mount Carmel Area 7
If asked to pick the best matchup in the Heartland Conference for Week 2, many fearless forecasters would not have selected Friday night’s matchup between the Seals and Red Tornadoes. However, what unfolded under the lights at Harold L. Bolig Memorial Stadium in Selinsgrive was a game that became an instant classic and wasn’t decided until there was less than one minute left in the ballgame. The Seals (2-0) came into the contest as heavy favorites, but it was the surging play of the Tornadoes’ (0-2) that allowed them to go toe-to-toe with the Seals and keep this game gridlocked at 0-0 until 6:28 left in the 4th quarter. That was when senior running back Kyle Karycki took a designed delayed hand-off from quarterback John Ayres and rumbled down the left sideline for a 75 yard touchdown run. Karycki showcased both his power, breaking through a tackler at the line of scrimmage, and his speed, outrunning the rest of the Seals defense, while giving the Tornadoes the lead at 6-0. Thomas Pastucha’s PAT, out of the hold of Tommy McDonald, extended the lead to 7-0. Karycki’s touchdown run was set up immediately following a huge defensive stand by the Red Tornadoes who had just stuffed Selinsgrove quarterback Logan Leiby on a crucial 4th and 2 from the Tornado 26 yard line.
The defensive stand coupled with the long touchdown run by Karycki, which was the Tornadoes longest play from scrimmage this season, had the Tornadoes and their crowd emotionally charged and ready to spoil the Seals’ home opener. However, Selinsgrove answered on their ensuing drive and broke out of their own scoring drought with 4:54 left in the 4th qtr. That was when sophomore quarterback Logan Leiby hit senior Colin Hoke on a 29 yard scoring strike. Seinor kicker Joey Radel’s PAT knotted the game up at 7-7. “You have to give credit to our kids. They played sound defense throughout the night and continually did their job. Coach Cheddar and the rest of our staff did a phenomenal job preparing them,” said head coach John Darrah. “After our touchdown, we were so fired up and this is what I want to see out of our kids, but it almost rattled us. We were so excited that we had to try to calm them down on defense a bit on that next drive.”
After Selinsgrove tied the game, Mount Carmel was held to a three and out series on their next possession and also had their first and only errant punt of the night. This set up the Seals with excellent field position at the Tornadoes 38 yard line. Selinsgrove was able to capitalize on the drive with two successive first down runs by Logan Leiby and senior running back Angelo Martin. With a fresh set of downs on the Mount Carmel 11 yard line, the Seals would only need one play as they scored on an 11 yard touchdown pass from Leiby to Sophomore Tight End Tony Dressler. Radel’s PAT made the score Selinsgrove 14-7 with 1:56 left.
Mount Carmel would get one final drive and executed a two-minute drill exceptionally well out of their shotgun single wing offense. Senior Allen Yancoskie, who was a lethal weapon for the Tornadoes all evening from his fullback spot, hauled in his 6th catch of the night on first down. On second down, quarterback Ayres gave the Big Red a huge spark with an elusive 15 yard run to mid-field. Ayres followed up the run with a 16 yard first down completion to junior Lane Tanney. This set up the Tornadoes at the Seals 34 yard line with a minute remaining. The drive, although productive, would fall short as Ayres’ completed a 4th down pass to senior tight end Mason Duran who was stopped short of the first down marker on a great stop by the Seals’ senior Cole Schenck. Selinsgrove was able to run out the clock and close out a hard fought and well played 14-7 victory, giving coach Derek Hicks a 2-0 start to the season and his coaching career.
For Mount Carmel, the Tornadoes fall to 0-2, but again impressed with their play and absolutely earned some respect within the Heartland conference moving forward in 2015. As senior Allen Yancoskie commented, “To come out with 30 players and compete like this with a Selinsgrove, who had twice as many players, shows our great conditioning. A yard here or a yard there could’ve won us this game. We had the whole town and crowd behind us and that gave us so much momentum. We just have to come back next week and pull out the W.” Mount Carmel will get their chance for that W next Friday evening as they host the Lewisburg Green Dragons, a 31-21 winner over Montoursville. The game will also mark the return of former Tornadoes starting quarterback Dominic Farronato and his brother, current Lewisburg wide receiver, Dylan Farronato to the Silver Bowl. Next Friday will also mark the annual Rally in the Valley game as Selinsgrove will host arch-rival Shikellamy.
MCA: 0-0-0-7 = 7
SEALS: 0-0-0-14= 14
MOUNT CARMEL (0-2)
Kyle Karycki 15-110 TD; John Ayres 15-55; Lane Tanney 2-2; Allen Yankoskie 2- 16
John Ayres 10-14-0, 106 yds
Mason Duran 2-13; Yancoskie 6-66; Lane Tanney 2-27
Mount Carmel Area Stats provided by Jose Gonzalo
Angelo Martin 20-82; Ethan Troutman 4-13; Logan Leiby 8-8; Garrett Campbell 1-2
Leiby 15-21-0, 176 yards, 2 TD
Nick Swineford 6-82; Colin Hoke 4-51; Tony Dressler 2-18 TD; Ricky Cope 2-17; Joey Radel 1-22
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