New Castle cruises past Mohawk
New Castle (42) vs. Mohawk (0)
Written: Oct 30, 2009
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
Penalties will drive any football coach nuts.
They’re starting to have that effect on the New Castle High staff.
The Red Hurricane committed 11 penalties for 90 yards, but still cruised to a 42-0 nonconference win over Mohawk last night.
New Castle (7-2) has racked up 26 penalties in the last three games.
“Penalties are a killer,” New Castle coach Frank Bongivengo Jr. said. “They’ve been haunting us for the last three weeks. “I told the kids those penalties are going to cost us down the road.
“We’ve made dumb penalties and put ourselves in tough situations and that continued again tonight.”
The ’Canes will enter the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs as the third-place representative out of the Parkway Conference. The pairings will be announced Monday.
New Castle was playing a county team on the road for the first time since 2004 when it knocked off Ellwood City Lincoln in a crossover contest, 33-32.
The game also was New Castle’s first on grass this season.
The Warriors (3-6) lost their last three games by a combined 140-14. Mohawk hasn’t made the WPIAL playoffs since 2005.
“Our kids need to get in the weightroom,” Warriors coach Jason Long said. “We have a brand new (weight) facility and there’s no reason for them not to hit the weightroom.
“We have to get a little bit closer as a football team, too.”
The ’Canes took control early, scoring 21 first-quarter points. Jordan Izzo hauled in a 25-yard scoring aerial from Johnny Matarazzo, while Keith Keene (9 yards) and Darrian Rice (46 yards) added scoring jaunts. Rice took a handoff, darted down the left sideline before crossing the field and racing for the right corner of the end zone.
“They have tough players,” Long said of New Castle’s lineup. “They’re pretty stout and tough up front. Their staff does a real nice job and they put them in the position to be successful.”
Mohawk’s defense came to life in the second quarter to keep it 21-0 at the break. A holding penalty against the ’Canes stalled one drive and eventually led to Spenser Rapone coming up just short on a 28-yard field goal attempt. Josh Morrow intercepted Matarazzo at the Warriors’ 2 with 1:13 left in the half and Justin Fleo was tackled at the Warriors’ 2 on the final play of the half.
“I thought our kids played their butts off in the first half,” Long said. “To come up with a couple of stands in the red zone against a team like New Castle, that was big.”
The Warriors attempted to get back in the game early in the third quarter. Johnny Beatty connected with Tim Audia on a 35-yard pass and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the ’Canes added 15 more yards on to the play down to the visitors’ 15. However, Marcus Carter picked off Beatty at the 10 to thwart the drive.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Long said. “We just couldn’t punch it in. If we do score, maybe it stays a little bit interesting.”
Fleo put the game out of reach six plays later. Lined up at quarterback in the wildcat formation, Fleo took the direct snap and raced 69 yards for a touchdown and a 28-0 buffer with 7:22 to play in the third period.
“Ever since we started running the wildcat, I’ve felt comfortable running it,” Fleo said. “We have two or three threats in the backfield.
“On zone, I read the end. If he comes down I keep it. If he stays back I give it off to Keith (Keene). I knew the defender was coming down and I kept it; our line was blocking really well and I hit the hole hard.”
Keene tallied his second touchdown late in the third quarter to initiate the mercy rule. Jalen Holmes capped the scoring in the fourth on a 47-yard scamper.
New Castle rolled up 533 total yards compared to just 50 for Mohawk. The Warriors were held to minus 1 yard on the ground, while the ’Canes amassed 180 on the ground.
“I thought our defense did what they had to do,” Bongivengo said. “We shut them down and the unit kept getting the ball back for us.
“The more times they give us the ball back, the better off we’re gong to be.”
Fleo recorded a game-best 138 yards rushing on nine carries and Keene added 81 yards on 14 attempts.
“Both of those guys are explosive,” Bongivengo said. “Both have great speed and can go the distance any time they get the ball.”
NEW CASTLE MOHAWK
23 First downs 4
398 Yards Rushing 27
18 Yards Lost 28
380 Net Rushing -1
19 Passes Attempted 17
11 Passes Completed 5
1 Passes Intercepted 4
153 Yards Passing 51
533 Total Yards 50
3-1 Fumbles-Lost 2-0
1-33 Punts-Average 6-26
11-90 Penalties-Yards 4-23
NEW CASTLE 21 0 14 7 — 42
MOHAWK 0 0 0 0 — 0
NEW CASTLE — Jordan Izzo, 25-yard pass from Johnny Matarazzo (Spenser Rapone kick).
NEW CASTLE — Keith Keene, 9-yard run (Rapone kick).
NEW CASTLE — Darrian Rice, 46-yard run (Rapone kick).
NEW CASTLE — Justin Fleo, 69-yard run (Rapone kick).
NEW CASTLE — Keene, 7-yard run (Rapone kick).
NEW CASTLE — Jalen Holmes, 47-yard run (Rapone kick).