Olympians rip Tide to stay unbeaten
Jim Thorpe’s Justin St. Hill breaks away from a Pottsville defender during Friday night’s game. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
On a balmy autumn night when red, white, and blue fireworks exploded in the air before the opening kick off, the undefeated Jim Thorpe Olympians’ football team exploded their own fireworks on the field in a 35-0 rout over Pottsville.
The first explosion occurred on an the opening kickoff fumble setting up the JT offense on the Crimson Tide 23-yard line. Justin St. Hill, who would run for 184 yards and three touchdowns in the game, slashed for 28 yards on three carries to set up CJ Selby’s five-yard bolt around right end and with less than two minutes gone in the first quarter, the Olympians took a 7-0 lead.
The second explosion happened on the very next play when JT’s Roberto Santiago recovered a Pottsville kick return fumble giving Thorpe a first down at the Pottsville 27-yard line. Seven plays later, St. Hill found a hole through the right side and the Olympians were up 13-0 with still seven minutes left in the opening quarter.
“I thought we were ready to go at game time, but you can’t have two turnovers on the first two plays against a really good team,” said Crimson Tide coach, Tom McGeoy. “We never recovered.”
Pottsville (4-5) was able to drive the ball against Thorpe’s Red Swarm defense, but big defensive plays kept the Tide out of the red zone except late in the second quarter until a pass from the JT 18-yard line was intercepted by Nick Rosahac.
“All week at practice, we emphasized we had to get turnovers and not have any negative plays ourselves,” said Olympian coach, Mark Rosenberger. “To do that we had to play a very physical game and we did just that.”
And the proof of their physicality was the seven sacks on the Tide quarterback resulting in 29 yards lost behind the line of scrimmage.
After Selby streaked through left tackle en route to a 30-yard TD run – and following another Rosahac interception – St. Hill exploded for a spectacular 41-yard run to the house, giving his team a four touchdown lead at the intermission.
Any thoughts of a second half Pottsville comeback were squashed when Jarrin Geisnger returned the second half kick off 51 yards to the Tide 29-yard line. Three plays later, St. Hill completed the game scoring with a 20-yard run to pay dirt.
“I thought we played a complete game tonight,” said Rosenberger. “Offense, defense, and special teams put it all together against a very tough team.”
At 10:36 of the third quarter, the mercy rule clock began to tick down to the finish and Jim Thorpe had registered their sixth shutout of the season.
“It was nice to beat my alma mater,” added Rosenberger with a smile.
With Lehighton’s win over Blue Mountain, next week’s showdown with Jim Thorpe (9-0) will leave the winner with more than bragging rights in their neighborhood rivalry along with possession of the Route 209 trophy. Both teams have undefeated seasons on the line and first place will be at stake in the Schuylkill League’s Division One standings.
“We’re just going to enjoy this win until Sunday when we’ll sit down and work out a game plan against Lehighton,” said Rosenberger. “They are an outstanding football team and we certainly have a heck of a challenge in front of us.”
PASS AND CATCH ... JT quarterback, Nick Rosahac threw six completed passes in the game and also intercepted two Pottsville throws to thwart long drives.
OFF THEIR GAME ... Pottsville likes run with its two stellar running backs, but after falling behind so quickly, they were forced to throw the ball which resulted in seven sacks by the Red Swarm defense.