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Game of the Week

'Canes stumble; playoff berth on line in finale

New Castle (27) vs. Ringgold (41)
Written: Oct 21, 2016
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By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

Turnovers proved costly Friday night for the New Castle High football team.

A pair of fumbles in the last 7:03 proved to be the difference as Ringgold came away with a 41-27 non-conference win over the Red Hurricane at Taggart Stadium.

The Rams' Tyrese Youngblood scooped up a Matt Senchak fumble and raced 35 to the end zone to break a 27-all deadlock with 7:03 to play.

Ringgold forced another Senchak fumble on New Castle's next drive and put the game away on a Brenden Small 6-yard scoring run with 2:37 to go in the game.

Senchak was subbing for Lorenzo Gardner, who missed the game with an ankle injury. Senchak finished with a team-best 68 rushing yards on 12 carries.

"Turnovers will come at the least opportune time," 'Canes coach Joe Cowart said. "Matt Senchak is as good as it gets as a football player. He was in a role that he was unfamiliar with. All he was doing was his best to make a football play.

"I don't blame Matt at all. That kid is a heck of a football player wit a bright future. It was unfortunate that the ball didn't bounce our way tonight."

Youngblood's score came just two plays after New Castle took over after forcing a turnover. Ringgold faced second-and-goal from the 'Canes 2, but quarterback George Martin was picked off by Marcus Hooker and he returned it to the New Castle 33.

"I thought they were going to run me out of here on a rail after that," Rams coach Nick Milchovich said with a laugh. "We have good kids here and good athletes; we're not afraid to throw the ball. You can argue that call, but I'm not afraid to throw the ball.

"Our backs were against the wall and Tyrese just made a play for us."

The playoff suspense will linger another week for New Castle (5-4). Montour (4-3 Northwest Nine Conference) defeated Blackhawk, 38-14, to remain alive in the hunt for the postseason. A Cougars win would have clinched a playoff berth for the 'Canes (5-2 conference).

New Castle can secure a playoff berth with a win at Blackhawk (4-3, 5-3) on Friday or a South Fayette (7-0, 9-0) victory over Montour.

"It's good to play important football games at this time of the year," Cowart said. "Our kids are used to that. Our kids have a resolve about them.

"We'll need to play our best football game. Blackhawk is an excellent football team. We'll have to play a lot better than we did tonight in order to win."

There are just two conferences in the WPIAL 4A ranks, with four teams reaching the playoffs from both leagues.

The potential of the game being a playoff preview didn't alter how either coach handled the matchup.

"We coached and prepared to win a football game," Cowart said. "We didn't coach and play well enough to win a football game. It's a sickening, sickening feeling."

Said Milchovich, "They're too good of a team to hold anything back. We went into this game with guns blazing. We were trying to win a football game. We have a lot of respect for New Castle. New Castle is a very athletic football team."

The 'Canes missed out on a golden opportunity for points in the middle of the third quarter. Ringgold, leading 21-14, was setting up to punt back at its 41. But the ball was snapped over Martin's head and he picked it up near the Rams 20.

New Castle was swarming in, looking to drop Martin for a huge loss and take over deep in the opponents territory. But Martin scrambled around and hooked up with Brian Vandusen for a 23-yard gain and a first down.

"That was a fantastic play by Martin," Cowart said. "It was just one of those wild, wacky plays that happen. He stuck with it and his guys got open downfield and he made a really nice play."

Martin, who isn't the team's regular punter, was on to boot the ball away. Milchovich noted the play wasn't designed as a fake.

Geno Stone opened the scoring for the 'Canes when he returned a punt 63 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. That score had Milchovich wanting to avoid Stone touching the ball, which is why he put Martin back to punt.

"We just do a rugby kick where we'll snap it, run pass routes and make you sit (there) and then we'll punt it away," he said. "We certainly didn't want to punt it to Geno Stone. That was our goal to keep it away from their guys, they're dangerous."

New Castle executed just eight plays from scrimmage in the second quarter. Ringgold was leaning on its ground game, led by Small. Small finished with 25 carries for 165 yards and four touchdowns.

Small had nine rushing attempts in the second period for 96 yards as the visitors played keepaway.

"Part of that is our efficiency on the offensive side of the ball," Cowart said. "We've been hit or miss throughout the year. We have to do our job offensively and keep our defense off the field."



17 First downs 10

203 Yards Rushing 122

42 Yards Lost 3

161 Net Rushing 119

21 Passes Attempted 15

12 Passes Completed 7

0 Passes Intercepted 1

252 Yards Passing 83

413 Total Yards 202

1-0 Fumbles-Lost 2-2

3-35.6 Punts-Average 3-36

11-110 Penalties-Yards 7-60

RINGGOLD 0 14 13 14 — 41

NEW CASTLE 7 0 14 6 — 27

Scoring plays

NEW CASTLE — Geno Stone, 63-yard punt return (Brayden Cartwright kick).

RINGGOLD — Brenden Small, 27-yard run (Matt Cannon kick).

RINGGOLD — Small, 36-yard run (Cannon kick).

RINGGOLD — Max Maciejewski, 61-yard pass from George Martin (Cannon kick).

NEW CASTLE — Marcus Hooker, 9-yard run (Cartwright kick).

RINGGOLD — Small, 5-yard run (kick failed).

NEW CASTLE — Hooker, 6-yard run (Cartwright kick).

NEW CASTLE — Stone, 17-yard run (kick blocked).

RINGGOLD — Tyrese Youngblood, 35-yard fumble return (Cannon kick).

RINGGOLD — Small, 6-yard run (Cannon kick).
New Castle 7 0 14 6 0 27
Ringgold 0 14 13 14 0 41
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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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