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Game of the Week

Neshannock holds off Laurel

Neshannock (17) vs. Laurel (14)
Written: Sep 20, 2008
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By RON PONIEWASZ JR.

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com

Neshannock High football coach Pat Cuba’s expression said it all.

Cuba breathed a long sigh of relief after the final seconds ticked off the clock in a physical Big Seven Conference encounter with Laurel on the Lancers’ refurbished field.

“Laurel is a good football team,” Cuba said. “Laurel is fundamentally sound and they come prepared; they were ready for us.”

Neshannock quarterback Josh Brown amassed 194 yards rushing on 28 carries in a 17-14 victory over the Spartans. Brown also threw two touchdowns for an offense that is predominantly run oriented.

“Josh has a huge heart; his heart is as big as his head,” Cuba said. “That’s the way he plays, anything less than 110 percent is unacceptable.”

The game was not sewn up for the hosts until Aaron Paolini intercepted a Tyler Forbes pass on Laurel’s 38 with just under a minute to play.

“Neshannock is very well coached,” Spartans coach Jerry Holzhauser said. “They are tough kids and they did what they had to do to win the game.”

Forbes was 10 for 18 with 188 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also had a 20-yard scramble for a score with 5:01 remaining.

Despite having a solid ground game, Neshannock (2-0 Big Seven, 3-1 overall) couldn’t run out the clock. Laurel’s defense came through on a third-and-12 play on the Lancers’ 47 when Brown hit Chris Kirkwood on a screen pass for two yards.

“It would have been very hard to come back if we were down,” Brown said. “We’re mostly a running team but we can pass.

“I’m glad we got up and stayed up.”

Not only did the Spartans (1-1, 1-3) hold, but they forced Kirkwood out of bounds to preserve the clock with 1:46 left. However, Laurel burned a timeout to get the proper personnel on the field to rush the punter.

Chase Falba delivered a 38-yard punt that rolled dead at Laurel’s 13 and two plays later, Paolini’s interception finally wrapped up the win for the Lancers.

Brown set up Neshannock’s only score of the second half when he rumbled 72 yards down to Laurel’s 3. Kirkwood had a three-yard touchdown called back when the Lancers were whistled for helping the runner into the end zone. It didn’t matter, though, as Brown found Tony Kirkwood alone in the end zone for a six-yard scoring pass and a 17-7 buffer.

“Brown is a good runner and he threw the ball when he needed to,” Holzhauser said. “He’s a good football player.”

The margin could have been wider had it not been for a bad usage of the clock late in the first half.

With the clock running inside of 10 seconds and the Lancers out of timeouts, Brown tried a quarterback sneak. The officials met briefly and ruled that Brown did not break the plane of the goal line and Neshannock held a 10-7 halftime advantage.

“I thought I was in, but the referees said something about the forward progress being stopped. But I fell into the end zone,” Brown said. “By the time we got to the line we didn’t have enough time to get a snap and run another play, so I just decided to try a sneak.”

Said Cuba, “I thought Josh was in. I was told that the clock operator didn’t start the clock soon enough. We were trying to spike it but we didn’t have enough time and Josh just wanted to try and get the snap and push it in. That’s my fault and that’s clock management. I need to get better at that.”

The Spartans got on the board when Forbes hit Jake Dando on a slant pattern for a 97-yard touchdown. Dando was able to catch the ball in stride and outrun the defense.

“It was thrown on time and Dando made a nice run after the catch,” Holzhauser said. “You run the routes that the defense gives you. They were in cover 3 and a slant will come open in a cover 3.”

Said Cuba, “Our guy took a bad angle on the play. Dando is a great receiver. You can get on him and he’ll still catch the football. When you let a kid like that get loose, he’s gone.”

Dando, the county’s leading receiver, hauled in nine passes for 174 yards and a touchdown.

Neshannock will host South Side Beaver and Laurel will entertain Rochester in conference action Friday.

LAUREL NESHANNOCK

7 First downs 9

59 Yards Rushing 247

43 Yards Lost 22

16 Net Rushing 225

18 Passes Attempted 8

10 Passes Completed 3

2 Passes Intercepted 0

188 Yards Passing 22

204 Total Yards 247

4-2 Fumbles-Lost 4-0

3-29.6 Punts-Average 4-35.2

6-37 Penalties-Yards 9-65

LAUREL 0 7 0 7 — 14

NESHANNOCK 3 7 7 0 — 17

Scoring plays

NESHANNOCK — Evan Richards, 32-yard field goal.

NESHANNOCK — Asa Davies, 14-yard pass from Josh Brown (Richards kick).

LAUREL — Jake Dando, 97-yard pass from Tyler Forbes (Jonathan Johnson kick).

NESHANNOCK — Tony Kirkwood, 6-yard pass from Brown (Richards kick).

LAUREL — Forbes, 20-yard run (Johnson kick).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Neshannock 3 7 7 0 0 17
Laurel 0 7 0 7 0 14
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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