Pioneer City gridders set for district tournament
The Chargers (2-7) visit Mid Valley (1-8) on the final weekend of the 2018 Lackawanna Football Conference regular season.
With an expanded district playoff format in six classifications, the winner of this contest will claim the fourth and final slot in next weekend’s district AA playoffs.
While the winner earns a playoff berth, they will most likely face top seeded Dunmore. The Bucks already own wins against other teams in the field: vs. Carbondale Area (49-0), Mid Valley (33-0), Susquehanna (42-6) and Riverside (49-0).
CA vs. Mid Valley
Both the Chargers and Spartans have struggled to find the endzone through nine games.
Carbondale Area posted 15.3 points per game while the Mid Valley has scored 8.2 points per contest.
On the flip side, CA has given up 32.3 points per game while the Spartans have yielded 29.8 points per contest.
The Chargers have improved their attack over the last four games but self destructed at times. In splitting their last four games, the Chargers had opportunities in losses vs. Lakeland (14-12) and Susquehanna (21-8) but fell short.
Marino DePalma and Nick Vadella have produced similar ground success. DePalma owns a 93-480 rushing attack for four TDs while Vadella has a 90-430 effort for five scores.
DePalma has caught seven tosses for 119 yards in leading all receivers.
Nick Tierney has claimed a 23-177 mark for one TD while Adam Rossetti has posted a 26-126 rushing effort for three TDs and added six catches for 60 yards and a TD.
Keegan Durkin and Zach Racht has contributed 5-59 and 4-139, one TD marks. Quarterback Ray Ofner has engineered the attack over the last month and has contributed key completions.
Mid Valley has looked to Colin Hazleton to carry the workload with a 123-581 rushing mark for four TDs and a 14-28-6 passing effort for 156 yards.
Sebastian Brudnicki owns a 54-245 rushing mark for four scores while Ethan Booth has posted a 23-126 ground effort. Zachary Rebar leads the air corps with a 9-103 receiving mark.
In a game impacting the No. 3 post season seed, CA faced a two touchdown deficit before running an offensive play.
On the game’s first snap, the Sabers ran a throwback to perfection as quarterback Sam Costello handed off to running back Jahmarea Wansley on a sweep.
However, Wansley stopped and threw back to a wife-open Costello down the Sabers’ sideline for a 65 yard TD just :14 into the game for a 7-0 lead.
The Chargers returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield but fumbled the ball away giving the Sabers possession. Just 2:20 later, Costello added another score for a 13-0 margin.
CA eventually settled into the game.
Forcing a Saber punt, CA blocked a punt inside the 20 with Zach Racht scooping up the ball before being tackled at the seven.
On second down, an unsportsmanlike penalty forced the Chargers into a second and goal at the 23.
The Saber defense stopped the threat.
The visitors took the ensuing possession on a time-consuming march eventually adding a Wansley 15 yard TD with 2:04 left in the half for a 21-0 margin.
The Chargers took the opening series of the second half on a 5:22 march with Marino DePalma scoring from four yards out.
A Ray Ofner to Racht pass conversion sliced the gap to 21-8 with 6:38 left in the third period.
After stopping the Sabers, the Chargers had another time consuming drive.
An Ofner to Racht 42 yard hook-up then pass interference moved the Chargers inside the Susquehanna 15.
On second down, at the Sabers’ 12, a fumble ended the threat with just under 7:00 left in the game.
DePalma led ground game with 55 yards while Ofner had 55 passing yards on five completions.
The Sabers has 6.0 yards per carry on 40 runs.