READING – Another Friday night, another gold medal performance from the Olympians.
After opening some eyes last week with an 18-13 victory over Tamaqua, Jim Thorpe legitimized itself atop the winner's podium again last night with a convincing 34-7 nonleague victory over Reading Central Catholic.
The win moves the Olympians to 2-0 on the season and sets up a huge Anthracite Football League showdown with undefeated (and unscored upon) North Schuylkill next week in Fountain Springs.
"We're excited to be 2-0 and I'm really proud of the kids," stated Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger. "We worked hard in the offseason and we worked hard tonight, but we have to get a lot better to play with North Schuylkill next week, that's for sure."
After putting an emphasis on the running game last week against Tamaqua (260 yard rushing vs. 46 yards passing), the Olympians rolled into Reading with a more balanced attack, which featured the big-play abilities of quarterback Terry Moll, running back Shane Edwards and wide receiver P.J. Johnson.
All three individually combined for over 100 yards of total offense, as Jim Thorpe rushed for 167 yards, while adding 185 yards through the air.
After exchanging punts twice to open the contest, Jim Thorpe got on the scoreboard on the final play of the first quarter when Johnson rushed 32 yards to pay dirt for a 7-0 lead. Johnson helped setup his touchdown with a 38-yard reception from Moll two plays prior.
Jim Thorpe then orchestrated a 10-play scoring drive on its next possession, which was capped by Edwards' 14-yard touchdown run with 4:24 remaining in the first half.
However, the Olmpians weren't done.
Jim Thorpe's Steven Hayes recovered a Reading Central Catholic fumble on the Cardinals' ensuing possession, and two plays later, Edwards was back in the end zone with a 5-yard scoring scamper to extend the lead to 21-0.
The Olympians then forced the Cardinals into their fourth punt of the half, and following a 32-yard return, Moll hooked up with Johnson on a 45-yard touchdown with just seven second remaining until halftime.
"We have explosive players on this team," lauded Rosenberger in regards to his team scoring three touchdowns on its final four offensive plays of the first half. "Our quarterback is explosive throwing and running the ball, P.J. Johnson has big-play potential and Shane does an outstanding job running the ball."
Edwards then punched in his third rushing touchdown of the game from two yards out on the Olympians' first possession of the second half to up the lead to 34-0.
Reading Central Catholic's lone score came on a Joey Rys 63-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter.
Rys, an All-League running back (coming off a 176-yard rushing, five touchdown performance against James Buchanan), was bottled up for just 66 yards on 12 carries; however, he did add 96 yards on eight receptions.
"We started off sluggish, exploded in the second quarter, and then fell off a bit after we got up 34-0," added Rosenberger. "I'm extremely proud of the effort tonight, but we need to play with more consistency on both sides of the ball and work on doing the small things correctly in order to be a good football team."