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The Shot Heard Round Mount Carmel

Written by: on Saturday, August 27th, 2016. Follow Aaron Domanski on Twitter.


Mangiapane delivers 6th XP in overtime as Mount Carmel Area outduels Loyalsock 42-41.

Shortly after ten-o’clock Friday evening, Mount Carmel Area heard a boom that ranks up there with any that have been heard throughout the history of this coal region community. Now this boom was not dynamite blasting its way through a mountain of coal, but rather from a football that was just kicked by Mount Carmel Area junior Rosolino Mangiapane. It was the kicker’s sixth extra point on the evening and was a culmination of a remarkable comeback waged by John Darrah’s Red Tornadoes who outdueled Justin Van Fleet’s Lancers, 42-41, in overtime. The game would become an instant classic and will rank as one of the best ever to be played at the historic Silver Bowl.

Loyalsock wasted no time early and got on the scoreboard on a first possession touchdown run by senior Marcus Williams, who exhibited his sheer athleticism on the way to the end zone on a 59 yard inside reverse. The PAT would be no good and the Lancers would lead 6-0 early. After Mount Carmel Area was forced to punt, Loyalsock put together a second scoring drive in the first quarter that was highlighted by the gritty play of sophomore quarterback Connor Watkins. He would connect with senior wide receiver Alec Little for a 6 yard touchdown pass. Senior Andrew Czap would add the extra point and put the Lancers up 13-0, which is how the score would stay through the end of the first quarter.

Mount Carmel Area got some offensive momentum on its next possession with the drive highlighted by an amazing catch by the Tornadoes’ junior CJ Reichard. The Red Tornadoes would march deep into Lancer territory but were turned away when sophomore quarterback John Ayres was intercepted in the endzone by Loyalsock’s Cole Cavanaugh. The Lancers would capitalize on the turnover as Marcus Williams engineered a scoring drive, connecting with junior wide receiver Brock Hepler on a 33 yard touchdown pass. Czap’s PAT would put the Lancers up 20-0. The Tornadoes would not be denied on their next possession. Facing a critical 4th down from the Lancer 23 yard line, John Ayres would find Red Tornado senior tight end Wes Shurock for a 23 yard touchdown pass. Rosolino Mangiapane would add the PAT and cut the deficit to 20-7, which is where the score would remain at the half.

As the sun set at the Silver Bowl prior to the second half, the heat and humidity let up a little bit, but the game play on the field did not. Mount Carmel Area opened up the third quarter with a drive that marched into Loyalsock territory, but the Tornadoes turned the ball over on downs after back-to-back incomplete passes. The Lancers would take over and continue using their no-huddle offense and drive to pay dirt, with Marcus Williams taking it the final 9 yards for the score. Czap’s PAT would make the score 27-7. A score that eerily reflected a second half deficit faced by Mount Carmel Area in their 2015 Season Opener at Loyalsock in which the Red Tornadoes were still developing as a team learning a new system. Perhaps the Lancers had wished it was 2015, as these Red Tornadoes fought back with reckless abandon for the remainder of the second half.

Mount Carmel Area’s next drive, led by the running of QB John Ayres, found the end zone, with the Red Tornado signal caller taking it the final yard across the goal line. Rosolino Mangiapane would add the extra point, making it 27-14, where the score would stay through the end of the 3rd quarter. Mount Carmel Area would continue its momentum to the start the 4th quarter when Ayres once again found Wes Shurock, connecting on a 27 yard scoring strike. Mangiapane would add the PAT making it 27-21 with 11:30 left to play.

On Loyalsock’s ensuing drive the Red Tornadoes would force a fumble, as Lancer quarterback Connor Watkins was stripped as he was fighting for first down yardage. The fumble was recovered by Red Tornado freshman Shane Weidner. Mount Carmel Area would take over and run a punishing ground attack out of their shotgun single-wing offense, with Johnny Ayres taking it the final 10 yards for the touchdown, his second rushing TD of the night. Ayres added, “The biggest thing I want to talk about is our line. Our line dominated the line of scrimmage and had a push every time. They had great protection the whole night. We knew we were in for a game and just went out and played.” The line would also allow Mangiapane time to remain perfect on PAT attempts and his 4th of the game would give the Tornadoes their first lead, 28-27.

