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Game of the Week

Weathering the storm

Neshannock (46) vs. Jeannette (32)
Written: Nov 08, 2014
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By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

CHESWICK — The dream season remains alive for the Neshannock High football team.

Three Lancers reached the end zone twice, the defense delivered in the second half and Neshannock proved it can play with the best.

Neshannock took care of Jeannette in the fourth quarter, scoring the final 14 points to claim a 46-32 WPIAL Class A playoff matchup in a back-and-forth game at Deer Lakes High School.

“We knew coming down here we were going to be in for a dogfight,” said third-year Lancers coach Fred Mozzocio. “Jeannette’s storied program, there’s a lot of pride and tradition there. They’re a top football team. We knew exactly what it was going to come down to.”

The win propels third-seeded Neshannock (11-0) into the WPIAL semifinals for the third year in a row.

“It’s a great accomplishment for these young men,” Mozzocio said of the semifinal appearance. “They’ve put the time in and now they’re reaping the benefits.

“We’re very determined. They’ve been waiting to get to this point all season long, for this opportunity. We know the task at hand that lies ahead. We relish the opportunity and we’re looking forward to it. We’re elated to have that opportunity again. We’ll give it our best shot and let the chips fall where they may.”

Second-seeded Clairton (11-0) is up next for the Lancers at a time, date and site to be announced. The Bears knocked off Shenango in a quarterfinal contest last night, 68-7.

Eli Owens, Frank Antuono and Rocco Fazio reached paydirt twice each for Neshannock. Fazio’s 48-yard touchdown reception from Antuono with 11:49 to go in the game proved to be the winning margin.

Robert Lindsey sealed the verdict when he plowed in from 6 yards out with 3 minutes to play.

“It was a heavyweight battle. A heavyweight title fight,” Mozzocio said. “It was 15 rounds all the way down to the end. It was just a great game.

“Both teams played their hearts out tonight. Thank goodness we came out on top.”

Owens amassed 168 yards on 27 carries. He scored on runs of 7 and 10 yards. His 10-yard scoring tote put Neshannock up 32-25 with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter.

“Our line opened those holes up and they created big holes for us,” Owens said. “That’s how I got all of my yards. They work so hard every week.”

Added Mozzocio, “Owens played great. He was cutting on a dime. He’s back to 100 percent. Our line is giving him some seams and he’s running hard and doing what he’s supposed to do. I’m proud of him and our line. It was an entire team effort.”

The sixth-seeded Jayhawks (9-2) rolled up 281 yards of offense on the tough Neshannock defense in the first. But Jeannette managed just 124 yards of offense and three first downs in the second half.

Zack Altieri’s 73-yard touchdown run in the third quarter accounted for most of the Jayhawks’ second-half offense. His score knotted the count at 32 with 1:31 to go in the third.

Jeannette hurt the Lancers’ defense with long scoring runs of 73 by quarterback Julian Batts and 66 by Terell Canady in the opening half.

“We tried to keep our three defensive linemen in front of the quarterback instead of rushing him on a normal rush,” Mozzocio said of his team’s second-half strategy. “We just tried to mirror him and let our athletes come off the edges and contain him.

“It worked in the second half. Our conditioning worked to our advantage, too. We wore them out.”

Antuono scored on a 4-yard run in the first quarter and a 2-yard run in the second stanza. He hooked up with Fazio on two scoring passes as well.

Antuono was 9-of-15 passing for 169 yards with two scores and no interceptions.

“There were no jitters at all from Frank,” Mozzocio said. “We talked all week, we’re a loose bunch. We come out here and lay it on the line.”

Said Owens, “Frank is amazing. He stepped up.”

Batts’ 73-yard scoring run put Jeannette up 7-0 in the first quarter. The Jayhawks were threatening to go up two scores on a Lancers group outscoring the opposition by 37.3 points a game coming in.

But Batts fumbled around the Neshannock 5 and Jimmy Medure scooped up the loose ball and returned it 34 yards.

“I don’t even think of that,” Mozzocio said of the swing in momentum. “I just think of the plays that our defense made.

