Thorpe falls to Blue Mountain
bob ford/times news Jim Thorpe quarterback Shane Snisky (7) tries to break away from Blue Mountain defender Mark Chelius. Check out more photos from the game at http://www.tnonline.com/galleries.
It was known before the season started that solid defense and a strong run game normally translates to a competitve football season in the Anthracite Football League.
Fast forward the 2014 season nine weeks and both Jim Thorpe (7-2) and Blue Mountain (7-2) are in the thick of the postseason hunt.
The Eagles had a hat trick of rushing touchdowns in the contest whiched propelled them to a 28-18 Anthracite League victory over the Olympians.
A Christian Puzzi field goal on the first drive of the contest gave the Eagles an early 3-0 advantage. Jim Thorpe responded two drives later when Robert Heller followed some great Olympian blocking and ripped off a 62-yard touchdown which gave Jim Thorpe a 6-3 lead.
On Blue Mountain's immediate possession, Christian Gosch capped off a seven play 52-yard Eagle drive with a 21-yard score of his own.
After a scoreless second quarter, Blue Mountain took a 10-6 lead into the lockeroom.
"We did a lot of good things tonight," said Blue Mountain head coach Cory Mabry. "We were upset with all of the penalties (7-67) we had tonight, but our kids persevered and didn't give up."
The Olympians drove right down the field on the initial possession of the second half with a ten play 73-yard drive. Heller continued to be the focal point of the offense as he gave his team a 12-10 lead from two yards outand in result had a running total of 141 yards on the ground.
However, Heller was injured on the 2-yard plunge and didn't return to the game.
"We lost our starting center on our first series and had a few other injuries including Robert (Heller) who came out right after halftime," said Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger. "They (Blue Mountain) just wore us down tonight with physical play. It's tough to come back from that but you have to give our kids credit for hanging in there."
The Eagles have a host of tailbacks who can get the job done. This time the Eagles resiliently answered the call thanks to a Lucas Forbes 36-yard dash to the house following the Heller score. Blue Mountain ran a number of counter and trap plays to avoid running directly into the "Red Swarm" defense.
"We're a 'wing-t' base team even though we don't look like it," explained Mabry. We ran a lot of misdirection plays out of multiple formations. Jim Thorpe has a good defense up front and we couldn't go right at their interior."
The loss of Heller proved to be critical, as the Olympians gained just 14 yards on the ground over their final four posessions without him.
However, The Jim Thorpe duo of quarterback Shane Snisky and Ryan Carroll appeared to get into a rythym as they moved the chains twice through the air on the first posessioin of the fourth quarter.
"Ryan made some nice plays late in the game," said Rosenberger of Carroll who had 76 receiving yards. "He definitely gets the job done when we need him to."
However, the Olympians certainly didn't help their own cause after the pass completions, as they immediately committed three conseuctive penalties and faced a first down and 33 to go. Jim Thorpe punted on the posession and the Eagles tagged on three more points on the ensuing drive. Mabry's squad never looked back after that.
"Our goal is to come in and win every game," the Blue Mountain coach said. "The kids really bought into the philosophy that we can celebrate a win, but when we wake up on Saturday morning we are back to a zero and zero record. This is a great group of kids that work very hard. I can't say enough about my seniors."
Rosenberger and his Olympians now have a date with Lehighton next Friday which has immense playoff implications.
"We're always disappointed when we lose games, but our kids really fought tonight and I have to give them credit. Blue Mountain is a quality football team and we went toe-to-toe with them. It was a great high school football game"