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Game of the Week

Mixed reviews

New Castle (41) vs. Blackhawk (38)
Written: Oct 29, 2011
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By Joe Sager

New Castle News

The New Castle High football team engaged in a thriller last night.

Yet, by the third quarter, the suspense was already gone.

Normally, the Red Hurricane would have celebrated a 41-38 defeat of Blackhawk. This time, the team mourned. That’s because Hopewell’s 31-14 win over West Allegheny, which concluded well before this battle ended, put the Vikings into the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs and kept New Castle out of the postseason.

“We practiced hard all week. We got prepared for this game hoping to come out with a win,” New Castle junior running back Jalen Homes said. “It’s pretty hard because we had a pretty good team here. All we wanted to do was make it to the playoffs.”

While the standings show the ’Canes (4-3 conference, 5-4 overall) tied Hopwell (4-3, 6-3) and West Allegheny (4-3, 5-3) for third in the conference, New Castle was prevented from earning a postseason berth based on tiebreakers. A Hopewell loss was the second part of the equation the ’Canes needed to make the playoffs.

“We asked the kids to battle for the last two weeks. Our motto has been to take care of our business. We took care of our business, but, unfortunately, the other end didn’t come through for us,” New Castle coach Frank Bongivengo, Jr. said. “It’s a shame because we had a pretty good football team. We’ve played a lot better as of late. It’s a shame to see these seniors go. These seniors have been with me the last four years and they have a lot of wins under their belts.”

The game took on a playoff atmosphere at Taggart Stadium as both sides battled back and fourth in a three-hour marathon.

“We could have lost that game on three or four different occasions,” Bongivengo. “They kept battling back and we kept battling back. It was a great football game.”

Johnny Matarazzo and Holmes recorded touchdown runs in the first half to trim the Cougars’ lead to 17-14 at halftime.

Alex Caratelli hauled in a 65-yard halfback pass from Josh Desmond to start the third for a 24-14 Blackhawk (3-4, 4-5) lead.

The ’Canes responded with 20-straight points. Holmes tallied a 4-yard TD run, while Darrian Rice hauled in a 52-yard TD pass from Matarazzo and Paul Jones took a reverse 17 yards another score. That spree gave New Castle a 34-24 advantage through three quarters.

Chandler Kincade, making his first start since a shoulder separation on Sept. 23, found Caratelli for an 11-yard TD pass and Brendan Kearney added the conversion to trim the deficit to 34-32. Mike Shansky’s second TD run of the night put the guests back on top, 38-31, with 10:41 to play, but the PAT kick failed.

Matarazzo’s pass deflected off a defender and into Rice’s hands for a 19-yard TD pass with 7:41 remaining. It was Matarazzo’s 51st career TD pass, a program record.

The Cougars drove deep in New Castle territory late in the game, but a defender stripped the ball from Caratelli near the 20 and Holmes pounced on it with 2:31 to play. The ’Canes ran out the clock to seal the win.

“I don’t know who stripped him from behind, but Jalen picked it up and did a great job,” Bongivengo said.

Holmes played well on offense, too. He racked up 214 yards on 25 carries against a Blackhawk defense that shut down elite runners Rushel Shell (Hopewell) and Julian Durden (Montour).

“Blackhawk, no one has been able to run on them. They held Shell to 100 yards and limited Durden to 17 yards and those are two great backs,” Bongivengo said. “We came out and did the job up front. We moved them around and we made some big runs. We ran the ball a lot. That offensive line and Jalen, they did a great job.”

Holmes credits the offensive line for giving him room to maneuver.

“I just had a talk with my line to come out and play hard because we needed this win,” he said. “They came out 100 percent every play and did what they needed to do to open up the holes for me to run through.”

It was the second-straight year these two teams engaged in a fierce battle. Last season, the ’Canes pulled out a 30-27 win with a desparation TD pass with no time left on the clock.

“They all seem to be that way,” Bongivengo said. “They all come down to the end of the game and that’s what happened in this one. Fortunately, we were able to come out on top.”



13 First downs 25

97 Yards Rushing 362

16 Yards Lost 11

81 Net Rushing 351

16 Passes Attempted 20

9 Passes Completed 10

0 Passes Intercepted 3

196 Yards Passing 151

277 Total Yards 501

3-2 Fumbles-Lost 1-1

32.6 Punts-Average 0-0

11-70 Penalties-Yards 12-91

BLACHAWK 10 7 7 14 — 38

NEW CASTLE 7 7 20 7 — 41

Scoring plays

BLACKHAWK — Michael Gardner, 24-yard field goal.

NEW CASTLE — Johnny Matarazzo, 7-yard run (Khalil Huddleston kick).

BLACKHAWK — Mike Shansky, 1-yard run (Gardner kick).

NEW CASTLE — Jalen Holmes, 18-yard run (Huddleston kick).

BLACKHAWK — Cole Chiappialle, 22-yard run (Gardner kick).

BLACKHAWK — Alex Caratelli, 65-yard pass from Josh Desmond (Gardner kick).

NEW CASTLE — Holmes, 4-yard run (Huddleston kick).

NEW CASTLE — Darrian Rice, 52-yard pass from Matarazzo (Huddleston kick).

NEW CASTLE — Paul Jones, 17-yard run (kick failed).

BLACKHAWK — Caratelli, 11-yard pass from Chandler Kincade (Brendan Kearney run).

BLACKHAWK — Shansky, 5-yard run (pass failed).

NEW CASTLE — Rice, 19-yard pass from Matarazzo (Huddleston kick).
New Castle 7 7 20 7 0 41
Blackhawk 10 7 7 14 0 38
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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