Thorpe dominates Lehighton
Just call them 'mudders.'
The Jim Thorpe football team has picked up victories in all types of weather conditions this season, but it definitely seems to have a favorite.
The Olympians love playing in the rain and mud.
Jim Thorpe proved that again on Friday night as it turned in a dominating performance to defeat Lehighton, 18-0.
"Last year I hated field conditions like this," said Thorpe coach Mark Rosenberger. "But this year, the mud plays right into our strength. We've done very well playing in these conditions this season
"We have big, strong linemen up front and a couple of kids in Shane (Edwards) and Terry (Moll) who run hard."
The Jim Thorpe win, coupled with Pine Grove's 41-14 loss to Line Mountain, gives the Olympians the fourth and final spot in the District 11 Class AA playoff field.
"We knew Line Mountain was a great team and had a good chance to beat Pine Grove," said Rosenberger. "But we stressed to our kids all week that the result of that game wasn't going to matter at all if we didn't take care of business.
"Our kids did just that. They went out and played a tremendous football game. Our defense was outstanding and we controlled the line of scrimmage on offense as well. I'm really happy with our performance."
The Olympian defense limited Lehighton to just 57 yards in total offense and two first downs. Of the Indians' 19 rushing attempts, 10 of them produced no yards or negative yardage. Things weren't any better through the air for the Indians either as they had as many completions (four) as interceptions.
"We made way too many mistakes tonight," said Lehighton coach George Ebbert. "Penalties, turnovers, mental errors ... we just didn't execute.
"Jim Thorpe outplayed us. They are a very good team. There's a reason that they have an 8-2 record."
After punting on its first two possessions and running 11 straight plays to begin the game, Jim Thorpe's finally went to the air and it paid huge dividends.
On a third-and-13 call, Moll dropped back and lofted a perfect pass to PJ Johnson, who was streaking down the sideline. Johnson pulled the ball in around the 15-yard line and raced into the end zone with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter.
"Terry (Moll) did a really nice job for us," said Rosenberger. "He handled the ball well in tough conditions, he ran hard, and he made the throws when we needed them."
A couple of possessions later, Jim Thorpe picked off a Josh Agosto pass the third of four first half interceptions to set up their next score.
Phil Schron's interception gave the Olympians the ball on the Lehighton 34-yard line. Eight straight running plays produced the touchdown with Edwards going the final yard to make it 12-0 with 5:36 left in the half.
Jim Thorpe final touchdown came when Moll hit Khaaliq Lynch with a 16-yard pass to cap a nine-play, 56-yard drive. The score came with 11:55 remaining in the game.
"Give Jim Thorpe credit, they didn't let the field conditions bother them," said Ebbert. "Obviously, we're not built for this type of game. But that's no excuse.
"Both teams played on the same field. They executed offensively and defensively and we didn't."
The victory also allowed Jim Thorpe to keep possession of the Route 209 Trophy for another year.
"This is our third straight win [against Lehighton]," said Rosenberger. "It's a great rivalry and our kids really get up for the game."