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Game of the Week

West Allegheny ends New Castle’s season

New Castle (7) vs. West Allegheny (31)
Written: Nov 14, 2009
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West Allegheny High’s Mike Caputo is a dominant force on the gridiron.

New Castle found that out in October when he rushed for 294 yards in a 28-21 victory.

Last night, Caputo did some more damage, but the Indians proved their “other” players are pretty good, too.

Quarterback Jared Buck and wide receiver Aaron McKinney, devastated the ’Canes in the Indians’ 31-7 triumph in a WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal playoff battle at Newman Stadium.

Caputo, who entered the game as the WPIAL’s second-leading rusher with 1,777 yards on 237 carries, was “limited” to 174 yards and three TDs on 30 totes. Buck came through with one of the best performances of his career. The senior completed 10 of 17 passes for 196 yards and a TD. McKinney, a junior, was his favorite target as he hauled in eight aerials for 176 yards and a score.

“I thought we came out and made some plays. Our senior quarterback stepped up when he had to and made some plays, just like Aaron McKinney as well as our offensive line played. I am just really happy for these kids,” West Allegheny coach Bob Palko said. “We knew they were going to load up the box on us, which they did, so it was great to see the passing game come along. It was a total team effort. What a great football game and what a great football team. They’re a young team and I know Coach Bongivengo and New Castle will have an offseason to get ready to roll and I am sure they will be back.”

West Allegheny (9-2) moves on to face Thomas Jefferson, a 27-14 winner over Franklin Regional, at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals at a site to be determined. The Jaguars have won their last 48 games against WPIAL teams.

“We can’t say enough about TJ with the program and tradition they have and how well they’ve been doing,” Palko said. “We just have to heal up and see what we can do.”

Palko’s troops fared well against New Castle, which ended its season at 8-3. Caputo, taking direct snaps out of the Wildcat formation, ran all over the ’Canes in the first quarter for 94 yards on 10 carries. On his final haul of the frame, he scampered into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 26 seconds left.

The ’Canes responded late in the second quarter. New Castle marched 45 yards and knotted the game at 7 when Johnny Matarazzo hit Justin Fleo for a 24-yard TD strike. Spenser Rapone added the PAT kick with 1:34 remaining in the half.

The score seemed to give the ’Canes momentum heading into the locker room. However, the Indians shifted it back emphatically before halftime.

West Allegheny opened up its passing game and marched 78 yards down the field in 1:21. Caputo rambled in from 7 yards out to give the Indians a 14-7 edge with 8 seconds on the clock.

“That was definitely a huge turning point,” New Castle coach Frank Bongivengo Jr. said. “We had the momentum and we were hoping we could get a stop, but they made a couple plays.”

Palko claims his troops were satisfied with carrying a 7-7 tie into halftime before connecting on a couple big passing plays to sustain their drive en route to the go-ahead TD.

“We were just trying not to give the ball back over to them,” he explained. “We had a big third-down play and then we hit a couple and we were out of trouble. I thought they had the momentum and I didn’t want to give the ball back to them. So, we were kind of being a little cautious, but things worked out.”

West Allegheny scored on the first possession of the third quarter, too. The Indians took to the air and Buck hit McKinney for a 41-yard scoring strike and a 21-7 advantage.

The ’Canes fumbled on their second offensive play of the third quarter. West Allegheny turned that into a touchdown as well. The Indians needed eight plays to cover 50 yards as Caputo launched into the end zone from the 2 with 3:07 left in the frame.

While New Castle limited Caputo to 32 yards on 13 carries in the second half, the ’Canes could not contain West Allegheny’s passing game. Aaron Fleck’s 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter capped the scoring, but the game was out of reach at that point.

“I thought, for the most part, we did a great job on the run. They hit us for a couple passes over the middle and their quarterback threw some really nice balls — we thought we had some really good coverage and he made some good throws and they made some good catches. That hurt us. I give credit to West A. They played hard and well,” Bongivengo said. “For the most part, we felt like we did a real good job against (Caputo). Our defense played well enough for us to be in that game for a long time. Offensively, we sometimes stepped on our own feet. The kids played hard. They didn’t quit, especially when they had a chance to quit late in the game. They kept battling. I am proud of these guys. This group of seniors made it to the playoffs three years in a row. These guys worked hard for us and I am just so proud of this team.”

Senior Keith Keene led New Castle with 64 yards rushing on 12 carries. Matarazzo, the ’Canes’ sophomore slinger, established a program record for passing yards in a season. He finished the campaign with 2,128 yards to surpass Michael Bongivengo’s standard of 1,982 (according to the New Castle News’ stats) set last year.

New Castle graduates a bevy of talented players, but returns a solid core as well.

“I just couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” Frank Bongivengo Jr. said. “We are losing some great guys, but we have some great guys coming back. We’ll heal our wounds and, in a few weeks, we’ll get back in the weight room and get back to work and go on.”


11 First downs 18

77 Yards Rushing 234

29 Yards Lost 17

48 Net Rushing 217

24 Passes Attempted 18

15 Passes Completed 10

2 Passes Intercepted 0

152 Yards Passing 196

200 Total Yards 413

3-1 Fumbles-Lost 0-0

3-28 Punts-Average 2-43

7-55 Penalties-Yards 3-25

NEW CASTLE 0 7 0 0— 7

WEST A 7 7 14 3—31

Scoring plays

WEST ALLEGHENY — Mike Caputo, 3-yard run (Aaron Fleck kick)

NEW CASTLE — Justin Fleo, 24-yard pass from Johnny Matarazzo (Spenser Rapone kick)

WEST ALLEGHENY — Caputo, 7-yard run (Fleck kick)

WEST ALLEGHENY — Aaron McKinney, 41-yard pass from Jared Buck (Fleck kick)

WEST ALLEGHENY — Caputo, 2-yard run (Fleck kick)

WEST ALLEGHENY — Fleck, 42-yard field goal
New Castle 0 7 0 0 0 7
West Allegheny 7 7 14 3 0 31
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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