Leiby & Co. Laser Sharp as Seals Lance Tornadoes 42-21
As the rain was pummeling the Silver Bowl on Dan Ficca night during early pre-game, non-uniformed walk throughs, both teams decided to cut it short and head back to their locker rooms. Except for one group of players that stayed on the field as the rain was intensifying.
There was no doubt who the leader of this group was, Selinsgrove’s Logan Leiby, as he was barking out cadences in a manner that would have made Peyton Manning proud. The junior quarterback, who also wears #18 during games, was joined by his center and receiver group and fired passes through the raindrops with razor-like precision.
As Leiby completed his final pre-game passing route, he didn’t head back inside to get dry, but decided to also work on something else in the rain, his punting. This pre-game workmanlike dedication clearly carried over to the field of play on Friday night as Leiby put on an absolute clinic at the Silver Bowl in a 42-21 victory for the Seals (7-2) over the Red Tornadoes (4-5).
In all, Leiby passed for 306 yards and 4 touchdowns, also ran for a 56 yard score, and, much to the chagrin of Mount Carmel Area, only had to showcase his punting skills once, in the second half. “Have to take your hat off to him,” said Tornadoes head coach John Darrah. “We prepared for their passing attack, but Leiby and their receivers came in here on a rainy night and executed.” Mount Carmel Area did not have as much luck with Mother Nature Friday evening. On their first possession, the Red Tornadoes were forced to punt. With field conditions continually worsening,
The Red Tornadoes bobbled the snap, and gave Selinsgrove excellent field position on the 30-yard line. Leiby immediately went to work and completed two passes to the three-yard line. Senior running back Garrett Campbell would take it the rest of the way for the score. Senior kicker Dawson Klinger would add the PAT and the Seals had an early 7-0 lead.
The Tornadoes would counter with a quick strike of their own as on their next possession senior wingback Lane Tanney took it the distance for a 60-yard score on an inside run. Tanney was sprung by some excellent initial blocks by junior fullback Manus McCracken, junior guard Collin Krakowski, and senior running back Zack Zarkowski, who would finish with 97 hard earned yards on the ground himself on which was, more than likely, his final night playing at the Silver Bowl. Junior Kicker Rosolino Mangiapane would add the PAT and the Tornadoes had it tied early at 7-7.
There was plenty scoring left in the first quarter as Leiby and Co. would continue marching through the monsoon in Mount Carmel. Less than a minute after Tanney’s scoring run, it was Leiby himself sprinting down the sideline for a 56-yard touchdown. Klinger would again add the PAT and Selinsgrove would lead 14-7.
The Seals would add two more touchdowns before the quarter was over, both coming through the air and both were to junior wide receiver Jarrett Inch. The first came at 3:48 left in the period and was an 18-yard hook-up, while the second was 47 yard connection coming on the first play of the Selinsgrove drive. Klinger would add the PATs after both scores and the Seals would lead 28-7.
Leiby’s aerial accuracy would continue in the second quarter with two more touchdown passes. The first was 12-yard strike to Jarrett Inch, which would be his third scoring reception of the game, and the second was a 26-yard connection to Ricky Cope. Klinger would again add the PAT’s, making him a perfect 6-6 on the evening, and Selinsgrove would lead 42-7 with 6:17 left in the half.
Mount Carmel Area’s first half misfortunes would continue on their last drive before the break. Following the last Selinsgrove touchdown, the Tornadoes drove deep into Seal territory, taking the ball to the 28-yard line. On second down, the wet field was not forgiving to quarterback John Ayres, as he fell awkwardly to the turf on a passing attempt. On fourth down, Ayres would connect with senior Wes Shurock, however, as the tight end was attempting to score, the ball was knocked free by Selinsgrove senior defensive back Ryan Bucher and was recovered in the end zone by junior defensive back Kody Showers. The Red Tornadoes would hold the Seals on their final drive of the quarter and at halftime the score was 42-7.
Credit to the Red Tornadoes, they did not throw in their rain soaked towels at the break, as they came back onto the Jazz Diminick Field with a strong second half effort. The Tornadoes would add two second half touchdowns to cut the scoring deficit in half. In the 3rd quarter sophomore quarterback John Ayres would find freshman tight end Logan Wills for a 29 yard touchdown pass.
The score would be the first career end-zone trip for Wills who is becoming a rising star on both sides of the ball for the Big Red. Rosolino Mangipane would add the PAT and Mount Carmel Area now trailed 42-14. The Tornadoes would add a final touchdown with under a minute left to play as freshman quarterback Tommy Reisinger would connect with and send-off senior tight end Wes Shurock with a final Silver Bowl touchdown on an 11 yard pass. Mangiapane would again add the PAT and the Selinsgrove lead was cut to 42-21, which would be the final score. “I’m glad we came out with energy and showed great effort in the second half. Being down 42-7, our guys didn’t pack it in. I’m proud of the way we played down the home stretch tonight,” said Darrah.
His Red Tornadoes, very much in the District IV “AA” playoff race, will be on the road next Friday at Shamokin (1-8) for the annual backyard coal bucket rivalry game with the Indians. Head Coach Derek Hicks and Selinsgrove, who currently are first in the District IV “AAAA” playoff standings, will also be in a grudge match next Friday as they will travel to undefeated Southern Columbia (9-0).
The Tigers are fresh off their 50th consecutive regular season victory dating back to 2011, but will have to account for the Seals’ and their signal caller. If Logan Leiby and Co. continue their spectacular play, Peyton Manning will not only be impressed, he will also be penciling them in for a Tuesday.
Game Side Notes: Prior to kickoff, Mount Carmel Area honored Mr. Dan Ficca on his 60th anniversary as a player from Mount Carmel. Ficca, a 1957 graduate, played collegiality for USC and was drafted into the NFL by the Eagles and into the AFL by the San Diego Chargers. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders where he played in 1962 before being traded to the New York Jets, playing from 1963 to 1966, becoming an All Pro in 1965. Ficca returned to the Mount Carmel Area after retiring and is still active today in pursuing scholarships for Mount Carmel Area graduates through the MC4A organization. The Red Tornadoes made Ficca an honorary captain for Friday Night’s game against Selinsgrove. Interestingly enough, Ficca had a great nephew playing in the game for Selinsgrove, two-way starter Junior Tight End/Defensive End Tony Dressler who had some amazing blocks on offense and tackles on defense.
MCA: 7 -0 -7 -7 = 21
SEL: 28-14-0-0 = 42
MOUNT CARMEL (4-5)
RUSHING: John Ayres 10-11; Lane Tanney 6-86 TD; Zach Zarkowski 13-97; CJ Reichard 2-9; Tanner Karycki 1-(-1); Tommy McDonald 2-6; Shane Weidner 4-19.
PASSING: John Ayres 5-12-0, 74 yds TD; Tommy Reisinger 1-1-0, 11 yds TD
RECEIVING: Lane Tanney 1-6; Shurock 2-38 TD; Logan Wills 2-38 TD; Tanner Karycki 1-3
Mount Carmel Area Stats complied by Jose Gonzalo
RUSHING: Logan Leiby 3-66, TD; Garrett Campbell 8-34, TD; Max Charles 2 (-2).
PASSING: Logan Leiby 18-27, 306 yards, 4 TD.
RECEIVING: Jarrett Inch 4-85 3 TDS; Ricky Cope 5-116 TD; Kody Showers 5-65; Garrett Campbell 2-26; Ryan Bucher 2-14
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