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Game of the Week

‘We tip our hats to them’

Neshannock (21) vs. Rochester (28)
Written: Oct 08, 2012
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By Joe Sager

New Castle News

ROCHESTER — Neshannock got a good taste of Rochester football last night.

It certainly was bitter for the Lancers, as the Rams posted a 28-21 home victory in a key WPIAL Class A Big Seven Conference battle.

Rochester (5-0 conference, 6-0 overall) erased a 14-13 halftime deficit with a strong second-half performance to take the victory.

Historically, the Rams, perennial powers, have been known for a formidable offensive line and a powerful running game. They used both to topple the Lancers (5-1, 5-1).

“We played Rochester football. That’s all,” said Rochester coach Gene Matsook of his team’s performance in the second half. “People doubted us and they were talking about Neshannock and how good they are, and they are good and a well-coached team, but, you know what, my kids’ play in the second half — we just knocked them off the football. We just played Rochester football like we know how to play. I am proud of my kids.”

The Rams’ imposing offensive line helped pave the way for Dante Marsick, a punishing running back. The senior racked up 207 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries.

“He’s doing a great job for us. Dante has been carrying us. It’s a tribute to our offensive line and Dante will be the first one to tell you that our offensive line doesn’t get the recognition it should. I thought our defense did a heck of a job tonight as well,” said Matsook, a 1981 Shenango graduate who has collected four WPIAL titles, two state crowns and a pair of PIAA runner-up finishes at Rochester. “I thought we wore them down a bit. You could see they were getting a little tired and fatigued; they were getting beat on a little bit and we came off the ball a bit. We made some adjustments at halftime. We had a couple turnovers when we could have put the game away. They are a dangerous team. You have to play the whole game with them. They have nothing to be down about. I thought their kids played hard all game.”

Neshannock was looking to go 6-0 for the first time since 1962.

“It was a close game, but that isn’t what we came down here for. We’re not in this thing for moral victories. Our kids know that. But, at the same time, we lost a football game and it’s not the end of the world. Like I told them, they are 15-, 16- and 17-year-old kids and there are a lot of other things that could be going on right now than them losing a football game,” Neshannock coach Fred Mozzocio said. “We’ll turn the page next week, just like we have been doing all year. That’s a pretty good football team over there and they got the best of us. We have no excuses. We tip our hats to them.”

The Lancers struck first 1:42 into the game. Using its spread, no-huddle offense, Ernie Burkes lofted a 25-yard touchdown pass to Alex Welker for a quick 7-0 lead.

Rochester tied it early in the second on Marsick’s first TD run of the game.

Neshannock retaliated when Burkes fired a strike to Conglose on a post pattern and he outraced the Rams’ defense for a 60-yard TD.

However, the hosts grabbed some momentum heading into halftime as Marsick escaped around the right end and rumbled 69 yards for a score with 1:10 left on the clock. Burkes blocked the extra point to keep the Lancers ahead, 14-13.

“The one right before halftime really hurt. That was a killer,” Mozzocio said. “If we could have gone into halftime 14-7, it could have been different. He is a great back and they have a great football team and we came up short.”

Rochester’s punishing running game kept the ball out of Neshannock’s hands for most of the second half. The Rams went ahead, 21-14, in the third on Ben Richko’s 2-yard quarterback keeper. He ran in the 2-point conversion.

The hosts appeared poised to seal the game late in the fourth, but Marsick was stripped of the ball at the Neshannock 2 and the Lancers recovered. Three plays into the potential game-tying drive, Richko picked off Burkes, who lofted the ball deep before being smothered by a strong rush, and returned it to the Lancers’ 8.

Again, Neshannock’s defense held and forced Rochester to turn the ball over on the Lancers’ 13 with 4:07 to play. Once again, another Neshannock drive ended in a turnover as Burkes was stripped of the ball and the Rams recovered at the Lancers’ 33. Six plays later, Marsick punched in for a 1-yard TD run.

Neshannock’s furious comeback produced a 1-yard Eli Owens TD run with 17.9 seconds to play. However, the ensuing onside kick bounced out of bounds before the Lancers could smother it.

“We had some opportunities where we had some plays dialed up and we didn’t catch the ball or make a good pass at a certain time,” Mozzocio said. “But, that’s part of football. We can’t wait to come play next Friday. We’re ready to go.”

(Email: ncsports@ncnewsonline.com)

NESHANNOCK ROCHESTER

14 First downs 22

114 Yards Rushing 282

6 Yards Lost 17

108 Net Rushing 265

28 Passes Attempted 15

13 Passes Completed 6

1 Passes Intercepted 1

180 Yards Passing 98

288 Total Yards 363

1-1 Fumbles-Lost 3-2

3-28.3 Punts-Average 1-28.0

4-42 Penalties-Yards 8-57

NESHANNOCK 7 7 0 7 — 21

ROCHESTER 0 13 8 7 — 28

Scoring plays

NESHANNOCK — Alex Welker, 25-yard pass from Ernie Burkes (Connor Richards kick).

ROCHESTER — Dante Marsick, 3-yard run (Ben Richko kick).

NESHANNOCK —John Conglose, 60-yard pass from Burkes (Richards kick).

ROCHESTER — Marsick, 69-yard run (kick blocked).

ROCHESTER — Richko, 2-yard run (Richko run).

ROCHESTER — Marsick, 1-yard run (Jay Ratti kick).

NESHANNOCK —Eli Owens, 1-yard run (Richards kick).

GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Neshannock 7 7 0 7 0 21
Rochester 0 13 8 7 0 28
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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