Mahanoy rolls past Thorpe
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Jim Thorpe's Mike Harleston scampers around the line en route to a gain in contest against Mahanoy Area on Saturday.
Like any other coach, Jim Thorpe's Mark Rosenberger doesn't like to lose.
So it wasn't surprsing that the Olympians head coach was a little bit upset after Saturday's 52-14 loss to Mahanoy Area.
The lopsided loss, however, wasn't the main reason for Rosenberger's distress.
"It's one thing to lose a game because the team's more talented, (and Mahanoy Area is more) talented than us," said Rosenberger. "But when the effort's not there on top of it, that's a little bit dissapointing and disheartning.
"The most frustrating part about today was the effort. The effort just wasn't there. These are the same kids that busted their butts last week and gave it all they had for four quarters against Minersville. I just don't feel that we put the effort forth to win a football game today."
The same can't be said for Mike Gaval and the Golden Bears (5-2; 3-2).
Gaval, Mahanoy Area's quarterback, ran his team's option offense to near-perfection. The senior ran 13 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns and led his team into the end zone on each of the eight possessions he lined up behind center.
"You have to play assignment football against them and if one guy doesn't do their assignment then all of a sudden they're in the end zone," said Rosenberger. "It's not a fancy offense. They just have a disciplined offense and they have a great general running it at the quarteback spot."
"He does a good job, there's no doubt about it," said Golden Bear mentor Wally Hall, whose team runs for 467 yards and doesn't throw one pass the entire game. "He makes the right reads and stuff like that."
Gaval's decision to keep and run was never more accurate than the first time his team had the ball.
After Jim Thorpe opened the game with an impressive drive that produced a first-and-goal situation, Mahanoy Area's defense stiffened and forced the Olympians to turn the ball over on downs.
Two plays later, Gaval broke loose for a 91-yard touchdown run.
"We had a nice drive down the field," said Rosenberger. "We converted on a couple of third downs and we had an opportunity with the ball on the four-yard line. We didn't punch it in and that changed momentum. Then they rattle off a 91-yard run by the quarterback."
That long score was the beginning of the end for Thorpe.
By the time the Olympians' offense registered another first down, the Bears had received touchdown runs from Jimmy Baker, Austin Forte and Matt Kimmel to take a 24-0 lead.
Two more scoring runs from Baker and Gaval allowed Mahanoy Area to earn a 38-0 halftime lead and invoke the mercy rule in the second half.
Jim Thorpe (0-7; 0-6) prevented a shutout in the third quarter when Pat Duvigneaud threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Khaaliq Lynch. Alex Pope accounted for the Olympians' other score on a 72-yard run.
"We're still very young," said Rosenberger. "We were down five starters from our starting team and we started eight freshmen today."
"I know what they're going through," said Hall. "Coach Rosenberger is a fantastic coach and has proven that over the years. He's just going through some growing pains with his younger kids. I have no doubt their program will be back to where it was in no time."