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Old Forge calms the storm, advances to Eastern Final

Written by: on Saturday, November 30th, 2013. Follow Kenny Rossi on Twitter.


kennyweek142013Schuylkill Haven’s offense all year used the run game almost exclusively.

So when the ‘Canes dug themselves into a deep hole, they had to abandon their normal offense. This forced quarterback Ryan Fink to throw the ball, and he completed only 3-of13 passes for 28 yards as a strong Old Forge “D” keep the ‘Canes in check all night, ending Schuylkill Haven’s season with a 35-0 loss.

Leading the rushing attack for the Blue Devils was Brandon Yescavage. He propelled the offense as his 13 carries for 193 yards and three scores paced the Old Forge offense. Blue Devil quarterback Jake Manetti threw the ball just seven times, completing three of those throws for 99 yards and a touchdown.

For Haven (10-4), Will Casella led the charge with 25 carries for 111 yards followed by Fink with 22 carries for 53 yards.

Old Forge was one of the only teams able to shut down this powerful ‘Canes ground attack.

Old Forge’s opening play was a 66-yard touchdown pass from Manetti to Joey Gutowski, giving Old Forge early momentum.

Late in the quarter, Yescavage broke off a 56-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 14-0 advantage at the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, the defenses shined neither allowing a touchdown. After a Haven three-and-out, Old Forge’s Brandon Vahay received a Jason Trumbo punt at his own 45-yard line. After breaking tackles and eluding defenders, he found pay dirt for a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 21-0 halftime lead.

A Schuylkill Haven fumble set up Old Forge (13-1) to score again, and Yescavage did not disappoint as he broke off another long touchdown run – this time from 52 yards away as
Old Forge started to pull away.

After Haven failed to pick up a first down, a short Haven punt set the Blue Devils up to add to their large lead. Once again Yescavage added a 26-yard score to put the nail in the Hurricane coffin, giving the Blue Devils a 35-0 lead.

Old Forge shut down Haven’s backfield of Fink and Casella. They held the junior duo to 164 yards on 47 carries, and most importantly, held them out of the end zone.

Old Forge looks to be on the fast track to capture the Class A state title. In the Eastern Final the Blue Devils will battle either Steelton-Highspire or Homer Center.

The Hurricanes magical season has come to a close with 14 seniors graduating.

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13 Responses to “Old Forge calms the storm, advances to Eastern Final”

  1. nat says:

    let me first say that old forge won and they deserve to be playing and ranked at the top. however the point about#23 shakal blackwell being suspended was in response to the comment thatold forge won the second game easily. i do agree old forge still was the better team in the 2nd game,but that was a factor. it seems that mike can’t admit that dunmore won the first game. as far as dunmore vs southern that is what the whole discussion was about. we know they will not play but i was referring to the rankings. look at the comments and don’t twist my words. the facts presented are relevant regarding the rankings of dunmore and southern. both are good teams but this year old forge is better. good luck blue devils.

  2. Colin says:


    I think you make a good point about rotating districts. But if you look thru each bracket there is may cases where good teams play early in the playoffs. Heck in some districts like D7 they have to play several tough games against highly rated teams in their district just to make it thru to states. In the A bracket its likely that D2 and D4 play early because of proximity. I would think the PIAA tries to do that as often as they can. Im not sure you can set up the bracket for potential match ups. What happens then if the teams you think will be there don’t make it?

  3. RevTweak says:


    You’re right. Nobody can say that Dunmore would have bet Southern Columbia if they got past Old Forge. Nobody can say that Southern would have bet Dunmore either. We’ll never know.

    Fact is, this year, it’s a moot point. Old Forge ended up being the better team than any of them, especially when it mattered most. Instead of arguing who should be ranked where or who could have bet who, the focus should be on those kids from Old Forge and the run that they’re making.

    It’ll be tough this week for them. Steel-High is a good team, good tradition too. But hey, if teams are still playing in December, chances are they’re pretty darn good. Hopefully it should be a good game come Friday.

  4. JiveTurkey says:

    Sorry to hear, from Mike, that Nat was the suspended player. Hopefully you get em next year Nat! Why do the last 7 comments mention SCA? Didn’t they lose? Maybe it’s time to find a new team to be the bench mark of A. In the East, steel-Highspire, in the West, Clairton. they are the only 2 schools to win an A chip in the past 6 years.

  5. Brian says:

    Actually Bill I’ve said for years that D2 and SCA were the 2 best teams in the state and it was unfair for them to have to play each other in the first round. This was when SCA was beating the D2 team on a regular basis. During SCA’s run at states it was D3 that was the toughest and they played usually in the eastern final so that made sense. I would prefer a rotating playoff where some years you begin states with different districts.

  6. Mike says:


    You’re suspended player wouldn’t have had made that big of a difference in that Old Forge game. Dunmore couldn’t move the ball the whole game and couldn’t stop Old Forge drives. Old Forge could’ve won the first game as well, it was up for grabs. Who cares about last year, it’s 2013 and you can’t say if Dunmore won the Old Forge game that they also would have beaten Southern Columbia.

  7. Bill says:

    Because SCA can’t beat D2 as of late. The PIAA should change the format of A playoffs. You sound like a liberal.

  8. nat says:

    like i said dunmore beat southern last year, but it is pretty much the same southern team, and yes old forge won the 2nd game convincingly, but they did lose 1 game this year, to dunmore also in the 2nd game dunmore’s best defensive player was suspended

  9. Brian says:

    the win over old forge by dunmore is negated by the fact they lost to them badly in districts when it counted. Teams are playing better by the end of the year typically and Dunmore was beaten handily. A couple of plays here and there SCA would be playing yet, but they didn’t and Old Forge deserved it. Last, you are correct that D2 has eliminated SCA 3 of the past 4 seasons, which shows you that the 2 best teams in the east are SCA and whomever the D2 team is. Like I said, the teams that beat SCA from D2 have made it to hershey and I expect that again. I also said, it’s a shame that D2 and D4 play each other in first round in class A. That needs to be the eastern final game. PIAA needs to wake up.

  10. Mike says:


    Dunmore beat Southern last year, not this year. They didn’t even get out of districts. No way they should be considered that high up in the rankings. Definitely expected Old Forge to manhandle Haven. Should be an interesting game against Steel High but I see Old Forge winning this as well in a close one. Best of Luck Devils on your quest for gold! Riverside is cheering you on!

  11. nat says:

    easy there brian dunmore should be ranked higher than southern columbia they beat old forge earlier this year they beat southern last year at this time (pretty much the same team for southern) and district 2 has eliminated southern 3 out of the last 4 yrs.

  12. Brian says:

    i wasn’t. i expected Old Forge to win by 20 or more. When you’re SCA alumi/fan and you see a team beat you they way Old Forge did they are something special then. Last year Dunmore beat SCA and ended up in Hershey, Year before SCA reached Hershey, year before that Riverside beat SCA and ended up in Hershey. See the trend. I expect to see Old Forge in Hershey. Hopefully they can bring the gold back to the East. SCA could well be the 2nd best team in the state by season’s end, even if they’re not ranked there.

  13. RevTweak says:

    Was surprised to see Old Forge dominate Schuylkill Haven like that. Old Forge has been playing amazing, of course, but Haven seemed to have a big line and a tough back. That was a good team Old Forge bet. It’ll be interesting to see how they match up next week against those athletes from Steel-High. Pulling for Old Forge – they’re representing D2 well. Good luck!

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