BY MARK COONS
Susquehanna used a bruising running game while its defense held Carbondale’s running game in check as the Sabers overcame eight penalties and a pair of lost fumbles to post a 34-6 victory over the Chargers on Friday night at William Emminger Memorial Field.
The win marks the first time Susquehanna has beaten Carbondale since the 2000 season.
Dan Kempa led the Sabers attack with 141 yards and three scores on the ground and 127 yards and one touchdown through the air.
The Susquehanna defense set the tone for the evening on the game’s first drive, holding Carbondale to a three-and-out before taking possession after a 20-yard punt gave the Sabers the ball at the Chargers’ 40.
After a 22-yard run by Cole Mallery, Kempa took the second play of the drive the remaining 18 yards for the touchdown 1:17 into the game for an early 6-0 lead.
With 12 seconds to play in the first, Kempa capped a 7-play, 75 yard drive with a 9-yard run. Kempa’s extra point gave Susquehanna a 13 -0 advantage.
It was Kempa again who scored with 7:56 remaining in the first half on another 9-yard run. A missed two-point conversion gave the Sabers a 19-0 lead going into halftime.
“They were sending the house, even the corners,” Kempa said. “But my line really did a great job tonight for us.”
The Sabers made it 27-0 midway through the third quarter as they capitalized on a Carbondale turnover.
Mallery intercepted a Joey Gigliotti pass, giving Susquehanna the ball at the Chargers 28-yard line.
On the next play, Kempa found Sean Stanley with a 28-yard scoring strike. Kempa’s run on the 2-pointer gave the Sabers a 27-0 lead.
“It just takes one mistake, take a sack and all of a sudden it’s second and 17,” Chargers’ coach Larry Gabriel III said. “We’re so young, but at this point, we can give them extra downs like we did.”
Susquehanna made the scored 34-0 when Greg Price broke through the Carbondale defense for a 21-yard scoring run, along with Kempa’s extra point.
The Chargers were unable to get their ground game going, running for a minus-10 yards in the game.
But Gigliotti was able to find some success through the air, completing 8 of 21 passes for 127 yards and Carbondale’s lone score a 10-yard touchdown pass to Carm Carachilo, who made a toe-dragging catch along the sideline, with 1:07 to play in the game to complete the scoring.
“The Gigliotti kid is going to be a really good player,” Susquehanna coach Dick Bagnall said. “He has such a strong arm. We were concerned with our defensive end play and those penalties were killing us.”
Price added 102 yards on 14 carries and Nick Marco added 87 yards on 11 carries from the fullback position for the Sabers, who moved their season record to 4-1.
Defensively, sophomore defensive end Steve Lee had a pair of sacks for Susquehanna.
“Price and Marco did a nice job and Kempa did what he always does,” Bagnall said. “Defensively we were solid. We were well-prepared for their offense. But, they got some good players on that team and their get it going one of these days.”
Carbondale 0 0 0 6 – 6
Susquehanna 13 6 15 0 – 34
First Downs 8 20
Rushing-Yards 27-(-20) 42-348
Comp-Att-Int 8-21-1 2-6-0
Passing Yards 127 42
Total Yards 107 390
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 5-2
Penalties-Yards 3-23 8-60
Rushing: SUS – d. Kempa 14-141. 3 TDs; G. Price 14-102, 1 TD; N. Marco 11-87; C. Mallery 1-22; S. Stanley 1-0.
Passing: SUS – D. Kempa 2-6-0, 42, 1 TD.
Receiving: SUS – S. Stanley 1-26, 1 TD; C. Mallery 1-14.
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