“We take the mentality that the next play is the most important play. We don’t dwell on what happened in the past. We ended up making a big play and getting the ball back.”

“That was real key for us,” Owens said. “That was very important. Maybe if we didn’t stop them, it could have went a different way. That was a big play. It was a great momentum change.”

Neshannock’s offense started to get in gear after Medure’s fumble return. The Lancers marched 52 yards in five plays, capped off by Owens’ 7-yard scoring scamper.

The Lancers clicked throughout the contest offensively, amassing 18 first downs and 459 total yards.

“I did feel we could move the ball all the time,” Owens said. “The line was dominating. They went 110 percent and it worked out.”

Neshannock’s closest game prior to last night was a 41-14 road win over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

“Hopefully we get some respect out of this,” Owens said of the battle with Jeannette. “We definitely deserve it. We work so hard to be able to win and compete with these teams we play.”

The Lancers will be looking for some redemption against Clairton. The Bears eliminated Neshannock in the WPIAL Class A semifinals in 2012, 37-7 at Chartiers-Houston.

“It’s definitely awesome,” Owens said of reaching the semifinals. “We can’t wait to go head-to-head with Clairton.”

(Email: rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com)

JEANNETTE NESHANNOCK

14 First downs 18

366 Yards Rushing 294

21 Yards Lost 4

345 Net Rushing 290

17 Passes Attempted 16

6 Passes Completed 9

0 Passes Intercepted 0

60 Yards Passing 169

405 Total Yards 459

4-3 Fumbles-Lost 3-3

3-44.3 Punts-Average 1-33

11-101 Penalties-Yards 9-70

JEANNETTE 7 15 10 0 — 32

NESHANNOCK 13 12 7 14 — 46

Scoring plays

JEANNETTE — Julian Batts, 73-yard run (Swade Redman kick).

NESHANNOCK — Eli Owens, 7-yard run (Seth Dueitt kick).

NESHANNOCK — Frank Antuono, 4-yard run (kick blocked).

JEANNETTE — Terell Canady, 66-yard run (Redman kick).

NESHANNOCK — Antuono, 2-yard run (kick blocked).

JEANNETTE — Kareem Hall, 1-yard run (Zack Altieri pass from Batts).

NESHANNOCK — Rocco Fazio, 7-yard pass from Antuono (run failed).

JEANNETTE — Redman, 23-yard field goal.

NESHANNOCK — Owens, 10-yard run (Dueitt kick).

JEANNETTE — Altieri, 73-yard run (Redman kick).

NESHANNOCK — Fazio, 48-yard pass from Antuono (Dueitt kick).

NESHANNOCK — Robert Lindsey, 6-yard run (Dueitt kick).

GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Neshannock 13 12 7 14 0 46
Jeannette 7 15 10 0 0 32
GAME OF THE WEEK ARCHIVE
One step short 12/3/16 Neshannock season comes to end 11/27/16 The (im)perfect season 11/19/16 WPIAL championship game 11/18/16 New Castle advances to WPIAL Class 4A title game 11/11/16 Neshannock routs Serra Catholic 11/4/16 Neshannock hosts Serra Catholic 11/4/16 Thriller 10/28/16 Union at Shenango 10/28/16 'Canes stumble; playoff berth on line in finale 10/21/16 New Castle hosts Ringgold on Senior Night 10/21/16 Wilmington falls in battle of unbeatens 10/15/16 Wilmington at Hickory 10/13/16 On the defensive 10/8/16 Neshannock hosts Riverside 10/7/16 New Castle struggles in home loss to Mars 9/30/16 New Castle hosts Mars 9/30/16 'Canes hope to even score against Mars 9/30/16 Stayin' alive 9/23/16 Union hosts Western Beaver 9/23/16 Ground assault 9/17/16 Wilmington hosts Sharpsville 9/16/16 Too many mistakes for Laurel 9/10/16 Riverside travels to Laurel 9/9/16 Neshannock routs North Catholic 9/3/16 Canes quipped 8/31/16 A good mix 8/27/16 Black Friday 11/14/15 Wilmington vs. 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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