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Game of the Week

Pivotal

Neshannock (12) vs. Shenango (20)
Written: Sep 13, 2015
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By Joe Sager

New Castle News

Big plays are magnified when field conditions are poor.

The Shenango High football team came through with one big play to propel the squad and another to close out a 20-12 win Saturday night over Neshannock in a rainy Big Seven Conference battle at Glenn “Pop” Johnston Stadium.

“I can’t imagine anything better, coming out here in the second game and beating Neshannock,” Shenango’s Jason Wallace said. “I am just so happy.”

Fumbles and punts dominated the first half for both teams. The Wildcats’ Hunter Waskin came through with the first big play of the night as he returned the second half kickoff 67 yards to the house to get the hosts on the scoreboard, 7-0.

“That just set everything in motion,” Wallace said. “We came ready to play the whole time, but that just kick started everything.”

Waskin disappeared in the middle of the field in a mass of players, but emerged near the left sideline and broke it all the way for the score.

“It gave us something to cling to. The first half was a little sloppy and we didn’t have a whole lot of momentum,” Shenango coach Mike Commesso said. “That sparked us and gave us confidence and enthusiasm. I think it was the play of the game.”

Shenango (2-0 conference, 2-0 overall) caught a break at the end of the third quarter. After a tackle for a loss and an unsportsmanlike penalty backed up the Lancers deep in their own territory, Neshannock (1-1, 1-1) attempted to punt the ball away. However, a low snap on fourth down caused punter Robert Lindsey to bend down to catch the ball. In the process, his knee touched the ground, which whistled the play dead at the squad’s 25 with 30.8 seconds left in the frame.

The Wildcats turned that quality field position into points. Three plays later, Brett Hoover crashed in from the 1. The PAT kick was blocked, which left the hosts with a 13-0 lead with 11:05 left in the game.

“That was huge. Everything that happened was huge,” Wallace said. “This was a big game and I was just so happy that we could pull together as a team and pull it out.”

Neshannock got on the scoreboard when it answered with a drive. Frank Antuono hit Robert Lindsey with a 38-yard pass to put the Lancers deep in Shenango territory. Eventually, Antuono ran in from the 1. The two-point conversion pass failed, though, to leave the Lancers down, 13-6, with 9:39 to go.

On the ensuing Wildcats drive, the Lancers forced a punt. Once again, they promptly drove for another score. Antuono lofted a 34-yard TD pass to Danny Welker over the middle. Neshannock attempted to go for two again, but the run was stopped, which gave Shenango a 13-12 lead with 6:46 left.

“You knew they were going to find the end zone sooner or later,” Shenango coach Mike Commesso said. “I was just proud that our kids fought the way they did the entire game and the offense finally came to life when it needed to.”

The hosts answered with a scoring drive of their own. The key play came when Evan Kendall found Brandon Ryder for an 18-yard completion on fourth-and-six from the Neshannock 32 with nearly three minutes to play. The Wildcats translated that momentum into Wallace’s 1-yard run to gain a 20-12 edge with 1:43 to go.

The Lancers started their next drive at their own 48. However, it lasted exactly one play as the snap was fumbled and Shenango pounced on it with 1:32 left to seal the victory.

“It was a gritty win. There was nothing too pretty about it,” Commesso said. “We played great defense and the special teams sparked us. We struggled a little bit on offense, so this was a gritty win. It came from everywhere and it was a great team effort. It’s only the second week of the season, so we have to make sure we’re focused on all our goals and not just one game.”

The Lancers, the defending Big Seven champs, look to rebound next week at home against Riverside in another key test.

“We’re going to bounce back and respond,” Antuono said. “We’ll come together as a family and come back next week stronger than ever.”

The win was Shenango’s first over Neshannock since 2010. It snapped the Lancers’ 11-game regular season and 12-game conference winning streaks as well.

“It’s the second game of the season and we’ll bounce back,” Neshannock coach Fred Mozzocio said. “It was a hard-fought football game. We lost and we make no excuses. Congratulations to Shenango and hopefully we can earn the right to possibly play them in the playoffs at some point and get another shot at them. We’ll move forward and get ready for Riverside.

“The Big Seven is pretty evenly matched and people are knocking each other off every week. So, we’ll pick it up and get ourselves back in the race.”

(Email: ncsports@ncnewsonline.com)

NESHANNOCK SHENANGO

10 First downs 7

181 Yards Rushing 132

39 Yards Lost 18

142 Net Rushing 114

9 Passes Attempted 8

4 Passes Completed 6

0 Passes Intercepted 0

99 Yards Passing 45

241 Total Yards 159

5-4 Fumbles-Lost 5-4

5-33.4 Punts-Average 5-39.6

5-69 Penalties-Yards 3-44

NESHANNOCK 0 0 0 12 - 12

SHENANGO 0 0 7 13 - 20

Scoring plays

SHENANGO — Hunter Waskin, 67-yard kickoff return (Dylan Kleckner kick).

SHENANGO — Brett Hoover, 1-yard run (kick blocked).

NESHANNOCK — Frank Antuono, 1-yard run (pass failed).

NESHNANOCK — Danny Welker, 34-yard pass from Antuono (run failed).

SHENANGO — Jason Wallace, 1-yard run (Kleckner kick).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Neshannock 0 0 0 12 0 12
Shenango 0 0 7 13 0 20
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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