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Game of the Week

One for the books

Laurel (27) vs. Ellwood City (14)
Written: Oct 18, 2014
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By Joe Sager

New Castle News


Noah Wertz turned last night’s game into his own personal punt, pass and kick skills competition.

You can add catching as another category, as the Laurel High senior had a career outing in the Spartans’ 27-14 home triumph over Ellwood City Lincoln in a WPIAL Class AA Midwestern Athletic Conference battle.

Wertz booted two field goals, including a school-record 44-yard rocket, intercepted two passes and threw a 2-point conversion pass. Also, he punted one time for 50 yards and added a PAT kick.

“We have known all year that he is a special type of kid with his leg and everything else,” Laurel coach Brian Cooper said. “He has proven himself, too, offensively and defensively as well. He didn’t get to play much in the past, but this year he has had to step up and be a leader. I am glad it all came together for him.

“I thought we played great all night. Really, all year, they’ve played well as a team. We just cut down a lot on the mistakes and played a lot better up front and controlled the line of scrimmage.”

Laurel is 3-4 in conference play, 3-5 overall, while the Wolverines slipped to 3-4, 4-4.

Wertz nearly had a field goal hat trick, but his 32-yard attempt in the first quarter sailed wide left. Nevertheless, the Spartans scored first when Clayton Sharek dashed in from the 2. Wertz added the PAT kick for a 7-0 lead with 9:16 left in the second half.

Ellwood responded when D.J. Barrett found Mario Street for a 15-yard TD pass to knot the game at 7 with 1:37 on the clock.

Laurel cashed in on its final possession as the team drove to the Wolverines’ 27. On fourth down with :02 remaining, Wertz drilled his 44-yard field goal into the wind with plenty of distance to give the hosts a 10-7 lead. It surpassed Jon Johnson’s 42-yard boot in 2009 atop the program charts.

“The wind was a big factor. Early-on it was worse, but it calmed down a little into the night. I just had to adjust,” Wertz said. “My snapper and holder have been working hard for me. They knew I wanted that record. I had one from 55 that came just short before and I had one from 57 that just came short earlier (in the season). To finally get one is a confidence builder.”

The Wolverines took charge to open the second half. Nick Ioanilli, who was limited to 21 yards rushing in four carries in the first half, broke out to start the third quarter. He had runs of 25 and 29 to set up Barrett’s 2-yard TD dash, which gave the guests a 14-10 edge.

Matty Conway’s 47-yard kickoff return set up the hosts deep in Ellwood territory. They drove to the 2, but were stopped on downs. Two plays later, a pair of false starts backed the Wolverines up to their own 3. Disaster struck when Luke Flynn picked up a loose ball and plowed his way into the end zone for a touchdown.  

“I saw the ball. It got knocked out and was rolling around. I picked it up and just started going into the end zone. I had some help from a few teammates. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been there. I would have been stuck on the 2-yard line,” Flynn said. “That was huge momentum. That got us going. If it that didn’t happen, that score might not have said what it said tonight.”

Cooper agreed, “Getting that touchdown was a huge momentum swing there. The defense did a great job keeping them back in their own end. You’re going to make big plays when you’re playing as a team.”

There was a bad snap on the PAT kick attempt, but Wertz was able to scramble back,  track down the ball, pick it up, roll to his right and loft a pass to a wide-open Chris Peluso for the 2-point conversion and an 18-14 lead with 3:38 to go in the third.

“That’s like backyard football to me; that’s gym class,” Wertz said. “My team knew what they had to do and they got the job done. It was a good team win.”

The Wolverines punted on their next possession and Laurel marched its way down and scored on Jake McDougal’s 6-yard run for a 24-14 lead with 10:22 to play.

Wertz collected his first interception on Ellwood’s next drive as he snagged Ioanilli’s halfback pass deep in Spartans territory. The hosts went on another long drive and capped it with Wertz’s 32-yard boot for a 27-14 buffer with 2:01 to go.

Wertz picked off Ioanilli again on the Wolverines’ next drive and Laurel ran out the clock to seal the win.

Conway led all rushers with 130 yards on 15 carries. Sharek had 77 yards on 17 totes.

Ioanilli finished with 86 yards on 10 carries in the loss. It pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark. He has 1,063 yards on 116 attempts.



10 First downs 22

146 Yards Rushing 304

1 Yards Lost 22

145 Net Rushing 282

13 Passes Attempted 10

2 Passes Completed 3

2 Passes Intercepted 0

65 Yards Passing 59

210 Total Yards 341

1-1 Fumbles-Lost 2-0

3-46.6 Punts-Average 1-50

6-25 Penalties-Yards 5-38

ELLWOOD CITY 0 7 7 0 — 14

LAUREL 0 10 8 9 — 27

Scoring plays

LAUREL — Clayton Sharek, 2-yard run (Noah Wertz kick).

