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Carmel crunched!

 

By: Jake Felix | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | November 10, 2007

 

When Montoursville received the ball at its own 39-yard line with 2:39 remaining in a scoreless game, coach Jim Bergen was content on running out the clock and taking his chances in overtime.

Mike Steele, Josh Cillo, Chad Jacobson and the rest of the Montoursville offense had a different idea.

Facing a third-and-seven from its own 42-yard line, Steele squirted through the Mount Carmel defense for a 17 yard run. With field position now in their favor, Bergen and the Warriors changed their game plan, and two plays later they attacked as Jacobson found Cillo for a 25 yard pass play down to the Mount Carmel nine-yard line.

A pair of spikes, sandwiched by Cillo's two yard loss, left Jacobson with a 28 yard field goal attempt from the left hash to win it. The senior split the uprights this time, giving the two-time defending District 4 Class AA champions a 3-0 quarterfinal victory on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

"After the first one (a 30 yard attempt earlier in the fourth quarter) was blocked, I just didn't want them to block it," said senior Jelani Johnson. "I knew if Chad got it off, he'd make it. He's a very clutch player."

The third-seeded Warriors (9-2) set up a rematch with Loyalsock next week in the District 4 Class AA semifinals. The Lancers, who will host the game, handed Montoursville its first loss of the season, 41-21, in Week 5. Loyalsock, the No. 2 seed, defeated Hughesville last night, 58-21.

Neither the cold rain or Mount Carmel could ice Jacobson last night. The Red Tornados (6-5) took a pair of timeouts to make the senior think a few extra seconds about the magnitude of the upcoming kick, but he delivered like an All-Pro.

"I told the referee that I felt like Robbie Gould out there getting stalled," said Jacobson. "I just did what I've done in practice. I was loose, let it rip and fortunately it went in."

The final 14 seconds weren't without a bit of a scare.

Mount Carmel quarterback Marcus Wasilewski fired a pass to Matt Moroz, who immediately turned and lateraled the ball to Dave DeMarco. DeMarco made a cut toward the Montoursville sideline and had a line of blockers, but the Warriors' Jason Cristini made the open field tackle before DeMarco could reach midfield.

"I thought he was going," said Johnson, who had an interception. "I saw him running down the sideline and I was trying to catch him and Cristini made a great tackle."

Cristini's play was just one of many made by the Montoursville secondary, which held Wasilewski, who entered the game with over 1,500 passing yards, to 130 yards. Mount Carmel did drop some passes, but Montoursville's defense shut out an opponent for the second time in four weeks. In those four weeks, Montour's defense has allowed just 18 points, which included a punt return.

The Red Tornados finished with just 48 rushing yards on 27 attempts and spent much of the night buried in their own territory. Three of their first-half drives started inside their own 20-yard line, including two at the five-yard line.

Mount Carmel finally received field position on its next-to-last drive when it started at midfield. A sack and a penalty, however, resulted in a punt. A punt that traveled only 17 yards and gave the Warriors a better starting point than expected on their game-winning drive.

"We wanted to pin them deep and didn't want to give them a short field, but that is ultimately what happened" said Mount Carmel coach Mike Brennan. "We didn't get the punt as deep as we would have liked."