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Game of the Week

Run to glory

Neshannock (34) vs. Laurel (12)
Written: Sep 07, 2013
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By Joe Sager

New Castle News


Neshannock added some thunder to its lightning last night.

The Lancers proved their power running game could be just as effective as their quick spread attack in a 34-12 WPIAL Class A Big Seven Conference win over Laurel at Bob Bleggi Stadium.

Eli Owens rushed for 247 yards and a pair of scores on 29 carries for Neshannock (2-0 conference, 2-0 overall). The Lancers racked up 508 yards on the ground against the Spartans (1-1, 1-1).

“Eli was a workhorse. He ran the ball extremely hard all night,” Neshannock coach Fred Mozzocio said. “Our offensive line gave him some good seams. Not only Eli, but that entire offensive line did a great job. I am proud of them all.”

Owens, a junior, gained a lot of yards around the ends, but had no trouble going up the middle behind his experienced offensive line as well.

“It’s not just me. It’s the linemen,” he said. “The linemen opened the holes up and I just did what I did and got as many yards as I could.”

 While Owens and the Lancers were churning out yards on the ground, Neshannock’s defense limited Laurel. The Lancers allowed 127 yards rushing, but 71 of them came on Spencer Pullium’s touchdown run off a bad snap on a punt attempt. In addition, Neshannock forced six Spartans fumbles and recovered four of them. 

“Our defense is the heart and soul of our team. We have a front seven that is back almost intact from last year. They’ve been playing great football. They swarmed to the ball and they are very cerebral; they listen to what their coaches tell them and they carry out their assignments. Other than giving up a few long passes, we were very pleased,” Mozzocio said. “Both teams played hard. When we had to, we stepped up. We’re happy to get the win and go onto the next one.”

 Laurel found some success passing the ball in the second half, but saw two crucial drives end when the team fumbled away the ball.

 “Turnovers killed us. We stopped ourselves, but, defensively, they got after us. They did a very good job stopping us. I probably waited too long to throw the ball, but I thought we could run on them. I learned a lesson, too,” said Laurel coach Pat Cuba, who served as Neshannock head coach from 2007-11. “They are very good. They’re good kids, too. They play hard and it showed. I am proud of our kids. They could have folded, but they didn’t.”

 Pullium’s 71-yard scamper after a botched snap on a punt attempt gave the Spartans a 6-0 lead after the first quarter.

 However, Owens helped get the Lancers going. His 49-yard run set up the team’s first touchdown. Ernie Burkes found Rocco Fazio for a 12-yard scoring strike. Later, Owens broke free for a 23-yard TD jaunt with 1:14 left in the second quarter to give the hosts a 14-6 edge at halftime.

 “That gave us a lot of momentum. That set us apart,” Owens said. “We knew, once we got going, they weren’t going to be able to stop us. We just needed to get going first.”

 Burkes had a 16-yard TD run and broke free for a 76-yard scoring sprint in the third quarter to give the Lancers a 28-6 advantage.

 Owens had a 1-yard TD run early in the fourth. Laurel’s Clayton Sharek hauled in a 23-yard TD pass from Josh Dando, but the Spartans did not get closer.

 “It’s a great win. Anytime you can beat one of your rivals like Laurel, a tough and hard-nosed football team, it’s gratifying,” Mozzocio said. “Our young men played hard, but, at the same time, we made a lot of mistakes, especially with the penalties (11 for 90 yards). We have to clean that up. If we don’t, we’re not going to get to where we want to be. That’s definitely a concern right now. The effort was there and they played hard all night and I am pleased.”

 Neshannock has another short week of preparation as it visits Sto-Rox on Thursday night. It will mark the team’s third game in a 13-day span,

 “It’s a little different, but we have a game plan in place and we’ll be ready for Sto-Rox,” Mozzocio said. “We’re excited to go down there. A lot of people think we got lucky here last year when we won that game, so we want to go down and prove that we can play with the big boys once again.”

 Laurel looks to rebound Friday when it takes on Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Robert Morris University.



12 First downs 26

149 Yards Rushing 513

22 Yards Lost 5

127 Net Rushing 508

17 Passes Attempted 16

10 Passes Completed 8

0 Passes Intercepted 2

199 Yards Passing 43

326 Total Yards 552

6-4 Fumbles-Lost 5-2

2-30 Punts-Average 0-0

5-37 Penalties-Yards 11-90

LAUREL 6 0 0 6 — 12

NESHANNOCK 0 14 14 6 — 34

Scoring plays

LAUREL — Spencer Pullium, 71-yard run (Kick blocked).

NESHANNOCK — Rocco Fazio, 12-yard pass from Ernie Burkes (Jason Owrey kick).

NESHANNOCK — Eli Owens, 23-yard run (Owrey kick).

NESHANNOCK — Burkes, 16-yard run (Owrey kick).

NESHANNOCK — Burkes, 76-yard run (Owrey kick).

NESHANNOCK — Owens, 1-yard run (Kick failed).

LAUREL — Clayton Sharek, 23-yard pass from Josh Dando (Run failed).

Neshannock 0 14 14 6 0 34
Laurel 6 0 0 6 0 12
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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