Carter helps ’Canes snap losing streak at Blackhawk
New Castle (30) vs. Blackhawk (27)
Written: Oct 30, 2010
By JOE SAGER
DARLINGTON — It was a disappointing season for the New Castle High football team.
However, the Red Hurricane may have set the tone for the 2011 season on the final play of 2010.
Marcus Carter hauled in Johnny Matarazzo’s 26-yard desperation touchdown pass with no time remaining on the clock last night as New Castle pulled out a 30-27 Parkway Conference thriller at Blackhawk’s Northwestern Stadium.
“It was a wild win — a good win for the seniors to go out on and for the younger kids to build upon,” New Castle coach Frank Bongivengo Jr. said. “I hope that it gives them a step in the right direction. They did the things we’ve been talking to them about all season — you have to step up and make plays when you have the opportunity to make them. Hopefully, they can use this as a little building block of understanding what we were trying to accomplish and get across to them.”
The ’Canes (3-4 conference, 5-4 overall), who hadn’t won at Blackhawk since 1986, entered the contest out of playoff contention. Meanwhile, the Cougars (3-4, 5-4) clung to slim postseason hopes. They saw those evaporate when Central Valley defeated Ambridge last night.
“I am just glad that our seniors went out with a bang; it was a beautiful way to end the season for the seniors,” Carter said. “It was heartbreaking that we didn’t make it to the playoffs this year. But, our junior class is going to come back next year and try to make it to the WPIAL championship, without a doubt.”
Blackhawk struck first as Mike Shansky found the end zone on a 34-yard run to give the hosts a 7-0 lead with 3:26 left in the first quarter.
Carter retaliated for New Castle as he returned the kickoff 90 yards to the house 20 seconds later, but Brandon Beck’s kick was blocked to preserve the Cougars’ lead at 7-6.
Shansky added another 13-yard run to give Blackhawk a 14-6 edge with 4:13 to go in the first half.
Again, the ’Canes struck back as Matarazzo raced 25 yards into the end zone. His conversion aerial fell incomplete, which made it a 14-12 game with 1:36 left in the second quarter.
New Castle got a break on Blackhawk’s next possession as Chandler Kincade fumbled the pitch on a flea flicker play and the ’Canes pounced on the pigskin at the Cougars’ 31. Four plays later, Matarazzo hit Carter in the back of the end zone for a 20-yard TD dart with 4 seconds on the clock. The conversion pass failed and New Castle carried an 18-14 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Carter nearly had another TD reception, but was tackled at the 1. Jalen Holmes finished the drive as he plunged in for the score. Beck’s kick was blocked and the ’Canes owned a 24-14 advantage with 6:01 left in the frame.
Blackhawk marched back in the fourth quarter. Kincade lofted a pass to a wide-open Justin Tress. He raced 41 yards into the end zone. Pritchard’s kick trimmed the deficit to 24-21 with 8:27 to play.
New Castle failed to run out the clock and was forced to punt to the Cougars. They drove 76 yards on 13 plays and Shansky crashed in from the 2 with 1:12 remaining. Pritchard’s kick sailed wide left to keep Blackhawk’s lead at 27-24.
The ’Canes faced a formidable challenge as they started their final possession on their own 10 with just 1:09 to go. Thanks to several key receptions and some Matarazzo scrambles to the sidelines, New Castle had a first down at the Blackhawk 13 with 11.2 on the clock.
On the next play, Matarazzo connected with Nigel Whren for an apparent TD pass with 1.9 seconds remaining. However, the play was nullified when the ’Canes were flagged for holding. That gave them the ball at the Cougars’ 26 and time for one final play.
Matarazzo took the snap, scrambled to his left and fired across the field to the far corner, where Carter outjumped a defender, snagged the ball and secured the thrilling victory.
“We knew they were going to have a couple of safeties over the top and we wanted to get two guys in the middle and Marcus on the back pylon,” Matarazzo said. “I just tried to put it right on that back pylon and I knew he was going to get it as soon as I threw it.”
Carter doesn’t remember seeing the pass hit his hands.
“I just zoned out. I heard nobody,” he said. “I just focused on the play and caught the ball and we won the game.”
New Castle hopes to build off the thrilling victory for next season.
“It definitely gives us confidence going into the offseason. We never really won a close game like this all season,” Matarazzo explained. “I think it gives us some confidence going into next year that we can win these kinds of games.”
NEW CASTLE BLACKHAWK
18 First downs 15
186 Yards Rushing 174
26 Yards Lost 50
160 Net Rushing 124
23 Passes Attempted 15
13 Passes Completed 10
1 Passes Intercepted 0
247 Yards Passing 155
407 Total Yards 279
1-0 Fumbles-Lost 2-1
2-35.5 Punts-Average 6-30
10-83 Penalties-Yards 5-25.6
NEW CASTLE 6 12 6 6 — 30
BLACKHAWK 7 7 0 13 — 27
BLACKHAWK — Mike Shansky, 34-yard run (Phil Pritchard kick).
NEW CASTLE — Marcus Carter, 90-yard kickoff return (kick blocked).
BLACKHAWK — Shansky, 13-yard run (Pritchard kick).
NEW CASTLE — Johnny Matarazzo 25-yard run (pass failed).
NEW CASTLE — Carter, 20-yard pass from Matarazzo (pass failed).
NEW CASTLE — Jalen Holmes, 1-yard run (kick blocked).
BLACKHAWK — Justin Trees, 41-yard pass from Chandler Kincade (Pritchard kick).
BLACKHAWK — Shansky, 2-yard run (Pritchard kick failed).
NEW CASTLE — Carter, 26-yard pass from Matarazzo.