The gameplan was set. The intentions were clear. Early on, however, the Olympians just could not generate the offense needed and it ended up costing them as they dropped a 42-22 decision at the hands of Minersville.
"Early on, we just could not get what we wanted," Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger said following his team's sixth loss of the season. "Our effort just wasn't up to the standard that we expected out of them."
Those beginning offensive woes led to a scoreless first quarter as Thorpe still had hopes with its defense remaining firm. However, the hosts erupted for 22 unanswered points to go into halftime up 22-0, and eventually cruise to the Anthracite League win.
Minersville (2-4) got a huge game from senior back Chris Murphy as he led them in almost every category. His biggest contributions were 27 rushes for 166 yards and four scores and a two-point conversion to technically outscore the Olympians by himself.
"They're a very physical team and coach Mason does a great job with getting his team ready every week," Rosenberger said.
As the first frame ran out, the winners were nearing their first score and with 33 seconds off the second frame clock, they took the lead for good when Murphy pounded in from the five. He tacked on another trudge for a two-pointer and the 8-0 lead.
With about four minutes remaining, Nick McBreen connected with Ryan King four a seven-yard reception to balloon the lead. Luke Heffron ran in the two points for the 16-0 lead, only to turn their next possession into another score before halftime. Murphy's six-yard run made it 22-0 at the break.
"Our effort needs to be there and it needs to be more consistent, as well," Rosenberger said. "We came out of half and had a nice third quarter, but it has to be the whole game."
In the third, the Olympians' first drive yielded six as Patrick Duvigneaud connected with teammate Deonte St. Hill for a 18-yard score and Michael Harleston ran in the two-pointer.
A botched snap on an attempted punt then gave the Olympians the ball on the Minersville 19. Duvigneaud wasted no time in making things interesting. He out-maneuvered the defense for a score on the first play from scrimmage and with 5:40 remaining in the third, Thorpe had cut the deficit to 22-14.
The winners showed tougness, however, as they scored on their next two possessions. Murphy ran in scores of three and four yards, respectively.
Jim Thorpe answered with a Duvigneaud 48-yard touchdown and with 6:22 left in the game, it was 34-22.
However, the biggest score of the night ensued when Brandon Lafferty out-raced tacklers for a 31-yard score and Shane Kostishak caught a pass from Nick McBreen for the conversion.
"We're not a very big team and we are still quite young," Rosenberger said. "Our effort needs to get better and we need to find ways to make plays each night."