Miscues costly to New Castle
New Castle (18) vs. Indiana (27)
Written: Sep 06, 2008
By TONY COCCAGNA
INDIANA, Pa. — Turnovers doomed the New Castle High football team in a 27-18 nonconference loss to Indiana last night.
“Not only did turnovers hurt us, but defensively we’ve got to get stops,” Red Hurricane coach Frank Bongivengo Jr. said. “We’ve got to get teams to punt the ball.
“They controlled the ball and controlled the clock. When they control the clock, it’s hard to win.”
The defeat is the second of the season for the Class AAA ’Canes, who opened with a 28-21 setback to Quad-A Butler. The Class AAA Indians are 2-0.
“We improved, but obviously not enough,” Bongivengo said. “There are plays to be made, and, for some reason, we don’t make them.”
This would have been a shootout had New Castle been able to hold onto the ball. The first miscue came on the ’Canes’ third play from scrimmage on Jajuan Jay’s fumble after he caught a pass and took it 25 yards to the Indiana 29.
The second came with New Castle trailing 13-6 in the third quarter. Quarterback Michael Bongivengo was intercepted on third-and-4 from the Indiana 7. Tyler Rinehart returned the pick 16 yards, a personal foul penalty at the end of the play added 15 yards, and Indiana went 62 yards on eight plays for a 20-6 lead.
New Castle answered with a eight-play, 59-yard drive, scoring on Bongivengo’s 3-yard run on third down. He hooked up with Brandon Burley for 22 yards and Keith Keene had runs of 16 and 15 yards.
Indiana then went 65 yards on 15 plays, with Vinnie Gatti scoring on a 3-yard run. Indiana converted fourth-and-2 at the New Castle 26 to keep the drive going.
The ’Canes’ last score came with 28.8 seconds left on Michael Razzano’s 11-yard pass from Bongivengo. Bongivengo was 5-for-5 on the drive. He completed his first eight passes and was 20 of 25 through the air. He had a second interception on the last play of the first half.
In the first half, Indiana scored on an 11-play, 81-yard drive, with senior quarterback Ben Fiscus scoring on a 9-yard run on an option keeper. Fiscus is a grandson of former New Castle High athlete and coach Chuck Abramski.
In the second half, Jay took a squib kick at the 21 and returned it to the Indiana 31 to set up a score. It took four plays as Keene converted a 15-yard run with 10:01 left in the third quarter.
Indiana answered with a 9-play, 79-yard drive, with Jay Pettina scoring on a 1-yard run. Big plays were a Fiscus option keeper for 23 yards and his 36-yard pass to Ian Jones, which made the score 13-6 midway through the third quarter.
Indiana coach Mark Zilinskas said his team had to work hard to beat the ’Canes.
“We knew coming in those kids were athletes. Both teams have great athletes, and our focus all week was to out-hustle and out-execute this football team.
“We knew we had to run our offense and be patient and take what was there, chew up the clock, drive the ball down the field and keep it away from them, and it just unfolded exactly the way I envisioned.”
Bongivengo feels his team still has a way to go heading into Friday’s Parkway Conference opener at Blackhawk.
“We’ve got to go back to work,” he said. “We’ve got to get back to fundamentals and get back to basics and get guys on the field who want to attack and be mean people, defensively especially.
“It has no bearing on the section schedule, and that’s what I told the kids. We start 0-0 next Friday, so we’ll take it from there.”
NEW CASTLE INDIANA
19 First downs 20
175 Net Rushing 262
25 Passes Attempted 12
20 Passes Completed 7
2 Passes Intercepted 1
217 Yards Passing 116
392 Total Yards 378
2-2 Fumbles-Lost 1-0
1-34 Punts-Average 2-31.5
6-50 Penalties-Yards 2-30
NEW CASTLE 0 0 6 12 — 18
INDIANA 0 6 14 7 — 27
INDIANA — Ben Fiscus, 9-yard run (kick blocked).
NEW CASTLE — Keith Keene, 15-yard run (kick blocked).
INDIANA — Jay Pettina, 2-yard run (Chris Simpson kick).
INDIANA — Vinnie Gatti, 13-yard run (Simpson kick).
NEW CASTLE — Michael Bongivengo, 3-yard run (kick blocked).
INDIANA — Gatti, 3-yard run (Simpson kick).
NEW CASTLE — Michael Razzano, 11-yard pass from Bongivengo (pass failed).