Mount Carmel runs for 550 yards in 60-41 win against Loyalsock
Mount Carmel and Loyalsock have played some entertaining games throughout the years, and Friday night has to be at the top of the list. The Red Tornadoes and Lancers put on a performance that would make the Big 12 Conference proud. Huge offensive numbers, big plays all over the field and a second half that featured ten touchdowns certainly kept things interesting until the very end. When the fourth quarter clock finally expired, Mount Carmel walked away with a 60-41 victory, behind a rushing attack that compiled 550 yards on 70 attempts.
“A few times we played these guys, we had games sort of like this,” Mount Carmel coach John Darrah said. “They weren’t quite as high scoring, but we had one game that went into overtime, and another one up here that was 42-40. I think every time we play, we just score more and more points. (Loyalsock) is off the schedule for a couple of years after this one.”
Right from the start, Mount Carmel was picking up big chunks of yardage of against a Loyalsock defense that simply had no answers. The Red Tornadoes scored on eight of their eleven possessions. Two series ended on turnovers in Loyalsock territory, and another was the final drive of the game. Thomas Davitt led Mount Carmel with 113 yards rushing on 15 carries. Although Davitt didn’t score, plenty of other Red Tornadoes did. Quarterback Pedro Feliciano crossed the goal line four times, as he racked up 112 yards rushing. Michael Farronato totaled 86 yards on 11 carries, and his 12-yard run got the scoring bonanza started late in the first quarter. Mount Carmel (6-2) averaged almost eight yards per rushing attempt, as the offensive line created holes consistently from start to finish.
“The offensive line is just awesome,” Darrah said. “They come to work every day, there’s high expectations around them, and I think they fulfill them. I think they do just a really good job. They’re really physical, and they never waste a day to get better.”
Loyalsock (3-4) was very much in the game until a pivotal second-half sequence turned the tide for good. Nazier Smith returned a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown with 7:27 left in the third quarter that closed the gap to 22-21. Mount Carmel quickly responded with a Feliciano 3-yard run, and the Red Tornadoes successfully recovered a pair of onsides kicks that were cashed in for touchdowns. Scoring runs by Feliciano and Luke Blessing quickly broke the game open, as all of the sudden the lead ballooned to 46-21 early in the fourth quarter.
“They were planned by necessity, not by choice,” Darrah said of the onsides kicks. “We had trouble on the kickoff team. We knew they had a bunch of athletes. It was tough to keep the ball away from their athletes, because they have so many of them on the field, and obviously they hurt us on that. We just basically said, they can’t return an onsides kick. Julien (Stellar) did a nice job. We were able to get both of those, and that was a huge turning point in the game.”
After a four-week absence, Loyalsock welcomed quarterback Tyler Gee back into the lineup, and the sophomore played very well. Gee completed 18-of-23 passes for 298 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception. Gee threw a strike to Rian Glunk that gave the Lancers their only lead of the night early in the second quarter. JerVal Weeks-Shuler was the recipient of two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter when both teams were scoring at will.
“Tyler is a very good quarterback,” Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet said. “He’s a strong-willed individual who understands situations. As a sophomore, we’re really blessed to have him continue to grow through the program.”
For the first 14 minutes of the second half, Loyalsock did not run an offensive play. Thanks to the kickoff return by Smith and recoveries by Mount Carmel, the Lancers’ defense was on the field for 21 consecutive snaps in which they surrendered three touchdowns. The Red Tornadoes racked up an amazing 34 first downs, including 13 in the decisive third quarter.
“The situation is, we have to find ways to get creative and find opportunities to stop teams that are power run,” Van Fleet said. “We knew coming into the season, that there were going to be some situations where we needed to make plays. In this game as it went, we have to find opportunities defensively to put kids in spots to make those plays. We went through a great number of checks to try and get there. Hopefully we’ll continue to grow, but the reality is from here, everything moving forward is still ahead of us. All of our goals our still in front of us, and we’re getting ready to get to Monday to keep playing.”