West Allegheny rallies in fourth to defeat 'Canes
New Castle (31) vs. West Allegheny (37)
Written: Oct 12, 2013
By Corey J. Corbin
New Castle News
New Castle had its chances to post a big Parkway Conference victory last night.
Problem is, so did West Allegheny.
The Indians did a better job of capitalizing on those chances, spoiling the Red Hurricane’s Homecoming festivities with a 37-31 victory at Taggart Stadium.
“When the rubber met the road, we had opportunities to put this game away,” New Castle coach Joe Cowart said. “We had opportunities to take two- or three-score leads and we didn’t capitalize on those opportunities.”
After rushing for just 50 yards in the first half, West Allegheny (6-0 conference, 7-0 overall) found bigger running lanes out of its wildcat package in the second half and ended the evening with a 64-40 advantage in offensive plays.
“They had more possessions than we did and it didn’t work out for us,” Cowart said. “It was across the board. We needed to get them off the field on third down and we needed to sustain drives offensively. We struggled in that department all night.
“Those guys practice and work their tails off, too, and they figured us a little bit at halftime. We need to get better and make adjustments. It’s a battle of attrition when you play that team, and we’re a tad thin. They wore us down in the second half, so we have to get in better shape and get our iron men to be iron men when the moment arises.”
With the six-point loss, the ’Canes (4-2, 5-2) will be playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda game after losing a pair of fumbles, watching the Indians recover an onside kick and having an interception returned deep into New Castle territory.
“We had some self-inflicted wounds,” Cowart said. “I thought two good football teams gave it all they possibly had. It stinks that to be on the wrong side of that, but they did what they had to win. That’s what coach (Bob) Palko does over there. They win these types of games. We want to be that. We want to be the big dogs in this league. We have to get seven points better.”
After a D.J. Opsatnik 30-yard field goal put the Indians up 3-0 just over two minutes into the game, New Castle quarterback Julian Cox broke free along the West Allegheny sideline and broke at least three tackles before diving into the end zone for a 63-yard touchdown. Cox put the ’Canes up 13-3 with a 36-yard touchdown run that covered almost as much acreage East to West as it did North to South.
Cox rushed for 125 yards and three scores on 12 rushes, while completing 8-of-16 passes for 169 yards and another touchdown.
“He’s been absolutely dynamic for us all year,” Cowart said. “That was just a glimpse at some of the things that he can do. They sat on him and made better plays on him as the game progressed. I thought he played a good football game.”
West Allegheny scored four of the next five touchdowns with Levar Ware’s 31-yard interception return breaking up the Indians’ scoring spree.
“It was a nice team win,” West Allegheny coach Bob Palko said. “From the standpoint of the fans, it seemed like a good game to be at. They saw one hell of a football game. I always enjoy these kids. They compete. I love these kids. There’s a mutual respect among the teams and the coaches. It says something to come back against a team like New Castle, who has athletes all over the field. To win a game against a team like that at this point in the season is special. It was a nice win.”
New Castle trailed twice by double digits in the second half — 30-19 after Chase Dillon’s one-yard touchdown run and 37-25 after Tory Delmonico’s 46-yard burst — but each time answered with a score of its own.
Delmonico finished with 135 yards rushing and completed his only pass attempt for 28 yards, while Dillon added another 73 yards rushing on 15 totes.
The ’Canes answered Dillon’s score with a 16-yard scoring strike from Cox to Drew Allen and pulled to within 37-31 with under a minute to play on Cox’s quarterback keeper up the gut from one-yard out.
“We need to be better to beat teams like that,” Cowart said. “There’s absolutely no quit in that locker room and that’s what I’m the most proud of. Our boys didn’t hang their heads when things went wrong. We continued to fight and we found ourselves a little bit tonight.”
The ’Canes put up 31 points and 319 yards of total offense against a Indians defense that entered the game allowing a paltry 7.5 points per game.
“That unit was giving up seven and a half points a game coming into tonight and we put up 31 on them,” Cowart said. “They gave up 51 yards to Central Valley — in the game. We scored 31 and that needs to be good enough.”
WEST ALLEGHENY NEW CASTLE
14 First downs 5
218 Yards Rushing 161
6 Yards Lost 11
212 Net Rushing 150
18 Passes Attempted 16
11 Passes Completed 8
2 Passes Intercepted 1
169 Yards Passing 169
381 Total Yards 319
2-0 Fumbles-Lost 4-2
2-24.5 Punts-Average 2-34
2-25 Penalties-Yards 7-50
WEST ALLEGHENY 3 7 7 20 — 37
NEW CASTLE 6 13 0 12 — 31
WEST ALLEGHENY — D.J. Opsatnik, 30-yard field goal.
NEW CASTLE — Julian Cox, 63-yard run (kick failed).
NEW CASTLE — Cox, 36-yard run (Khalil Huddleston kick).
WEST ALLEGHENY — Robert Threet, 10-yard pass from Andrew Koester (Opsatnik kick).
NEW CASTLE — Levar Ware, 31-yard interception return (kick failed).
WEST ALLEGHENY — Tory Delmonico, 1-yard run (Opsatnik kick).
WEST ALLEGHENY — Koester, 1-yard run (pass failed).
WEST ALLEGHENY — Chase Dillon, 1-yard run (Opsatnik kick).
NEW CASTLE — Drew Allen, 16-yard touchdown pass from Cox (run failed).
WEST ALLEGHENY — Delmonico, 1-yard run (Opsatnik kick).
NEW CASTLE — Cox, 1-yard touchdown run (kick failed).