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Game of the Week

New Castle passes test against Indiana

New Castle (35) vs. Indiana (16)
Written: Sep 12, 2009
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By RON PONIEWASZ JR.

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com

Darrian Rice’s season debut was a memorable one — even though it came a week late.

Rice sat out New Castle High’s season opener against Butler. The benching came after doctors told him he sustained a brain stem injury in the team’s final scrimmage.

A second opinion overturned the grim prognosis and unleashed Rice’s enthusiasm and talent.

Rice hauled in four passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns as the Red Hurricane rolled past Indiana 35-16 in a nonconference matchup at Taggart Stadium.

“I was praying to God that He was going to let me be able to play again; it was definitely a relief,” Rice said. “I couldn’t have come up with a better way for it to happen.”

Rice, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound sophomore, reached the end zone on receptions of 14 and 65 yards in the second quarter and 48 yards in the third period.

“Darrian (was) really down in the dumps after he had the first checkup when he was told he wouldn’t be able to play,” New Castle coach Frank Bongivengo Jr. said. “I think he obviously makes a difference.

“He’s a very good player. We’re happy to have him back.”

’Canes sophomore quarterback Johnny Matarazzo shares that sentiment.

“He’s pretty fast,” Matarazzo said. “It’s great having that speed to throw to.”

Matarazzo was 15 of 20 for 368 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He fell short of Michael Bongivengo’s single-game passing record set last year against Montour in a 48-12 victory. The coach’s son, who is now competing at Seton Hill, threw for 379 yards and five scores.

Matarazzo is a son of John Matarazzo, who was a standout tight end at New Castle in the 1980s before going on to the University of Pittsburgh.

“I thought Johnny played a great game,” Bongivengo said. “He got the ball in the right people’s hands.

“We always tell him, those little, short passes can be big plays. He hit some short passes that went for big plays.”

Said Johnny Matarazzo of his early success, “It’s pretty crazy right now. I just went out there and it came together. I always knew I could do it. It was just going to be a matter of time.”

New Castle (2-0) did the bulk of its damage in the first half. The ’Canes rolled up 385 yards of total offense in the first 24 minutes in building a 28-0 halftime bulge. New Castle did all that while losing the time of possession battle, 14:25 to 9:35.

“It’s frustrating,” Little Indians coach Mark Zilinskas said. “I thought we played pretty well up front defensively in the first half.

“Matarazzo just kept putting the ball where it needed to be. Whether you put together a time-consuming drive or a quick one, if it results in points it doesn’t matter. Points are points.”

Justin Fleo capped the first-half scoring on a 40-yard touchdown run with 4:53 left. Fleo was able to weave through the Indiana defense and was aided by a thunderous block by Jajuan Jay.

Fleo made a critical cutback, and Jay was able to lay out a blocker in the open field to spring Fleo for the score.

“That was a great block,” Bongivengo said. “Our receivers have blocked tremendously well down the field so far.

“Jajuan laid the kid out. It was a nice, clean block. He banged him pretty good.”

Said Matarazzo of the block, “I was running right beside him, and it was just crazy. That was a great block.”

The ’Canes’ defense played sharp in the first half, holding the Little Indians (0-2) to 95 total yards.

“I thought the defense played a stellar game,” Bongivengo said. “The final score is not indicative of how our defense played.

“That’s a tough offense to stop, and I thought they did a great job of bottling them up.”

New Castle honored former offensive and defensive line standout Anthony D’Ambrosia with a No. 54 decal on the helmet. D’Ambrosia, a 2008 New Castle High graduate, is battling leukemia.

“We always talk about family. When you’re a Red Hurricane, no matter how long ago, you’re part of the family,” Bongivengo said. “Everybody feels bad, and we keep in him in our prayers every day.”

The ’Canes open Parkway Conference action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Taggart Stadium against Blackhawk. New Castle hasn’t beaten the Cougars since a 25-0 verdict in 1987.

INDIANA NEW CASTLE

17 First downs 13

242 Yards Rushing 116

14 Yards Lost 29

228 Net Rushing 87

8 Passes Attempted 20

3 Passes Completed 15

1 Passes Intercepted 1

62 Yards Passing 368

290 Total Yards 470

0-0 Fumbles-Lost 1-1

7-32.1 Punts-Average 3-39.3

1-5 Penalties-Yards 5-39

INDIANA 0 0 2 14 — 16

NEW CASTLE 7 21 7 0 — 35

Scoring plays

NEW CASTLE — Justin Fleo, 66-yard pass from Johnny Matarazzo (Spenser Rapone kick)

NEW CASTLE — Darrian Rice, 14-yard pass from Matarazzo (Rapone kick)

NEW CASTLE — Rice, 65-yard pass from Matarazzo (Rapone kick)

NEW CASTLE — Fleo, 40-yard run (Rapone kick)

INDIANA — Safety, the ball was snapped over the punter’s head and through the end zone

NEW CASTLE — Rice, 48-yard pass from Matarazzo (Rapone kick)

INDIANA — Kyle Edgar, 10-yard run (pass failed)

INDIANA — Alex Pettina, 20-yard pass from Tyler Shrader (Kyle Decker run)
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
New Castle 7 21 7 0 0 35
Indiana 0 0 2 14 0 16
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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