Stout Defense and Running Attack Lift Olympians to Opening Night Win
By Brian Ptashinski @BPtashinski on Twitter
JIM THORPE- Facing the defending Schuylkill League Division 2 and District 11 2A champion Schuylkill Haven Friday night, Jim Thorpe’s coach Mark Rosenberger knew the outcome of the game would fall on his Olympians to control the ball and to take advantage of any Hurricane mistakes. His team did just that leading to a 19-7 win in front of 1,000 fans Friday night.
Olympian RB Justin St. Hill carried the ball 24 times for 108 yards and two scores. His teammate, C.J. Selby, had five carries for 96 yards and a score as the defense came up big on a goal line stand to end the half. “We wanted to control the ball with our running game. This is in sharp contrast to where we were a year ago,” Rosenberger stated.
Jim Thorpe managed to stop the Hurricanes on their opening possession, when a third down sack led to a 4th and 21 situation, and a short punt set had the Olympians up near midfield. St. Hill scored from nine yards out, capping a seven-play drive, in which he carried the ball five times. The two-point conversion failed, giving the home team a 6-0 lead with 5:43 to go in the opening quarter.
Schuylkill Haven managed to take the lead with 6:36 left in the half as Josh Kaylon hooked up Brandon Koch for 81 yards on just one play after forcing a Jim Thorpe punt. The PAT was good making the score 7-6.
Haven had a chance to add to the lead right at the end of the half with a 1st-and-goal at the Olympian eight, but three straight running plays gained nothing. A 23-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
A 21-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter set the Olympians up at the Hurricane 40. St. Hill took a sweep right and cruised down the sideline to give the home team a 12-7 lead as again the conversion failed.
Roberto Santiago picked off an errant Kaylon pass at the JT 8. A 92-yard drive ensued taking just eight plays capped by a 38-yard dash up the middle for Selby. This time the PAT was converted giving Jim Thorpe the final margin of victory.
“We believed our line could do the job in controlling that Schuylkill Haven offense. They got that one big play in the second quarter, but other than that they did not dominate us like they do in most games,” Rosenberger said.
Jim Thorpe tries to start 2-0 as they travel to Hometown to face Marion Catholic next week, while Haven will be home with Lehighton Friday night.
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