ELLWOOD CITY — Mario Street, 15-yard pass from D.J. Barrett (Devin Cortez kick).

LAUREL — Wertz, 44-yard field goal.

ELLWOOD CITY — Barrett, 2-yard run (Wertz kick).

LAUREL — Luke Flynn, 3-yard fumble return (Chris Peluso pass from Wertz).

LAUREL — Jake McDougal, 6-yard run (pass failed).

LAUREL — Wertz, 32-yard field goal.

Laurel 0 10 8 9 0 27
Ellwood City 0 7 7 0 0 14
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Cambridge Springs 11/13/15 Defense steps up for Lancers 11/7/15 Neshannock vs. Bentworth 11/5/15 No doubt about it 10/31/15 Neshannock vs. Union 10/30/15 Crowning effort 10/24/15 Shenango vs. Riverside 10/23/15 Playoff hopes dashed 10/17/15 Laurel vs. Beaver 10/16/15 A costly brawl 10/10/15 New Castle vs. Central Valley 10/9/15 Inching closer 10/3/15 Union vs. Shenango 10/2/15 'They had us on our heels' 9/26/15 South Side Beaver at Union 9/25/15 Shootout 9/19/15 Neshannock at Riverside 9/18/15 Pivotal 9/13/15 Neshannock, Shenango clash Saturday 9/11/15 Under the weather 9/5/15 New Brighton at Laurel 9/4/15 Heartbreaker 11/15/14 Neshannock vs. Clairton 11/14/14 Weathering the storm 11/8/14 Neshannock vs. Jeannette 11/7/14 Fast and furious 11/1/14 Springdale at Shenango 10/31/14 Opportunity lost 10/25/14 Sharpsville at Wilmington 10/24/14 One for the books 10/18/14 Ellwood City at Laurel 10/17/14 Ground war 10/11/14 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/10/14 Drenched with happiness 10/4/14 South Side Beaver at Shenango 10/3/14 The perfect storm 9/27/14 Moon at New Castle 9/26/14 Coming up short 9/20/14 West Middlesex at Wilmington 9/19/14 Back in the saddle 9/13/14 Neshannock at Riverside 9/12/14 Tough act to follow 9/6/14 New Brighton at Ellwood City 9/5/14 'We will get better' 8/30/14 West Allegheny vs. New Castle 8/29/14 End of the road 11/16/13 Neshannnock vs. North Catholic 11/15/13 'Sharks in a frenzy' 11/9/13 Lancers advance to WPIAL semifinals 11/9/13 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/8/13 The best defense 11/2/13 Neshannock vs. Brentwood 11/1/13 'We battled to the end' 10/26/13 New Brighton at Mohawk 10/25/13 Costly blunders 10/19/13 Sto-Rox at Laurel 10/18/13 West Allegheny rallies in fourth to defeat 'Canes 10/12/13 West Allegheny at New Castle 10/11/13 Mohawk wins thriller behind McConahy, Barber 10/5/13 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/4/13 Spartans ride big second half to win over Union 9/28/13 Laurel at Union 9/27/13 Burkes stars as Lancers escape upset bid 9/21/13 Shenango at Neshannock 9/20/13 So close ... 9/13/13 Neshannock at Sto-Rox 9/12/13 Run to glory 9/7/13 Laurel at Neshannock 9/6/13 Dando, Spartans roll over South Side Beaver 9/5/13 South Side Beaver vs. Laurel 8/30/13 Turnovers spell doom for Wilmington in D-10 title game 11/26/12 Wilmington vs. Hickory 11/24/12 Caught in a 'Bear' trap 11/17/12 Neshannock vs. Clairton in WPIAL Class A semifinals 11/15/12 Neshannock advances 11/10/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/9/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/9/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/8/12 Neshannock advances 11/3/12 Neshannock vs. Jefferson-Morgan 11/2/12 Down and out 10/27/12 New Castle at Hopewell 10/26/12 Pugh paces Wilmington to win over Sharon 10/22/12 Wilmington vs. Sharon 10/19/12 Mohawk falls to Beaver 10/13/12 Beaver vs. Mohawk 10/12/12 ‘We tip our hats to them’ 10/8/12 Neshannock at Rochester 10/5/12 Big-play display for Union 9/29/12 Union vs. Laurel 9/28/12 Lancers rout Shenango for fourth win 9/24/12 Blend of old, new sparks Union win 9/22/12 Union hosts Western Beaver 9/21/12 ’Hounds rise up for win over Hickory 9/15/12 Wilmington vs. Hickory 9/14/12 Milestone victory 9/10/12 New Castle at Riverside 9/7/12 699 and counting 9/1/12 New Castle vs. Central Valley 8/31/12 Turnovers lead to season-ending loss for Wilmington 11/21/11 