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Game of the Week

Defense steps up for Lancers

Neshannock (49) vs. Bentworth (13)
Written: Nov 07, 2015
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By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

Interceptions. Fumble recoveries. Sacks.

Add a trio of pick sixes into the equation and it equalled quite a recipe for success for the Neshannock High football team’s defensive unit Friday night.

The Lancers picked off five passes, recovered a fumble, made close to 10 sacks and returned three of the interceptions for touchdowns in a 49-13 WPIAL Class A first-round playoff win over Bentworth at Bob Bleggi Stadium.

“We had to get after the passer. Boy, did we ever get after the passer,” said fourth-year Neshannock coach Fred Mozzocio of his team’s formula for success. “Our front three and our outside backers, they got after (the Bentworth quarterback).

“He took so many hits. I don’t know how he stayed in the football game. It was a courageous effort by (Josh Hughes). We had to hit him about 25 times, square.”

Hughes finally got knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter on a hard tackle.

The Lancers (9-1) advance to meet Jeannette (9-1), a 27-7 winner over Chartiers-Houston, on Friday at a time and site to be determined.

The win also extended the Lancers’ home winning streak to 24 straight games dating back to the 2011 season. The senior class capped its career with a 22-0 record at home.

“It’s an amazing feat by them to play somewhere at any school for four years and not ever lose on your home football field. It’s quite an accomplishment,” Mozzocio said. “It’s been a team effort from start to finish. These seniors, they not only went out and never lost a home game here, they also have more wins under their belt than anybody ever to play Lancer football.”

Hughes was picked off by Neshannock’s Mason Davison on the second play of the game. Davison dashed in 30 yards for the touchdown and Essa Barhoum added the conversion kick for a 7-0 lead. The defensive line penetrated Bentworth’s offensive line and Hughes’ attempt at a screen pass was easily picked off by Davison.

On the second play following Davison’s score, it was Danny Welker’s turn. Welker intercepted Hughes and raced 42 yards for a touchdown. Barhoum again converted the extra point and it was 14-0 just 1:37 into the contest.

“We were very confident. I knew we were just going to keep rolling at that point,” said Lancers lineman Sean Doran.

Doran dominated Benthworth’s offensive line throughout the game. Mozzocio estimated Doran had six or seven sacks and about 15 tackles.

“Ty Sear and Mason Davison were flat out getting after it along with Sean,” Mozzocio said. “It was a dominating performance by those three young men all night.”

Said Doran, “We just came out sticking. We were hitting well on all cylinders and we played well on defense. We were just getting penetration. The coaches were working on it all week and we just did what our coaches told us. It worked for us.”

Frank Antuono hooked up with Sear on a 42-yard scoring pass and Barhoum again kicked the conversion for a 21-0 buffer with 1:10 to go in the first period.

Robert Lindsey put the Lancers up 28-0 when he picked off another Hughes aerial and dashed 40 yards for a score with 8:03 to go in the first half.

“I was just at the right spot at the right moment,” Lindsey said. “I made the catch and I had blocking.

“We focus on defense a lot in practice. That’s our main focus. We try to stop everybody from scoring.”

Neshannock ran just 16 offensive plays in the first half because of the defense’s knack for pilfering Hughes’ passes and returning them for scores. But it wasn’t just the interceptions that kept Bentworth’s offense out of rhythm. The Lancers limited the Bearcats to -25 rushing yards in the first half and -13 for the game.

“Shout out to the D line for sure,” Lindsey said. “They were putting pressure on the quarterback and they were stopping the run. They were forcing them to throw. Our secondary and the linebackers were making all the plays.”

Neshannock’s offense got going in the third quarter courtesy of Lindsey. He scampered in for scores on jaunts of 32 and 15 yards in the third period to put the Lancers up 42-6 and initiate the mercy rule.

Lindsey finished with 76 rushing yards on six carries and two toting touchdowns. He added two interceptions, including one returned for a score.

“When I get the ball, I just try to do all I can,” Lindsey said.

Jonah Vitale put the Lancers up 49-6 on a two-yard run in the fourth before the Bearcats tacked on a late score.

Last year, Neshannock reached the WPIAL semifinals with a 46-32 decision over Jeannette at Deer Lakes.

“Jeannette is a quality program, over 700 wins. A storied tradition,” Mozzocio said. “When myself and my staff came here, these are the things that we talked about. These are the games that we wanted to get our team to play in, to experience the excitement.

“And not only to get to those games, but to win those games. We’re looking forward to another great matchup with Jeannette. It will be a classic again.”



16 First downs 16

48 Yards Rushing 242

61 Yards Lost 10

-13 Net Rushing 232

37 Passes Attempted 10

22 Passes Completed 4

5 Passes Intercepted 0

253 Yards Passing 84

240 Total Yards 316

2-1 Fumbles-Lost 4-1

4-35 Punts-Average 3-31.7

6-39 Penalties-Yards 9-112

BENTWORTH 0 6 0 7 — 13

NESHANNOCK 21 7 14 7 — 49

Scoring plays

NESHANNOCK — Mason Davison, 30-yard interception return (Essa Barhoum kick).

NESHANNOCK — Danny Welker, 42-yard interception return (Barhoum kick).

NESHANNOCK — Ty Sear, 42-yard pass from Frank Antuono (Barhoum kick).

NESHANNOCK — Robert Lindsey, 40-yard interception return (Barhoum kick).

BENTWORTH — Riley Nickeson, 4-yard pass from Josh Hughes (kick blocked).

NESHANNOCK — Lindsey, 32-yard run (Barhoum kick).

NESHANNOCK — Lindsey, 15-yard run (Barhoum kick).

NESHANNOCK — Jonah Vitale, 2-yard run (Caitlin Trotta kick).

BENTWORTH — Ty Mitchell, 12-yard pass from Ben Peternel (Levi Jordan kick).
Neshannock 21 7 14 7 0 49
Bentworth 0 6 0 7 0 13
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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