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Nazareth holds on against Allentown Central Catholic

Written by: on Sunday, October 2nd, 2011. Follow Josh Funk on Twitter.


ALLENTOWN, Pa. – It isn’t about how you start, but rather, how you finish.

And in Saturday evening’s Lehigh Valley Conference showdown between Nazareth and Allentown Central Catholic, that finish will come down to two words: Wide left.

Despite a prolonged cold stretch in the second half during which Nazareth quarterback Daniel Harding completed only 1-of-9 passes and Allentown Central Catholic rattled off 22 unanswered points, the Blue Eagles (5-0) could finally exhale as the Vikings (2-3) missed 35-yard field goal by Tim DiGiacomo to the left with 13 seconds left in regulation.  The miss preserved a 31-30 Nazreth victory from a rainy J. Birney Crum Stadium.

Last season, the two teams played to a 39-36 ACC victory, which came down to a missed Nazareth field goal at the very end of the game.

Even though both teams each reached the 30-point plateau, the defenses reigned supreme early, as Allentown Central Catholic led, 2-0, after a Blue Eagle punt was snapped out of the end zone with 9:28 left in the opening stanza.  Central Catholic had a chance deep inside the red zone on its initial possession, but G.B. Harkins fumbled the ball away at the 1 yard line two plays after junior tailback Colin McDermott busted loose on a 57-yard run.

It took Nazareth’s offense a little while to find its legs.  Despite Harding connecting on his first four pass attempts, the Blue Eagles had only 46 yards of offense and a pair of first downs to show for their efforts.  That changed in the second quarter as the blue and white strung together three first downs and got on the board with a 24-yard field goal.

Harding pushed the Nazareth advantage to 10-2 with a 61-yard scoring pass to Adam Bridgeforth, but Central Catholic countered when Brendan Nosovitch found Kevin Gulyas on a 34-yard pass to pull within 10-8.  Gulyas, ACC’s all-time career leading receiver, had six catches for 92 yards in the first half.

Freshman Jordan Gray shifted the momentum just 1:50 later.  After Harding found Andrew Bridgeforth on passes of 31 and 12 yards, Gray capped the lightning-quick seven-play, 70-yard march with a 16-yard touchdown run, giving the Blue Eagles a 17-8 halftime lead.

Harding, who connected on 13 of his 15 passes in the opening half, capped a six-play, 70-yard march to open the second half and give the Blue Eagles a 24-8 lead with a three-yard run.  The march was highlighted by a Gray 47-yard run and a 17-yard connection with Adam Bridgeforth on a 4th-down-and-7 situation.

It was at this juncture ACC caught fire, down 16 and seemingly being ready to be run out of town by the guns-a-blazing Nazareth spread.  But the green and gold tightened the screws, denting the Blue Eagle lead with a McDermott six-yard scoring run with 5:09 left in the third period.  McDermott saw eight carries on the 13-play drive, during which Central Catholic converted two fourth downs.

Gulyas (9 rec., 155 yards) hauled in his second scoring pass from Nosovitch – a 28-yarder – on a 4th-and-15 with 11:32 left in the fourth quarter to pull ACC to within 24-22.

As ACC got hotter and hotter, Nazareth got colder.  Much colder.  Harding was intercepted by Jalen Snyder-Scipio, and, six plays later, Harkins scored from three yards out and Nosovitch ran in a successful two-point conversion for a 30-24 Central Catholic advantage.  The Viking student section’s roar reached a fever pitch when Noah Robb picked off Harding on Nazareth’s next possession, but ACC did nothing with the gift.

By that point, Harding, after starting 13-of-15, completed only one of his next nine pass attempts.  But the cold streak was forgiven in a two-play sequence which began with 1:44 left in regulation.

Adam Bridgeforth returned an ACC punt 45 yards from the Blue Eagle 41 to the Viking 14 yard line, and, on the very next play, Harding found Gray on a 14-yard touchdown pass to knot things up at 30, and a successful extra point gave Nazareth the one-point advantage.

Nosovitch found Gulyas on a 33-yard pass and then converted a 4th-and-3 (ACC’s fourth fourth-down convserion of the second half) with a three-yard run to set up DiGiacomo’s game-winning attempt.

Nosovitch connected on 19-of-36 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns with one interception and also ran for 32 yards on 14 carries.  McDermott ran for 146 yards and Harkins added 17 yards on five carries for Central Catholic, which finished with 439 yards of offense (240 passing, 199 rushing) and 22 first downs.

Harding connected on 15-of-25 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions.  Gray ran for 115 yards on 19 carries.  Adam Bridgeforth caught three passes for 77 yards and a touchdown and Andrew Bridgeforth hauled in six passes for 73 yards.

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7 Responses to “Nazareth holds on against Allentown Central Catholic”

  1. JB says:

    good point, i was not at a vantage point to see that after that football game, if that is the case then that is an unfortunate action on his part.

    I have seen many positives and for that is what i based my comment from. i have had a few coaches in my day walk off the field ( game or practice) without addressing the team and i still believed in them as good people. Sometimes emotion gets the best of us and this game is played on and with emotion.

    We will see how it plays out, i would say i would have loved to get the opportunity to play for a coach who was that energentic and straight forward…guess it depends on perspective

  2. Zephfan says:

    JB, just so you have a little perspective on this guy, after Whitehall beat Nazareth during districts last year, Melosky shook the hand of Whitehall’s coach and proceeded to leave the field without his team. Not sure if that classifies him as a great person. He is undoubtedly a very good coach, but he is as pompous and arrogant as they come.

  3. JB says:

    I had the opportunity to interact with Rob a little bit at camps and as a former nazareth player i wasnt too high on the hire, however after getting a chance to see how he works with the kids and interacts with the community i would like to say i stand corrected. He is a great person and coach.

    If you listen to all his interviews, they are all about the kids, he praises their abilities and gives them the credit they deserve. even when he comes to the middle school and freshman level practices/games he shows that he is all about the kids. This is the kind of enthusiasm and energy this program needed.

    He’s got an edge but the kids embrace it.

  4. Buddy says:

    I seen him in interviews over the years. I’m surprised the respective school board where he coaches allows him to give interviews, he’s that pretentious. Reminds me a lot of Drew Darrah of Souderton years ago. He rode Autin Scott’s coatails at Parkland, then left. Nazareth simply has very good personel this year. Anxious to see how he does when this group graduates. If he keeps them winning, then I stand corrected. Either way, he sure could use some humble pie.

  5. Doug Smith says:

    Hey Buddy. Melosky is one that you either hate him or like him. Everyone knows that.

    But for you to say that he doesn’t deserve praise for his coaching at Nazareth is really a dum statement. Every team he coached has done well. That’s a fact!

  6. Buddy says:

    Nothing against Nazareth per se, but look up the word arrogance in the dictionary and you will see a picture of their coach. He was that way with Parkland and still is. The team certainly desereves success, but don’t attribute all that to the coach.

  7. anthony says:

    Great game.

    Two great QB’s and the score doesn’t show it but the defenses made plays when they had to.

    My only problem with tonight was the flags were VERY lopsided in ACC’s favor.

    This led to sustained drives but again, it was a great game. By no means a sloppy one, but it was a great matchup in horrible weather. Pics to follow!