Wilmington vs. General McLane 11/17/11 End of the dream 11/12/11 Ellwood vs. Greensburg Central 11/11/11 Ellwood advances 11/5/11 Ellwood City vs. Freeport 11/4/11 Mixed reviews 10/29/11 New Castle vs. Blackhawk 10/28/11 Wilmington rolls to Region 3 title 10/22/11 Wilmington vs. Sharon 10/21/11 It's Polka time 10/15/11 Ellwood City vs. Laurel 10/14/11 Aliquippa cruises past Ellwood City 10/8/11 Aliquippa vs. Ellwood City 10/7/11 Wilmington holds on for thrilling win over Hickory 10/1/11 Wilmington vs. Hickory 9/30/11 Union pulls away for win over South Side Beaver 9/24/11 South Side Beaver at Union 9/23/11 Big plays spell doom for New Castle 9/17/11 Central Valley vs. New Castle 9/16/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Neshannock vs. Serra Catholic 9/9/11 New Castle suffers disappointing loss in opener 9/3/11 New Castle vs. Butler 9/2/11 Sharon ends Wilmington’s dominance 11/22/10 ‘Underdog’ Greyhounds move on to a rematch with Sharon 11/15/10 Wilmington vs. North East 11/12/10 Tough lesson 11/6/10 WPIAL Playoffs: Ellwood vs. South Fayette 11/5/10 Wolverines earn playoff berth 10/30/10 Riverside at Ellwood City 10/29/10 'Hounds lose heartbreaker 10/23/10 Wilmington at Sharon 10/22/10 Wolverines outlast Spartans 10/16/10 Laurel at Ellwood City 10/15/10 'Canes fall to Parkway foe Hopewell 10/9/10 New Castle to battle Hopewell 10/8/10 Lancers fall to Western Beaver 10/2/10 Western Beaver at Neshannock 10/1/10 Wolverines fall to Beaver 9/25/10 Beaver at Ellwood City 9/24/10 Shenango runs past South Side 9/20/10 Greyhounds lay hammer down on Greenville 9/11/10 Wilmington vs. Greenville 9/10/10 New Castle comes through 9/4/10 New Castle vs. Butler 9/4/10 Memorable run ends for Wilmington football team 12/14/09 Wilmington vs. Greensburg Catholic 12/11/09 Wilmington survives close call against Forest Hills 12/4/09 Wilmington vs. Forest Hills 12/4/09 Wilmington blanks Sharon 11/28/09 Wilmington vs. Sharon 11/27/09 Laurel season ends with setback 11/21/09 Laurel vs. Clairton in WPIAL semifinals 11/20/09 West Allegheny ends New Castle’s season 11/14/09 New Castle vs. West Allegheny 11/13/09 New Castle holds off Greensburg Salem 11/7/09 New Castle at Greensburg Salem 11/6/09 Wilmington routs Slippery Rock 10/30/09 Slippery Rock at Wilmington 10/30/09 Shenango blanks Union 10/24/09 Shenango at Union 10/23/09 Spartans overwhelm Monaca 10/17/09 Monaca at Laurel 10/16/09 Mohawk outlasts Ellwood City 10/10/09 Mohawk at Ellwood City 10/9/09 Rochester turns back Laurel in battle of unbeatens 10/3/09 Laurel at Rochester 10/2/09 Laurel opportunistic against Neshannock 9/26/09 Neshannock at Laurel 9/25/09 New Castle ends streak against Blackhawk 9/19/09 New Castle hosts Blackhawk 9/18/09 New Castle passes test against Indiana 9/12/09 Indiana at New Castle 9/11/09 Ellwood comes up short against Freedom 9/5/09 Freedom at Ellwood 9/4/09 Wilmington wins PIAA title! 12/15/08 'Hounds headed for Hershey 12/6/08 Wilmington vs. Aliquippa 12/5/08 Wilmington holds off Martinsburg Central 11/29/08 Wilmington edges Slippery Rock for District 10 title 11/24/08 "Down and Out" 11/19/08 New Castle outlasts Indiana in quarterfinals 11/8/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/7/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/6/08 New Castle routs Franklin Regional 11/1/08 Franklin Regional at New Castle 11/1/08 Laurel wins, but not enough 10/25/08 Shenango at Laurel 10/25/08 New Castle routs Ambridge 10/18/08 Ambridge at New Castle 10/18/08 Rochester blanks Neshannock 10/11/08 Wilmington handles Sharon 10/4/08 South Side Beaver blanks Neshannock 9/27/08 Neshannock vs. South Side Beaver 9/27/08 Neshannock holds off Laurel 9/20/08 Rochester blanks Union 9/13/08 Union-Rochester 9/12/08 Mohawk routs New Brighton 9/6/08 Butler outlasts New Castle 8/30/08
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