Loyalsock attempted to regain control on their next possession. Quarterback Connor Watkins was flushed from the pocket and attempted to hit junior wide receiver Brock Hepler on a long pass but was intercepted by the Red Tornadoes’ junior cornerback Tommy McDonald. Mount Carmel would capitalize on the turnover as Lane Tanney would score on a 3 yard run to culminate the drive. Mangiapane would add his fifth PAT and MCA would extend its lead to 35-27. However, Loyalsock was not finished. The Lancers took over near mid-field with 29 seconds remaining in regulation. Quarterback Connor Watkins engineered a hurry-up drive to precision and connected with Marcus Williams for a touchdown as time expired. Watkins would rush for the two-point conversion and Loyalsock and Mount Carmel were tied at 35-35 to end regulation.

The Lancers would begin overtime on offense. On 3rd and goal, Marcus Williams would continue his amazing evening, taking it 6 yards for the score, his third rushing TD of the game and fifth TD overall. Kicker Andrew Czap did not get an opportunity for a true PAT, as the snap was low and the holder was touched down before Czap could connect on the attempt. Loyalsock would lead 41-35. Mount Carmel would then take over on offense needing a touchdown. On fourth down they would get it. From the 8 yard line, quarterback John Ayres maintained his composure and found Wes Shurock in the back corner of the end zone for the game tying touchdown. The TD reception was Shurock’s third on the evening. As a happy Shurock responded, “It was an amazing feeling knowing the team trusted me to put the ball in my hands.” Ayres added, “When the ball was snapped our line had great protection which allowed me to move around a little bit and find Wes running across the field. I threw the ball, which I knew was a 50-50 ball, but I had confidence in Wes. Sure enough Wes won that 50-50 ball to score in OT. That touchdown was one of the most amazing feelings ever.”

At 41-41, kicker Rosolino Mangiapane would enter the field to attempt the game winning PAT. Loyalsock took its overtime timeout to try and ice the junior kicker, but it would be to no avail. “Golden Leg” Mangiapane nailed it and his kick sent the Mount Carmel Area faithful into a frenzy celebrating a hard fought overtime win over a quality opponent. “I knew I had everyone counting on me, “stated Mangiapane. “I kept my composure and just did what I normally did. When I made it I was so pumped and excited.” He was a perfect 6 for 6 kicking extra points on the night, with that last one being the biggest. “I was very prepared. I was nowhere near as nervous as I was last year. I now know in my head that I can do it.” So do the Red Tornadoes as a team, who after trailing 27-7, maintained their composure for the hard fought overtime victory. “We willed it out,” said head coach John Darrah. “We played sloppy in the first half but we came out and gutted it out in the second half. Johnny Ayres really showed us what he is made of out there leading us in the second half; All of our guys did.” Ayres added, “It was a whole team effort.” Shurock responded, “I hope this performance propels us the rest of our season.” If the Tornadoes play their remaining games like they did in the second half against Loyalsock it surely will.

Next Friday the Red Tornadoes will be on the road at Shikellamy while Loyalsock will be hosting the Shamokin Indians.

Loyalsock: 13-7- 7- 8- 6 = 41
Mount Carmel: 0- 7-7-21-7 = 42


Marcus Williams 7-122, 3TDS; Cole Cavanaugh 11-41; Connor Watkins 10-74; Alden Mileto 4-10; Hunter Webb 3-5.

Connor Watkins 9-16-1, 123 yards, 2TDS; Marcus Williams 1-1-0, 33 yards, 1 TD.

Brock Hepler 3-51, 1 TD; Marcus Williams 2-28, 1 TD; Hunter Webb 1-45; Jaiden Cioffi 1-13; Gerald Ross 1-8; Sam Newton 1-6.


John Ayres 25-115, 2 TDS; Lane Tanney 13-62, 1TD; Shane Weidner 6-32; Tanner Karycki 5-24; C.J. Reichard 1-3.

John Ayres 11-20-1, 141 yards, 3 TDS

Wes Shurock 3-58 3TDS; Lane Tanney 4-35; C.J. Reichard 2-39; Tanner Karycki 1-10; Michael Hood 1 (-1).

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