Red Tornadoes Stay Hot In The Cold. Dominate Eagles 42-6
On Friday night, the cold weather couldn’t affect one of the hottest teams in District 4, as Mount Carmel Area (8-4) defeated Line Mountain (7-5) 42-6 in the class “AA” semi-finals at the Silver Bowl. The victory advances the Red Tornadoes into the district championship game for the first time since 2012.
The Big Red wasted no time establishing their dominance on the ground Friday, as the offensive line physically imposed their will early and often on the Line Mountain defense. On MCA’s first drive, sophomore running back Shane Weidner opened the scoring with an 18 yard touchdown run. Following the score, the extreme cold and poor footing on the field clearly contributed to senior kicker Rosolino Mangiapane’s point after attempt being unsuccessful, and the Red Tornadoes led 6-0 4:45 into the game.
Defensively, Mount Carmel Area was just as impressive, as Line Mountain, who had been riding the arm of sophomore quarterback Evan Herb, could not establish any sustained movement offensively. Following the Eagles’ punt, the offensive line went right back to work on the Line Mountain defense. With seniors Harrison Rees and Collin Krakowski at guards, junior Billy Anderson at center, and senior Brendan Boris and sophomore Logan Wills at tackle, this front five, along with help from sophomore Jack Champman, Michael Hood, and Nick Troutman at tight end and senior Manus McCracken at fullback, opened more holes on Friday night than they did in the Disney movie (Holes, 2003).
On this drive, MCA’s “Johnny Football” was the beneficiary, as junior running back John Ayres would score on an 8 yard touchdown run with 4:34 left in the first quarter. Ayres, who lined up at QB, would take the conversion to paydirt and the Red Tornadoes would now lead 14-0. Finding themselves in this hole, Line Mountain was driving down the field on its next possession when quarterback Evan Herb was intercepted by MCA defensive back Michael Cuff. The interception was the senior’s third in the last two weeks. Following Cuff’s pick, the Red Tornadoes wasted no time getting the ball to wingback CJ Reichard, who broke a nice run down to the 1 yard line Reichard’s number was called again and the senior would take it to paydirt. Rosolino Mangiapane and the kicking unit would accommodate for the extreme cold and poor footing conditions and connect on the PAT, making it 21-0.
Mount Carmel Area would not relent in the second quarter, as the offense would continue the punishing ground assault that would finish with 354 rushing yards on the evening. “The line did a really good job opening holes tonight our backs ran hard. Felt really great about our running game tonight,” said head coach John Darrah. In this quarter, MCA would get two touchdowns. The first from Shane Weidner on a 3 yard run and the second from sophomore quarterback Tommy Reisinger on a 7 yard plunge into the end zone. Mangiapane would add PATs on both, and the Red Tornadoes would lead 35-0 before the half.
Before halftime, Line Mountain would add a late touchdown that was aided by consecutive penalties called on Mount Carmel Area. The first, a roughing the passer call, nullified an interception by MCA linebacker John Ayres, who jumped the route and returned the INT to the end zone. As that penalty was being marked off, MCA was flagged for another, and Line Mountain had the ball inside the 5 yard line. Quarterback Evan Herb would find junior wide receiver Breven Derk for a 4 yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 35-6 before the break. The extra point was blocked by MCA’s Manus McCracken. The senior linebacker, who is performing at an all-state level, can add this block to season stats that include 118 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
Following halftime, the Red Tornadoes kept their foot on the gas for the early part of the third quarter and Shane Weidner would score his 3rd touchdown of the night with a 4 yard run. Mangiapane would again add the PAT and the Red Tornadoes increased their lead to 42-6, which would be the final score. Following this touchdown the PIAA mercy rule was in effect and many Mount Carmel Area starters were rested for the remainder of the game. They were able to follow the score of the other District IV “AA” semi-final, which had Southern Columbia defeating Central Columbia 59-14.
Friday’s results sets up a rematch from week 3 that many fans in the coal region will be excited to see. John Darrah’s Red Tornadoes, perhaps the hottest team in District IV, will travel to Southern Columbia next Friday to take on Jim Roth’s Tigers, the defending “AA” district champions.
Mount Carmel Area:
John Ayres 13-140 TD; Tommy Reisinger 10-100; CJ Reichard 4-37; Shane Weidner 7-36
3 TDs; Tyler Owens 5-24; Noah Berkoski 5-15; Manus McCracken 2-3; Zach Rowe 1-4; Connor Krakowski 1- (-2); Reed Witkoski 4 (-3).
Colby Scott 6-16; Evan Herb 1-6; Tyler Boyer 2 (-6); Jacob Feese 2 (-8)
Mount Carmel Area:
Tommy Reisinger 4-8-0; 44 yards; Noah Berkoski 0-1-0, 0 yards.
Evan Herb 9-23-3; 65 yards TD
Mount Carmel Area:
Manus McCracken 3-35; CJ Reichard 1-9.
Breven Derk 3-26 TD; Gage Bowers 2-21; Brenden Cregger 2-6; Cody Ebersole 1-7; Adam Malafi 2-5.
Mount Carmel Area Stats Courtesy Jose Gonzalo
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