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Game of the Week

New Castle suffers disappointing loss in opener

New Castle (14) vs. Butler (24)
Written: Sep 03, 2011
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By JOE SIMON

j_simon@ncnewsonline.com

BUTLER — This wasn’t the start a team with WPIAL championship aspirations expected.

Not against a team that hadn’t won a game in more than two years, was on a 23-game losing streak and was going through its third coaching change in three years.

Yet, Butler High wasn’t fazed by an early deficit and continued to battle back with a strong running game and a stout defense. The Golden Tornado eventually knocked off New Castle, 24-14, in the nonconference opener at Art Bernard Stadium last night.

“I’m just trying to let what happened here sink in,” said an emotional Butler coach Clyde Conti as his team celebrated a win for the first time in 2 1/2 years. “You just have to believe in people and trust. I feel pretty good. I like the kids we have, and we’ll just keep plugging away.”

Class AAA New Castle entered the game as the favorite in the eyes of most. The Red Hurricane had numerous starters returning on both sides of the ball and shut out Quad-A Butler, 25-0, last year. But they were unable to slow the power running game of the Tornado, who churned out 153 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Butler’s defense persevered through a tough start and made the ’Canes’ offense one-dimensional. After giving up 76 yards rushing on the first two drives, the Tornado allowed just 54 the rest of the game.

The loss was tough to endure for New Castle coach Frank Bongivengo Jr., who blamed the defeat on himself.

“It’s on me to get them ready to make the plays, and obviously I didn’t do a good job,” he said. “It’s a real difficult loss. You never want to open up the season with a loss, and you never want to open up the season with an opponent that hasn’t won in awhile beating you. It gives them momentum, and it takes it away from us. But like I said, this is on me.”

The Tornado was in an early hole as New Castle drove straight down the field to start the game. Wide receiver Marcus Carter capped a 77-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Johnny Matarazzo. The ’Canes, who were without injured starting running back Jalen Holmes (ankle), then forced a three and out and again drove down the field. This time it was Darrian Rice snagging one of Matarazzo’s passes, an 8-yard strike in the left corner of the end zone.

Butler calmed the storm on its next drive. The Tornado’s Zach Rader capped a 75-yard drive with a 10-yard TD run. The drive was kept alive when New Castle went offsides on fourth and 3. Butler scored on the next play to cut the lead to 14-7.

“They hurt us with a couple of plays,” Bongivengo said. “They got a little momentum, they scored and we got the ball back and put it on the ground. Then boom, we’re back on defense.”

The turnover occurred when sophomore tight end Stew Allen fumbled after a 12-yard pass from Matarazzo. Butler’s Ben McKnight recovered the loose ball, and Trevor Wideman scampered in from six yards out eight plays later to tie the game at 14.

The ’Canes drove to the 29-yard line and nearly scored at the end of the first half when Carter hauled in a pass in the corner of the end zone, but an official ruled him out of bounds. That was the closest New Castle would come to scoring the rest of the night.

“We changed our alignment defensively,” said Conti of an adjustment he made to slow New Castle’s running game. “We got some major breaks in the game, I know that. We could play this team and get blasted. I told my friends we’re going to win close or we’re going to lose by 50.”

The Tornado held New Castle to 76 total yards in the second half. They took the lead on a 37-yard field goal by Colin Williamson, and used long, time-consuming drives to keep the ’Canes off the field.

New Castle showed some life midway through the fourth quarter a 15-play drive, but it stalled at the Butler 42 after a penalty and three straight incompletions, including one on fourth and 9. Butler put the game out of reach two plays later when full back Bob Vernick rumbled in from 43 yards out, putting the Tornado up, 24-14.

“They just kept coming after us, and they came after us hard, and eventually they got the better of us,” Bongivengo said.

NEW CASTLE BUTLER

16 First downs 12

129 Yards Rushing 159

9 Yards Lost 6

120 Net Rushing 153

29 Passes Attempted 10

18 Passes Completed 4

0 Passes Intercepted 0

162 Yards Passing 45

282 Total Yards 198

1-1 Fumbles-Lost 1-0

3-20.7 Punts-Average 2-30.5

5-30 Penalties-Yards 5-45

NEW CASTLE 14 0 0 0 — 14

BUTLER 0 14 3 7 — 24

Scoring plays

NEW CASTLE — Marcus Carter, 3-yard pass from Johnny Matarazzo (Khalil Huddleston kick).

NEW CASTLE — Darrian Rice, 9-yard pass from Matarazzo (Huddleston kick).

BUTLER — Zach Rader, 10-yard run (Colin Williamson kick).

BUTLER — Trevor Wideman, 6-yard run (Marcus Cleckley run).

BUTLER — Williamson, 37-yard field goal.

BUTLER — Bob Vernick, 43-yard run (Williamson kick).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
New Castle 14 0 0 0 0 14
Butler 0 14 3 7 0 24
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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