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Game of the Week

Mohawk wins thriller behind McConahy, Barber

Ellwood City (21) vs. Mohawk (24)
Written: Oct 05, 2013
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By Corey J. Corbin

New Castle News

If Mohawk High ultimately makes the playoffs, the Warriors may want to thank Spencer McConahy for getting them there.

The junior defensive back intercepted a Dillon Horgan pass in the end zone on the first play in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal, as Mohawk edged visiting Ellwood City Lincoln 24-21 in a Midwestern Athletic Conference overtime thriller last night.

“When we went into overtime, we knew we were going to win,” McConahy said. “I just made a play on the ball. No one came out for a pass, so I just dropped back. We knew we had to get the win. We just played our hearts out and got the win.”

The Warriors appeared to know the pass was coming.

“That’s the pass play they like to run around the 10 in the games we’ve scouted,” Mohawk coach Joe Lamenza said. “So yeah, we were ready for that. Spencer made a clutch play — that’s what he does.”

Wolverines coach Don Phillips defended his play selection, believing they’d catch Mohawk off guard.

“We’ve done that before in overtime situations and had success with it,” he said. “I really felt since we were running the ball so well we could catch them with that. I thought if we could score, it would give our kids a big lift and we’d go on defense and hold them.”

After McConahy’s defensive heroics, Lamenza wasted little time sending out senior kicker Brock Barber and the field goal unit on first down for the winning 27-yard field goal.

“I thought it gave us the best chance to win the game,” Lamenza said. “Brock Barber has been solid for us. He’s been a nice addition. He hits those all the time in practice.”

The win gives the Warriors (3-2, 3-3) a leg up for the final playoff spot out of the MAC.

“This puts us one step closer to where we want to be,” Lamenza said. “We’re 3-2 in the conference right now. We’re going to get ready for Beaver.”

The Wolverines (2-3, 3-3), on the other hand, now need a little help to get into the playoffs.

“This gives them an edge on us, but it’s not over,” Phillips said. “They have a tough road to hoe, but so do we. We want to battle for as long as we can until it’s official. Right now, it’s not official. The kids are down and they’re frustrated. I’m going to give them some space to let them relax and mull this through. We’ll talk with them and we’ll get through this.”

The game featured controversy right from the start when Mohawk quarterback Gio Menichino appeared to put the Warriors up 7-0 with a 40-yard touchdown run after a fake sent McFarland into the interior of the line and Menichino around left tackle, but an inadvertent whistle stopped the play for a six-yard run.

“It was an inadvertent whistle,” Lamenza said. “The triple option is one of our favorite plays and we rep it every day. Obviously, we don’t want to get a touchdown called back because of an inadvertent whistle, but I’ll take it as a compliment that the ball-handling was good enough to fool the officials.”

Phillips questioned where the officials ultimately spotted the ball.

“The kid was in the backfield when the whistle was blown,” he said. “They said he was up the field. No, he was not. When the whistle blew, he was in their backfield.”

Ellwood took a 14-0 lead midway through on a 49-yard scoring run from Jared Meyers late in the first quarter and followed it with a 33-yard scamper from Nick Ioanilli with 5:19 left in the half, but Mohawk cut the deficit in half on a Jesse Wolfe 1-yard burst 23 seconds before the half.

The Warriors knotted the score at 14 after a Shane McFarland 85-yard punt return in the third quarter set up Chance Frederick’s 1-yard touchdown. Ellwood responded moments later with an 82-yard touchdown from Paul Lutz. McFarland’s 30-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter set up overtime.

McFarland finished the game with 134 yards on 29 carries.

“It was all guys in front of me,” he said of linemen Chase Miller, Tommy Romano, Travis Giardina, Mehmet Iclek, Chad Hogue and tight end Mike Kurtz. “They do a nice job up front of blocking.”

Meyers and Lutz both crossed the century mark for the Wolverines, rushing for168 and 109 yards, respectively. Ellwood City finished with 342 yards on the ground.

“They have three good backs with Meyers being one of the top backs in the league,” McFarland said of Ellwood’s running backs, including Ioanilli. “We knew we had to watch them. Coming in, we knew it was going to be a dogfight. We counted this as a playoff game. We knew we had to finish the game and we did.”



9 First downs 12

344 Yards Rushing 180

2 Yards Lost 10

342 Net Rushing 170

8 Passes Attempted 15

2 Passes Completed 10

2 Passes Intercepted 0

27 Yards Passing 65

369 Total Yards 235

4-2 Fumbles-Lost 1-1

3-39.3 Punts-Average 4-35.5

12-87 Penalties-Yards 2-25

ELLWOOD CITY 7 7 7 0 0 — 21

MOHAWK 0 7 7 7 3 — 24

Scoring plays

ELLWOOD CITY — Jared Meyers, 49-yard run (Seth Mley kick).

ELLWOOD CITY — Nick Ioanilli, 33-yard run (Mley kick).

MOHAWK — Jesse Wolfe, 1-yard run (Brock Barber kick).

MOHAWK — Chance Frederick, 1-yard run (Barber kick).

ELLWOOD CITY — Paul Lutz, 82-yard run (Mley kick).

MOHAWK — Shane McFarland, 30-yard run (Barber kick).

MOHAWK — Barber, 27-yard field goal.
Ellwood City 7 7 7 0 0 21
Mohawk 0 7 7 7 3 24
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