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Jim Thorpe cruises past Pine Grove

Momentum can be a game changer and even a season changer in high school football and that’s exactly what the Jim Thorpe Olympians had Friday night with their dominating 47-7 rout over Pine Grove to earn their second win of the season.

Rarely does a loss deliver a team momentum but last week’s defeat to unbeaten Palmerton did just that according to Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger.

“We started to build momentum last week and it carried over in our high energy practices this week,” he said.

Speaking of high energy, the Olympians (2-3) took the gas out of the Cardinals tank right from the get-go.

Jim Thorpe kicker Noah Geiser recovered his own onside kick setting up his offense with a first down at the Pine Grove 45. After a short ground gain, quarterback Cole Lazorick hooked up with Justin Yescavage who leaped over the top of the defender to haul down a 34 yard reception. One play later, Lazorick rolled right and hit Chase Whaley in the right corner of the end zone with a four-yard scoring strike and less than two minutes into the game, Thorpe took a 7-0 lead.

On Pine Grove’s first possession, Aaron Curran intercepted a first down pass at the JT 26 yard line. On the first play following the turnover, Lazorick led Yescavage in stride for a 74 yard TD pass and a 14-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the opening quarter.

The Red Swarm lived up to the tradition of their name.

Forcing a three and out, Lazorick and company went back to work. He picked up 20 on an option read run to the Pine Grove 12 and two plays later passed to Joshua Louk for a 10 yard score and a 21-0 lead at the 4:50 mark of the quarter.

The Cardinals (1-4) struggled on offense as Jim Thorpe tackle Noah Rosahac and defensive end Whaley were inside their backfield on nearly every play. A

nother punt set up Thorpe on the Pine Grove 46 and Lazorick immediately went up top to Yescavage for 40 yards. Michael Antignati finished the drive with a three yard blast up the middle to give the Olympians a commanding 28-0 advantage going into the second quarter.

Thorpe tacked on 10 more points in the second quarter on a 25 yard touchdown pass from Lazorick to Curran on a wheel route and a 38 yard field goal, the first of two in the game by Geiser.

How impressive was the Olympians’ first half performance? Lazorick was 6 for 6 passing to start the game. Yescavage caught seven balls for 190 yards. Six different players scored for the home team including Geiser with his two field goals.

On defense, the Red Swarm held the Cardinals to five yards rushing on 14 carries and 15 yards passing with two interceptions. Jim Thorpe’s total offense in the half was 383 yards of the 506 they got for the entire game.

“Our game plan was to use the pass to set up the run and we did just that,” Rosenberger said. “We have several players stepping up their game. Of course, Cole did a great job and Yescavage catches everything thrown his way.

“Our kicker, Noah Geiser had two field goals and he’s really good with is his onside kicks and he has more than one method of doing them. On defense, our D Line got excellent penetration all game long. Right now, we are hitting our stride and playing with a lot of confidence.”

Momentum is a wonderful thing for team that has it and Jim Thorpe certainly has it now. The Olympians will take their mojo on the road next week against Tamaqua.

TRIBUTE ... There was a pre-game tribute for Jersey Shore’s football player Max Engle who died earlier in the week after collapsing during a recent game. Jim Thorpe’s cheerleading squad wore T-shirts with No. 4 on the front - the number Engle wore for his team.

AIR RAID ... Jim Thorpe’s Justin Yescavage now has 16 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games.

KING AND QUEEN ... It was homecoming day at Jim Thorpe. Olympian tackle Noah Rosahac was voted king and Aubrey Bonner, daughter of Tamaqua football coach, Sam Bonner, was voted queen.

Kaden Hess (18) of Jim Thorpe finds running room against Pine Grove on Friday night. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS