Red Tornadoes dominate on the ground. “White-Out” South Williamsport 28-14
As John Darrah’s Red Tornadoes prepared to make the drive through Lycoming County, as they did for last season’s District IV “AA” Quarter-Finals, feelings of deja-vu had to be present. Mount Carmel Area would be facing the same opponent, the South Williamsport Mounties, who defeated MCA in the same round one year ago.
Once this game reached kick-off, any thoughts were quickly erased, as the Red Tornadoes opened up an early 21-0 lead and used a punishing ground attack the rest of the way to defeat the Mounties, by a score of 28-14. “We definitely played the toughest schedule in District 4,” said Mount Carmel Area head coach John Darrah. “I think going through those games we gutted out a lot together as a team and that made a difference tonight.”
The Red Tornadoes used their opening drive to set the tone of the game, marching 76 yards on the ground, with junior running back John Ayres taking it the final four yards for the touchdown. Senior kicker Rosolino Mangiapane would add the extra point and MCA led 7-0. “Our first stop and that touchdown gave us a lot of momentum, which was a key factor in the game,” said Ayres. “Overall, the line did an amazing job. They opened up some big holes which allowed all of our backs to gain the yards we did.”
South Williamsport, whose dominant running game was held in check on their first two drives, were able to get things going on their third, advancing to the Mount Carmel 10 yard line. After a penalty, the Mounties attempted a “zero-pass” to their junior quarterback AJ Flick. It was the same pass that the Mounties used to score a touchdown in last year’s District Playoff. This year the pass met a much different fate. Red Tornado senior defensive back CJ Reichard read the play perfectly and stepped in front for an interception that he returned 83 yards for MCA’s second touchdown. Mangiapane once again added the PAT and the Big Red now lead 14-0. “The interception return happened on a play we stressed during practice this week,” said Reichard. “I thought I had a shot to make the play and went for it. I always love getting the ball in the open field and being able to run. It was a great momentum builder.”
Mount Carmel Area increased that lead to 21-0 on a 26-yard second quarter touchdown run by junior wingback Shane Weidner. After Mangiapane added the PAT, the Mounties were facing a three score deficit on their home field. On the ensuing drive, which was aided by an awkward sideline violation penalty called on Mount Carmel, senior running back Gideon Green finally found some running room. Green carried on five of the drive’s eight plays and took it the final four yards for the score. Senior kicker Dean Seman added the PAT making the score 21-7, where it would stay at halftime.
Green continued his running momentum after half. On South’s first possession he ran for 62 of the drive’s 64 yards, capping it with a two- yard touchdown run. Seman added the PAT and the lead was cut to 21-14. “That was definitely a momentum booster,” said Green, who would finish with 175 yards on the night. Whatever momentum was gained, it was taken away on Mount Carmel’s next offensive possession. The Red Tornadoes masterfully controlled the game flow and time of possession and put together a ten-play, 64-yard drive culminating with a four-yard touchdown run by Shane Weidner. “I’m very proud of our kids. They have the know how to respond when things get hairy,” said Coach John Darrah. After Mangiapane’s 4th PAT, the Red Tornadoes led 28-14.
The fourth quarter found South Williamsport trying to stage a comeback, but Mount Carmel’s defense stifled the drives, with two ended by interceptions by senior Red Tornado cornerback Michael Cuff. “Our defense really stepped it up tonight,” said Reichard. “Michael Cuff and I made sure to hold our ground. Our D-line and linebackers did an excellent job on Green the entire night, so we knew they would have to take some shots on our secondary. We were prepared.”
After the turnovers, Mount Carmel Area was able to continue to run the ball and run down the clock to seal the 28-14 victory. The win advances the Red Tornadoes into the District IV “AA” semi-finals next Friday night at The Silver Bowl against Line Mountain, a 14-13 winner over Wellsboro. South Williamsport finishes their season at 9-2.
John Ayres 24- 147 TD; Shane Weidner 9-30; CJ Reichard 3-21; Manus McCracken 1-2; Tom Reisinger 5-15.
Gideon Green 35-175 2 TDS; AJ Flick 3-9; Luke Winner 2-9; Ashton Martin 5-8.
Tom Reisinger 0-3-0; 0 yards.
A.J. Flick 2-14-2; 84 yards. Hunter Finn 0-1-1; 0 yards.
Chevy Boley 1-52; Ashton Martin 1-32.
Mount Carmel Area Stats Courtesy of Jose Gonzalo
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