Blackhawk bests New Castle
New Castle (14) vs. Blackhawk (38)
Written: Sep 13, 2008
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
DARLINGTON — Going up the hill to the locker rooms at halftime, New Castle High players were making a lot of noise.
And for good reason.
The visiting Red Hurricane had survived a first quarter in which it did not run an offensive play, scored a touchdown with 1:17 left in the second quarter and trailed Blackhawk by just a 10-7 margin at soggy Northwestern Stadium last night.
“Their players were all pumped up because they got that late score and our kids had their heads down,” Blackhawk coach Joe Hamilton said. “We had to sit them down and get them going again.”
Did he ever.
Blackhawk stopped the ’Canes cold on their first two possessions of the third quarter and scored touchdowns on a 65-yard, eight-play drive and a 59-yard punt return by Jake Delmonico to take a commanding lead in the Class AAA Parkway Conference contest. The Cougars won going away, 38-14.
New Castle is winless in three games, but, more importantly, dropped to 0-1 in the Parkway. It will host undefeated Hopewell on Friday and travel to unbeaten West Allegheny the following week. Blackhawk is 1-0, 3-0.
“Yeah, we felt good at the half,” New Castle coach Frank Bongivengo Jr. said. “For 90 percent of the time, we played great football. But that other 10 percent … we gave up some big plays and that cost us.”
What cost New Castle was its inability to stop Blackhawk when it needed to the most. The ’Canes did a good job against Blackhawk running back Bryan Stefanik, who came into the game averaging 12.2 yards per carry. He finished with just 23 yards on 10 attempts.
New Castle couldn’t contain Cougars’ quarterback Zach Hayward, who ran eight times for 61 yards and completed 15 of 23 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown.
“New Castle’s line is good and it comes off the ball,” Hamilton said. “It was obvious early on they were not going to let us run the ball up inside with our trap plays and they were taking Bryan away when we ran the option.
“That’s why Zach had such a good game running the ball. He hasn’t run with it much on the option until tonight because he didn’t need to.”
While Hayward’s legs kept New Castle’s defense honest, it was his right arm that did in the ’Canes.
On Blackhawk’s touchdown drive early in the third quarter Hayward hit Stefanik for 14 yards on a third-and-6 play, found Austin Wulf for 24 yards on a slant-in pattern on second-and-12 and connected with Chuck Lipp on a 31-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field on third-and-16.
The scored put Blackhawk on top 17-7.
After New Castle’s spread offense gained just four yards on three plays the ’Canes punted. Delmonico ran up and picked the ball up on a bounce, broke three tackles, cut to the right side of the field and scampered 59 yards to give Blackhawk a commanding 24-7 lead.
New Castle came right back and drove 77 yards in eight plays, with the help of a roughing the passer penalty, to cut the margin to 24-14. Michael Bongivengo, the coach’s son, tossed a 20-yard pass to Jajuan Jay for the touchdown with 2:31 left in the third quarter.
But the ’Canes couldn’t stop Blackhawk. The Cougars marched 54 yards on seven plays, with Matt Engle scoring on a 1-yard blast with 10:39 left to play.
“Defensively, we did some good things but we couldn’t get any three-and-outs,” Bongivengo said. “We let them keep the ball and we let them hit some big plays, like that third down pass for the (31-yard) touchdown.”
Offensively, New Castle passed for 147 yards but should have had more. A sure touchdown pass was dropped in the second quarter and another throw that would have gained at least 30 yards was dropped in third quarter.
“New Castle’s really a pretty good team — very explosive,” Hamilton said.
“We might be the best 0-3 team around,” Bongivengo said. “The two teams we lost to before this one were 2-0 coming into tonight. We just need to get better on defense. Our guys aren’t going to give up.”
NEW CASTLE BLACKHAWK
13 First downs 16
63 Net Rushing 133
21 Passes Attempted 23
11 Passes Completed 15
0 Passes Intercepted 0
147 Yards Passing 197
210 Total Yards 330
3-2 Fumbles-Lost 0-0
3-34.7 Punts-Average 2-36
8-36 Penalties-Yards 10-82
NEW CASTLE 0 7 7 0 — 14
BLACKHAWK 3 7 14 14 — 38
BLACKHAWK — Matt Greiner, 27-yard field goal
BLACKHAWK — Bryan Stefanik, 14-yard run (Greiner kick)
NEW CASTLE — Michael Razzano, 11-yard pass from Michael Bongivengo (Jajuan Jay kick)
BLACKHAWK — Chuck Lipp, 31-yard pass from Zach Heyward (Greiner kick)
BLACKHAWK — Jake Delmonico, 59-yard punt return (Greiner kick)
NEW CASTLE — Jay, 20-yard pass from Bongivengo (Jay kick)
BLACKHAWK — Matt Engle, 1-yard run (Greiner kick)
BLACKHAWK — T.J. Lambert, 1-yard run (Phillip Pritchard kick)