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Game of the Week

Neshannock advances

Neshannock (24) vs. Monessen (21)
Written: Nov 10, 2012
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By Andrew Petyak

New Castle News

Fourth down was haunting the Neshannock High football team.

However, when the Lancers needed it most, they were able to exorcise their demons.

A fourth-and-10 conversion by John Conglose in the waning moments set-up a game-winning 1-yard run by Neshannock quarterback Ernie Burkes to give the team a shocking 24-21 victory over Monessen in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs last night.

With the win, the 13th-seeded Lancers (10-1) will play top-seeded Clairton (11-0) in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

“They came through,” an emotional Lancers coach Fred Mozzocio said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our football team. It’s an unbelievable effort. I have to tell a little buddy of mine, Anthony Cioffi, who I coach, who just had surgery. This one is for you buddy.”

The Lancers continued their Cinderella season the hard way, erasing an 11-point deficit in the second half for the win.

“That was a flat-out war out there, and we knew it was going to be coming in,” Mozzocio said. “People still doubt us a little bit, but they can’t anymore. We’re a team to be reckoned with.”

An anticipated slugfest only yielded 10 first-half points. Neshannock held a 3-0 lead late in the first half on the strength of a 22-yard field goal by Connor Richards. But the Greyhounds were able to convert a fourth-and-17 to prolong a drive just before the half. Bruising Monessen running back Clintell Gillaspie plowed his way in from three yards out to give the Greyhounds a 7-3 lead with a minute to go in the half.

Greyhounds quarterback Chavas Rawlins, a West Virginia University recruit, led the team on a seven minute drive in the second half that ended with another Gillaspie run from 23 yards out to give the team a 14-3 lead. Again, Neshannock was tested with a fourth-and-17 opportunity and failed to get off the field as Rawlins ran for 20 yards to extend the drive.

“They made big plays all night on fourth down,” Mozzocio said. “Gillaspie, he pounded it at us, and we just kept telling the kids to keep them in front of us.”

With fifth-seeded Monessen (9-2) seemingly in cruise control on offense and time running out in the third quarter, the Lancers’ passing game came to life.

A nifty 13-yard touch pass from Burkes to Conglose capped-off a 10-play drive that cut Neshannock’s deficit to 14-10.

“All I could think about was the Sto-Rox game we were losing big earlier in the season,” Burkes said. “When we’re down, I feel like we are a better team because we all band together.”

After a Greyhounds three-and-out, it was sophomore running back Eli Owens’ turn to grab the spotlight on the offensive side of the ball, as he raced 46 yards for a score to give the Lancers the lead once more, 17-14. Owens led the team with 100 yards rushing on 14 carries with one score. He also had an interception in the first half, his second in as many weeks.

“Eli Owens stepped up big for us,” Mozzocio said. “He’s been doing it all year, and he played a great game defensively for us tonight. He made some hard runs when we needed him to and he obviously broke the long run.”

Deep into the fourth quarter, Monessen leaned heavily on Gillaspie (18 carries, 99 yards, three touchdowns). His efforts got the Greyhounds to the Lancers’ 20, facing a fourth-and-10. Neshannock failed for the third time on the down, as Rawlins connected with Gillaspie for a 20-yard score to give the team the 21-17 edge with two minutes to play. But It didn’t discourage the Neshannock sideline.

“When there was two minutes left on the clock, I just turned around and I told them we’re going to win the game,” Mozzocio said. “They can’t stop us.”

The Lancers didn’t disappoint. A big fourth-down conversion to Conglose kept the drive alive. Burkes found his way into the end zone on the next play to cap the upset. In this case, the fourth time on fourth down was the charm.

(Email: a_petyak@ncnewsonline.com)

WPIAL CLASS A PLAYOFFS

AT CHARTIERS-HOUSTON

NESHANNOCK MONESSEN

18 First downs 18

210 Yards Rushing 235

4 Yards Lost 18

206 Net Rushing 217

20....Passes Attempted 14

11 Passes Completed 7

1 Passes Intercepted 2

139 Yards Passing 130

345 Total Yards 347

0-0 Fumbles-Lost 0-0

2-30.0. Punts-Average 2-49.5

8-60......Penalties-Yards 8-84

NESHANNOCK 3 0 7 14 — 24

MONESSEN 0 7 7 7 — 21

Scoring plays

NESHANNOCK — Connor Richards, 22-yard field goal.

MONESSEN — Clintell Gillaspie, 3-yard run (Alex Piccarelli kick).

MONESSEN — Gillaspie, 23-yard run (Piccarelli kick).

NESHANNOCK — John Conglose, 13-yard pass from Ernie Burkes (Richards kick).

NESHANNOCK — Eli Owens, 46-yard run (Richards kick).

MONESSEN — Gillaspie, 20-yard pass from Chavas Rawlings (Piccarelli kick).

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

GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Neshannock 3 0 7 14 0 24
Monessen 0 7 7 7 0 21
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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