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Game of the Week

Ground war

Ellwood City (46) vs. Mohawk (36)
Written: Oct 11, 2014
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By Andrew Koob

New Castle News

It was a matchup of hard-nosed rushing attacks and the Ellwood City Lincoln High football team refused to back down.

The Wolverines rushed for 403 yards en route to a hard-fought 46-36 Midwestern Athletic Conference victory over host Mohawk last night.

Junior tailback Nick Ioanilli led the way for Ellwood City (3-3 MAC, 4-3 overall), rushing for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

“We come in here, these people always play us tough,” Ellwood City coach Don Phillips said. “No matter what our record is, no matter what their record is, this game is going to be a knockdown, drag-out affair. It normally comes down to the wire, who has the ball last. Things happen, so it was really good to get out of here.”

Ellwood City set off the first firework after quarterback D.J. Barrett found the end zone from eight yards away.

Wolverines tailback Norm Ballard scored on an 11-yard run after Mohawk back Spencer McConahy opened the scoring for the Warriors with a 1-yard dive over the goal line.

The Warriors (1-5, 1-6) took their only lead of the game after quarterback Ricky Malutic also had a 1-yard touchdown run. John Zagotti’s extra point gave Mohawk a 13-12 lead early in the second quarter.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Ioanilli hit paydirt from 57 yards away two plays after Malutic’s score. After a fumble recovery, the Wolverines marched to the 5 before Barrett faked a toss to Ioanilli and found a wide-open Ballard in the back of the end zone.

That aerial was Barrett’s only pass of the night.

“We’ve always had that play,” Phillips said. “I just felt that the opportunity was there for them to overplay Nick and get that pop pass in there and it worked out well.”

Mohawk tailback Cayne Yakubik started to see more action in the second half and responded well, scoring two touchdowns from five and six yards away. Ioanilli scored his second touchdown of the night in between Yakubik’s trips to the end zone.

Yakubik ended the night with 84 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, with 78 of those yards in the second half.

Barrett and tailback River Kelly shut the door on a comeback attempt with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, starting with an 18-yard run by Kelly. After a Malutic score and Zagotti extra point, Barrett scampered 38 yards with under three minutes to play to give the Wolverines a 10-point advantage.

Kelly finished the night with 83 yards and a score on 13 carries. The combination of Ioanilli and Kelly proved to be too much for Mohawk.

“We have some nice weapons there,” Phillips said. “It got late in the game and I felt that they were overplaying Nick. And they were smart to do that, because Nick is our main weapon. But if you leave River alone, he pulled in for that touchdown down there and just wasn’t going to be denied.”

The Warriors’ loss is their fifth straight and sixth on the season.

“It’s been a rough season,” Mohawk coach Joe Lamenza said. “I think we have good leadership, the seniors have done everything we asked of them. They fought hard tonight, everyone fought hard tonight.

“I told the team after the game that they don’t have anything to be ashamed of. It was a close game and we came up a little bit short. We were down by two touchdowns at halftime and we cut it down to one score at the end.”

The Warriors did plenty of damage on the ground as well, racking up 339 yards behind a 192-yard, two-touchdown performance from Malutic. The signal-caller also added 22 yards through the air on 6 of 18 passing.

Both sides had trouble holding onto the ball, especially early on. Seven fumbles hit the turf throughout the game, five of which fell to the other team.

Mohawk was able to create the sudden change of possession but, more often that not, the Warriors handed the ball right back.

“That’s one of the things we talked about at halftime,” Lamenza said. “We created some turnovers, which is something that we emphasized this week. But when you create turnovers and turn the ball over yourself, it cancels those out.”

The win keeps the Wolverines’ playoff hopes alive. But Phillips now finds himself tasked with getting creative with his lineups.

“We’ve got to get together,” Phillips said. “The kids are working hard, but we have some injuries now so we have to sit down as a coaching staff and decide how we’re going to play and get people in the right spots but also try to develop as much depth as possible. Some of our younger kids are getting more and more work and that’s not a bad thing.”



13 First downs 18

408 Yards Rushing 343

5 Yards Lost 4

403 Net Rushing 339

1 Passes Attempted 18

1 Passes Completed 6

0 Passes Intercepted 1

5 Yards Passing 22

408 Total Yards 361

4-3 Fumbles-Lost 3-2

0-0 Punts-Average 0-0

6-35 Penalties-Yards 6-51

ELLWOOD CITY 6 18 8 14 — 46

MOHAWK 6 7 8 15 — 36

Scoring plays

ELLWOOD CITY — D.J. Barrett, 8-yard run (kick failed).

MOHAWK — Spencer McConahy, 1-yard run (kick failed).

ELLWOOD CITY — Norm Ballard, 11-yard run (run failed).

MOHAWK — Ricky Malutic, 1-yard run (John Zagotti kick).

ELLWOOD CITY — Nick Ioanilli, 57-yard run (run failed).

ELLWOOD CITY — Ballard, 5-yard pass from Barrett (kick failed).

MOHAWK — Cayne Yakubik, 6-yard run (McConahy run).

ELLWOOD CITY — Ioanilli, 25-yard run (River Kelly run).

MOHAWK — Yakubik, 5-yard run (Malutic run).

ELLWOOD CITY — Barrett, 18-yard run (run failed).

MOHAWK — Malutic, 1-yard run (Zagotti kick).

ELLWOOD CITY — Barrett, 38-yard run (Barrett run).
Ellwood City 6 18 8 14 0 46
Mohawk 6 7 8 15 0 36
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