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North Schuylkill stages huge second half rally against Mount Carmel Area

Written by: on Saturday, September 21st, 2019. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


ASHLAND – After being outgained 172-116 and having Mount Carmel possess the ball for over nine more minutes than them in the first half, North Schuylkill received the second half kickoff and started at their own 18-yard line.

From that point forward and for the entire second half, North Schuylkill dominated, as the Spartans came out in a hurry up and ran 42 plays in the second half – all rushes and most if not all out of the Power I – while Mount Carmel’s offense was unable to get a first down and was held to just 11 yards of offense as the Spartans rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit  for a 29-17 over the Red Tornadoes.

“It was just about coming out and playing in the second half. We knew we wanted to come out under center and just run power football and line up as fast as we could and that’s what we did,” said North Schuylkill coach Wally Hall. “We also knew we had to slow them down defensively and we did.”

“They’re a bigger school than us and have twice as many one-way players as we do and they just wore us down. That’s all it comes down to,” said Mount Carmel coach John Darrah. “We gave them different looks and tried some different things but it just came down to the wear-down factor because they have 30 more guys on their team than us. But our guys did play hard and finished and I’m proud of their effort.”

After averaging just 6.4 yards per play in the first half, including 4.2 per run, North Schuylkill put up 318 rushing yards in the second half, an average of 7.6 per play, to finish with 398 rushing yards and a 434-183 advantage over Mount Carmel for the game. Zack Chowansky finished with 175 yards on 19 carries and a pair of touchdowns, with all but one carry and yard coming in the second half. Penn State-bound Tyler Elsdon, who will be matriculating to Happy Valley next year as a linebacker, ran for 105 yards on 13 carries – all in the second half.

“This was Week 5 now and once the weather starts to get cooler, I start to like to use the big backs and we have some big backs so we’re definitely going to utilize those guys and utilize all the skill guys we have,” said Hall.

Before they were slowed down in the second half, Mount Carmel had 12 first downs in the first half and managed to score on three of its four first half possessions. The Red Tornadoes took the opening kickoff and put together a 57-yard drive, which included a 39-yard connection from Tom Reisinger to Jack Chapman, and which culminated in a 29-yard field goal by Julien Stellar.

The Spartans got their only big play of consequence of the first half later in the first quarter when quarterback Jaden Leiby broke loose on a keeper for a 34-yard touchdown run to put North Schuylkill up 7-3 later in the first quarter. Leiby, whose options and keepers have been a major part of North Schuylkill’s offense to this point of the season, managed 68 yards on 11 carries in the first half, but aside from the touchdown run, was held in check nicely by the Red Tornado defense.

“We stopped their bread and butter in the first half except that one play and we were able to control the clock,” said Darrah, referring to Leiby. “We wanted to limit their offensive possessions more for their big plays with the quarterback and did a good job with that in the first half.

Mount Carmel answered back with long drives on their next two possessions. The Tornadoes put together a 14-play, 58-yard drive that ok 7:31 and was capped by the first of Noah Berkoski touchdowns runs in the quarter, this one from six yards out to give Mount Carmel the lead back 10-7.

After a Spartan punt, Mount Carmel put together an 11-play, 78-yard drive that featured an 18-yard completion to Logan Wills on a third-and-9 play. That drive was capped by another Berkoski touchdown run, this one from two yards to give the Red Tornadoes the 17-7 lead.

“We were fine offensively, we just didn’t have the ball much in the first half, but we knew in the second half, that was the type of football we wanted to come out and play,” said Hall. “It was just about coming out and playing.”

But from that point, it all North Schuylkill. The Spartans ran the ball seven straight times on their opening drive of the second half, the last of which was a 54-yard touchdown by Chowansky to pull within four points.

Following North Schuylkill’s initial touchdown in the third quarter, the teams traded punts, but the Spartans got the better field position out of it, pinning Mount Carmel back at its own 4. Two plays later, Reisinger was sacked in the end zone for a safety, pulling North Schuylkill within two, 17-15.

The Spartans looked headed for the go-ahead touchdown on the ensuing drive following the safety late in the third, but Leiby fumbled on a keeper and Mount Carmel recovered, the only turnover of the game for either team.

The Red Tornadoes took their slim lead into the fourth quarter, but went three-and-out on their drive following the fumble recovery. From that point, North Schuylkill continued its ground assault, putting together a nine-play drive capped by Jake Green’s one-yard touchdown to give them a 21-17 lead with 8:11 to play. After another Mount Carmel three-and-out, they put together an eight-play drive capped by Chowansky’s second touchdown of the night to ice the game with 2:28 remaining.

“They did a few things different (in the second half) but it wasn’t anything that caught us off guard. You just have to give them credit,” said Darrah. “They came out in the second half and did a good job. That wasn’t their bread and butter but they run it from time to time. Their mentality was just to wear us down and their offensive line is all one-way guys.”

North Schuylkill 29, Mount Carmel 17
Mount Carmel (3-2)          3  14  0   0  – 17
North Schuylkill (4-1)        7   0   8  14 – 29

First quarter
8:36 – (MC) Julien Stellar 29-yard field goal, 8-57, 3:24
2:14 – (NS) Jaden Leiby 34-yard run (Mitchell Lavelle kick), 5-44, 1:46

Second quarter
6:43 – (MC) Noah Berkoski 6-yard run (Stellar kick), 14-58, 7:31
:34 – (MC) Noah Berkoski 2-yard run (Stellar kick), 11-78, 3:05

Third quarter
9:58 – (NS) Zack Chowansky 54-yard run (kick failed), 7-82, 2:02
3:10 – (NS) TEAM Safety

Fourth quarter
8:11 – (NS) Jake Green 1-yard run (run failed), 9-40, 3:04
2:28 – (NS) Zack Chowansky 6-yard run (Leiby run), 8-58, 4:41

                                                  MC                       NS   
First downs                               12                         22
Rushes-net yards                   32-59                  56-398
Passing yardage                      124                       36
Passing                                11-18-0-0               2-4-0-0
Fumbles-lost                             0-0                      1-1
Penalties-yards                        5-24                    7-62

RUSHING: Mount Carmel: Shane Weidner (12-41), Noah Berkoski (8-22-2), Tom Reisinger (8-(-10)), Damon Dowkus (3-7), Julien Stellar (1-(-1)); North Schuylkill: Zack Chowansky (19-175-2), Jaden Leiby (16-92-1), Tyler Elsdon (13-105), Jake Green (5-12-1), Josh Chowansky (3-14)
PASSING: Mount Carmel: Tom Reisinger (11-18-124-0-0); North Schuylkill: Jaden Leiby (2-4-36-0-0)
RECEIVING: Mount Carmel: Logan Wills (5-73), Noah Berkoski (3-7), Jack Chapman (2-43), Shane Weidner (1-1); North Schuylkill: Josh Stankavage (1-32), Dylan Dietz (1-4)

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