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Game of the Week

New Castle struggles in home loss to Mars

New Castle (7) vs. Mars (34)
Written: Sep 30, 2016
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By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

Time was not on the side of the New Castle High football team Friday night.

The Red Hurricane had the ball for nine possessions total, but saw most of them come to a quick end.

That proved costly as Mars pulled away in the second half for a 34-7 WPIAL Class 4A Northwest Nine Conference win over New Castle at Taggart Stadium.

The 'Canes (4-1 conference, 4-2 overall) had the ball four times in the first half, but managed just 7:40 in time of possession. Despite the Planets (4-1, 5-1) holding the ball for over 16 minutes in the opening half, the teams battled to a 7-7 tie in the first 24 minutes.

"It puts a greater emphasis on each drive because of how long they possess the ball," New Castle coach Joe Cowart said. "Every drive is so important. But you could say that about any big football game.

"The styles (of play) are the styles. You have to do what you do better than they do what they do. That certainly wasn't the case tonight. They put a great performance together on our field and put a statement to our league of how good they really are. We've got some questions to answer moving forward."

Mars pulls into a tie with New Castle for second place in the league. South Fayette is in first place at 4-0, 6-0.

"Coming to New Castle, we knew they would be ready to play," Planets coach Scott Heinauer said. "New Castle is a football town. This is a tremendous tradition here. Their tradition is second to none here."

The first 'Canes drive lasted just three plays when quarterback Geno Stone took a draw in the shotgun and raced 60 yards for a score. Brayden Cartwright booted the extra point to put the hosts up 7-0 with 8:23 to go in the opening quarter.

"Geno is our best player," Cowart said. "He's a fantastic football player. He shows that every week.

"I think he's the best player in our league. I don't even think it's an argument."

Stone amassed 138 rushing yards on just eight carries.

"Stone is a tremendous football player," Heinauer said. "Geno Stone was the guy coming into this game that we felt we needed to stop."

The Planets answered in the second quarter to tie the game at 7 with 10 minutes to go in the half.

Mars was attempting to possibly get a late score before the half. The Planets went for it on fourth-and-five at the New Castle 45. But the 'Canes dropped Isaiah Johnson for a one-yard gain and took over with 1:30 to go in the half.

"We felt at that point we needed to do something to try and get a little bit more momentum," Heinauer said. "The defense came up and they did a tremendous job."

Said Cowart, "We were OK with how the first half went. I thought we left some things on the football field. That's about the way we drew it up. We thought the game was going to look a lot like that."

New Castle had a shot to control the pace in the second half when it took the second-half kickoff. But Stone was intercepted by Hunter Cooper and Cooper raced in untouched 20 yards for a score. The conversion pushed the margin to 14-7 and Mars put its ball-control offense to work the rest of the way.

"We're running a screen there," Cowart said. "We don't even account for the defensive end. That kid made a great play on it. We're trying to invite that guy up the football field and he just dropped into coverage and made a heck of a play.

"That was certainly a change of momentum in the game. Those moments happen and when they do, you have to answer the bell."

Heinauer acknowledged the pivotal play his defensive end made.

"I'm sure Geno never saw him because he threw it right at him," Heinauer said. "That's the key to this game as far as changing the momentum.

"They were going to run a quick screen on the outside to the guy coming in. Our guy reacted to their back and he went out (into coverage)."

The 'Canes threatened just once in the second half, but Stone threw an incompletion on fourth-and-goal from the Mars 14 trailing 27-7.

"The film showed us that they are a fantastic football team," Cowart said. "We didn't answer the bell in the second half and that's the reason the scoreboard looks the way it does."

New Castle returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it travels to South Fayette. The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m., but has been pushed back to 7:30 p.m. for a live broadcast on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.

"It's a good opportunity for our program and our school to show where we've come from and where we're at right now," Cowart said. "If we put effort on the field like we did tonight the scoreboard is going to look ugly.

"South Fayette is something special. We have a tall task on our hands and we have to get better. I have full faith in our players that we can and that we will."

The Lions went 12-1 last season, falling to Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class AA championship game, 44-38.

(Email: rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com)

MARS NEW CASTLE

18 First downs 10

262 Yards Rushing 214

7 Yards Lost 18

255 Net Rushing 196

6 Passes Attempted 19

1 Passes Completed 4

1 Passes Intercepted 1

3 Yards Passing 27

258 Total Yards 223

2-0 Fumbles-Lost 0-0

1-22 Punts-Average 4-26.2

4-30 Penalties-Yards 7-75

MARS 0 7 20 7 — 34

NEW CASTLE 7 0 0 0 — 7

Scoring plays

NEW CASTLE — Geno Stone, 60-yard run (Brayden Cartwright kick).

MARS — Isaiah Johnson, 2-yard run (Caleb Brake kick).

MARS — Hunter Cooper, 20-yard interception return (Brake kick).

MARS — Garrett Reinke, 4-yard run (Brake kick).

MARS — Johnson, 10-yard run (kick blocked).

MARS — Max Chizmar, 1-yard run (Brake kick).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
New Castle 7 0 0 0 0 7
Mars 0 7 20 7 0 34
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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