PME 'runs' over Tribe
Run the football.
For most high school football coaches, that formula is the goal week in and week out.
Last night for Pocono Mountain East, it was the means to spoil Lehighton's homecoming festivities.
The Cardinals ran for 427 yards and led from start to finish in claiming a 30-13 Mountain Valley Conference victory.
"We just got our butt kicked," said Lehighton head coach George Ebbert. "They did a great job against us. Physically they just hammered us. Mentally we weren't prepared to play.
"They had big plays, we were playing catch-up, and were fighting field position ... I was very impressed the way they ran the ball. They were quicker to the outside. They ran basic stuff and we couldn't stop it."
It didn't take long for Pocono East to seize momentum and establish the ground game.
On their second play from scrimmage and just 50 seconds into the contest, the Cards' Dave Ohmnacht broke loose for a 50-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Indians, the rest of the night was more of the same.
A gadget play a 43-yard touchdown pass off a reverse from Evan Fardella to Chris Savage accounted for the visitors' second score but the evening belonged to the East offensive line and its talented backfield.
"We really feel we have three good running backs," said PME mentor Phil Dorn. "We felt comfotable with our backs coming into the game and our point of emphasis was to sustain drives and play solid football."
Besides Ohmnacht, who ran for 88 yards, the Cards thrived in giving the ball to Eddie Helm and Hussam Moustafa.
Helm ran for 149 yards, including a 73-yarder in the second quarter that gave PM East a 21-0 advantage. While Moustafa didn't score, he finished with 156 yards.
"Once you start moving the ball offensively, it starts wearing on the other team," said Dorn. "Those Lehighton kids are tough kids. They fought and they battled, but our backs were just able to pop big ones here and there. It was a good game, but our backs just made big plays."
As successful as the Cardinals were on the ground, that's how much trouble the Indians had with their running game.
Because of that Ebbert brought in a Kyle Hunter, who is still recovering from an ankle injury, to move Lehighton through the air.
The move worked immediately as Hunter's first throw, which came right after a PM East turnover, resulted in a 35-yard scoring strike to starting QB JT Keer.
Hunter and Keer hooked up later in the game for a 68-yard touchdown toss, and finished the game was impressive stats, but the deficit and the Cards' ground game were just too much to overcome.
"Keer did a heckuva job," said Ebbert. "We weren't able to run the ball so we had to switch to Hunter and put Keer out as a receiver. He's a weapon out there."
"We felt if we could shut down their run and make them one-dimensional, it was a better opportunity for us," said Dorn. "Even so it's no easy task because Hunter throws the ball well and Keer is a great athlete."
Helm helped put the game away with a six-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, while East's kicker Tyler Sickler added to the scoring with a 27-yard field goal.