MCA advances to D-4 title tilt with win over Warriors
MONTOURSVILLE - Turnovers cost Mount Carmel a game against Montoursville during the regular season.
The Red Tornadoes weren't going to let that happen again in the playoffs.
Instead of giving the Warriors the ball, field position and momentum like in that first game, Mount Carmel was the opportunist Friday at Montoursville.
The Red Tornadoes forced a total of five turnovers and easily won 48-20 to advance to the District 4 Class AA championship game next week.
Mount Carmel will attempt to defend its title against Danville, a 14-13 winner over Athens. The Ironmen are the No. 1 seed and will host the game.
"We didn't play very well and we were ashamed. We got things turned around and that was a total team effort tonight," Mount Carmel head coach Carmen DeFrancesco said.
The Red Tornadoes started off the game with a plus in the turnover margin when Tyler Kwiatkowski recovered a fumble on the Warriors' opening return.
Mount Carmel's ensuing drive stalled, but that was the only time the Warriors stopped the Red Tornadoes in the opening half.
Unfortunately, the beginning of this District 4 semifinal looked too much like the first game between the two for Mount Carmel's comfort as Montoursville was able to string together two scores on before the Red Tornadoes' defense responded.
Montoursville's Cameron Ott started the scoring for the game with a three-yard run to cap a seven minute Warriors' drive after Mount Carmel's first possession.
The Red Tornadoes returned the favor with a 14-play drive that ate up 6:26 and ended in Eric Joraskie's one-yard run, the first touchdown run of his career.
Montoursville's Clay Stoner then burst open and ran for 61 yards on three carries to put the Warriors back on top 13-6.
Back the Tornadoes came thanks to a 29-yard touchdown pass from Zach Wasilewski to Eric Joraskie.
An interception by Robbie Varano on Montoursville's next drive set up a little razzle dazzle from the Tornadoes.
After a 15-yard run by Klingerman following the interception, Wasilewski handed off to Klingerman on a sweep to the left. Klingerman flipped the ball to Varano, who then came on the reverse and flipped it back to Wasilewski. The sophomore quarterback put the ball in the air and Elijah Duran came down with a 46-yard completion.
"We had three of them (plays) and we said that at some point in the game we're going to use one of them," DeFrancesco said of the trick play. "We practice those plays once a week and have them there and it worked to perfection. It was a great executed play."
Wasilewski eventually found Kwiatkowski open in the end zone to finish the drive and Mount Carmel had its first lead of the game, 20-13.
The second half belonged to Klingerman. The senior had touchdown runs of 28 and 53 yards and finished the game with 279 yards.
"We've had firepower all year long," DeFrancesco said. "We're versatile and we used all of our weapons here. We threw the ball, we ran the ball inside and we ran it outside and we took care of the ball. Our offensive line did a great job up front and we dominated that game."
Meanwhile, the Tornadoes' defense limited Montoursville to just one more score, but got a touchdown from Vinny Candelora, who busted into the Warriors' backfield and seemed to take the handoff from Montoursville quarterback Aaron Cole and ran 28-yards to the end zone. Joraskie led all tacklers with eight stops, while freshman Dominic Farronato had five tackles and a fumble recovery.
"That was a point of emphasis for us," DeFrancesco said. "We said last week against Central that when you get into the playoffs, you don't turn the ball over. If you take care of the ball, you're going to win. You turn the ball over and it's a recipe for disaster. This is two weeks in a row that's worked for us and the kids played on a mission. It was great to see our kids respond this way."