BY COREY GESFORD
On a night that the host Carbondale Chargers honored a fallen former teammate, they used that emotion to jump out early on visiting Montrose as they bested the Meteors, 52-34.
The two winless teams took the field after the Carbondale faithful honored Joe Maddage, a 2018 graduate and former Charger football player, who died in automobile accident the previous Friday night.
After the teams traded fruitless opening drives Marino DePalma opened the scoring for Carbondale with a 14-yard scamper to the end zone. Carbondale’s Nic Vadella took over from there scoring on a two-yard sweep near the end of the first quarter and then on the first play of the second quarter Vadella intercepted Montrose Quarterback Ethan Cina’s pass and took it to the house and added a two-point conversion giving the Chargers a 22-0 lead.
Carbondale would add two more scores before halftime as Quarterback Ray Ofner connected with Adam Rosetti for a 15-yard touchdown reception and Nick Tierney capped a drive with a 1-yard dive into the endzone after his own 30-yard scamper to put the Chargers in the Red Zone and gave Carbondale a 38-0 halftime lead.
The Montrose offense failed to gain traction on the mud-covered field as turnovers and miscommunications plagued the offense during the first half.
After Cina was intercepted on the opening drive of the third quarter, Vadella took a handoff 70 yards to the endzone and DePalma hit Rosetti for the two-point conversion giving the Charger a commanding 46-0 lead.
But Coach Steve Miller’s Meteors came out on the next drive not looking like a team facing a 46-point deficit. On the ensuing drive Halfback Brendan Kanna broke to the outside eluded one defender and then scampered down the sideline for a 56-yard touchdown run. Kanna was stuffed on the two-point conversion, but the energized Meteors held Carbondale to a three-and-out on the next series.
“We’re proud of the kids and their ability to come back,” said Miller. “They worked hard this week, and we’re not quitting, they don’t quit.”
Montrose then conducted their most extensive drive of the evening. After a couple short runs, Kanna took a handoff on a reverse turned the corner off tackle and jetted down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown. Cina then hit Wideout Chuck Rohan on the two-point conversion and Montrose closed the gap to 46-14.
“We talked at halftime of getting on our blocks, we shifted some things around, and that helped quite a bit,” Kanna said.
The messy field conditions forced Montrose to do some different things in the second half and the Meteor plan shifted.
“We talked to them halftime and we told the guys we have to be better with our pass routes,” said Miller. “We also abandoned our play action because of the soup out here and focused on more post and go routes.”
“It was pretty slick, we just had to do our best,” Kanna added.
Montrose forced Carbondale to punt and took over on the Carbondale 45. On first down Cina hit Rohan with a screen pass and the senior sprinted up the field for a 23-yard gain. Mpintos took the next handoff and bulldozed his way for 22 yards to put Montrose on the one-yard line. Cina scored on a keeper the next play and then sprinted and dove for the pylon to earn the two-point conversion.
Carbondale’s first unit returned to the field after a short kick gave the Chargers the ball on the Montrose 48.
Three plays into the drive DePalma broke free for a 26-yard dash to the endzone to cap the scoring for Carbondale.
But the resilient Meteors took over on their own 30. Cina dropped back and found Kanna in the slot hitting him in stride and Kanna took it to the house for six.
The pass to Mike Brennan fell short on the conversion.
“We switched guys up, usually Chucky is on the left, we moved him to the right, put Cam (Harder) in his spot and had Brennan in the slot,” Cina said.
After another three and out Montrose took over on the Carbondale 45, and on 2nd and 13 Cina dropped back and threw into a crowd covering Rohan. The ball went of Rohan’s hands bounced off two Carbondale defenders and back into the seniors hands and Rohan took off down the sideline for a 18-yard gain. After a Cina sack and a personal foul seemed to stall the drive, Cina found Rohan down the sideline for the final score of the game with 40 seconds left.
“The ball got tipped out of my hands and then bounced back into my chest,” said Rohan. “I was like, ‘Oh, I got the ball, I gotta go.’”
Sabers vs. Meyers
Susquehanna’s game against Meyers started off with a band Friday night in Wilkes-Barre.
Saber Jahmarea “Peanut” Wansley took the opening kickoff 90 yards back to the house for a quick Saber lead. Wansley would tack on the extra point to give Susquehanna a 7-0 lead 15 seconds into the ballgame.
That would be the only score for over eight minutes before Meyers’ Nazir Dunnell broke free for a 61-yard rushing touchdown as the first of 26 unanswered points the Mohawks would put up before halftime.
Susquehanna had a couple good drives during the second quarter as they took the ball to the Meyers 5-yard line before CJ Stone’s pass was picked off.
Just before halftime, the Sabers sustained a drive when a successful fake punt resulted in a first down and Stone hit Adam Rockwell for a 47-yard touchdown pass. The kick failed and the Sabers trailed 26-13 at the half.
Mason Deakin stepped in front of a Talee Swinney pass and returned it 75 yards for the pick six, but the point after was blocked.
Meyers answered with two scores to widen the gap as Dunnell rushed for an 18-yard score and Jabril Crumbley picked off another Stone pass and returned it 73 yards for the score.
Susquehanna got back on the board when Stone found Deakin for a 22-yard touchdown hookup and William Perry converted the two-point conversion.
Meyers tacked on two more scores before the buzzer for a final of 51-27.