WILKES-BARRE- With a Friday night showdown looming against fellow District 2 power Dunmore, looking ahead wasn’t an option for Old Forge against Holy Redeemer. Mission accomplished.
The Blue Devils scored touchdowns on their first seven possessions, racking up 385 yards on just 35 plays, in a dominant 48-14 victory.
“They’re a tough team,” Holy Redeemer coach Pat Reece said of Old Forge. “They’re a very disciplined team. That’s what you get out of them. They don’t make many mistakes. They are very physical, and they come to play.”
Old Forge (3-0) wasted little time finding the scoreboard. Brandon Yescavage took a pitch on his team’s third offensive play and found room down the right sideline for a 57-yard touchdown run. It was just the start of a huge day for Yescavage, who scored four times and rushed for 216 yards.
“If (Yescavage) didn’t get hurt his sophomore year, I think a lot more people would know about him,” Old Forge coach Mike Schuback said. “He basically missed a whole season, which sucked for us and him. But he overcame that and he worked real hard. The bottom line is, it’s a credit to him. All offseason he worked very hard.”
Yescavage would find the endzone two more times in the first quarter to cap off short scoring drives. His run off right tackle gave the Blue Devils a 14-0 lead. That was followed by a 1-yard plunge less than ten minutes into the game.
The running game continued to be dominant for Old Forge in the second quarter. Yescavage broke off runs of 11 and 37 yards before scoring on a 4-yard run to increase the lead to 35-0 with 6:40 left in the period.
The Royals were able to mount a scoring threat by reaching into their bag of tricks. A well-executed hook and lateral play between Jason Hoggarth and Pat Villani resulted in a 55-yard gain. However, the first-and-goal didn’t result in any points as a sack and two incompletions halted the drive.
“We figured we could catch them,” Reece said. “We were doing a lot of hitches. So we figured we could get them on a hook and ladder and maybe get in the endzone.”
Quarterback Jake Manetti completed the first half onslaught for Old Forge with a 3-yard scoring run on a quarterback sneak up the middle in the closing seconds of the first half.
“Our offensive line has been together three years,” Schuback said. “We replaced a couple kids, but the core of the offensive line is back. The kids put the time in. They came off the ball really well (Saturday.) I’m really proud of them. Offensively, I thought we hit on all cylinders.”
Trailing 48-0, Holy Redeemer used another gadget play to finally give their fans something to get excited about. Eric Kerr took an end around and threw a pass to a wide open Hoggarth who was behind the secondary for a 63-yard scoring strike.
“I knew it was going to work,” Reece said. “We set it up before the half. We ran a regular reverse and then came back around with a reverse pass. It just was some things that we did using trickery to try and get the ball in the end zone.”
Old Forge 48, Holy Redeemer 14
OF-Brandon Yescavage 57 run (Christian Mozeleski kick) 7:50
OF-Yescavage 11 run (Mozeleski kick) 5:12
OF-Yescavage 1 run (kick failed) 2:10
OF-Shane Schuback 26 pass from Jake Manetti (Mozeleski kick) 9:53
OF-Yescavage 4 run (Joey Gutkowski pass from Manetti) 6:40
OF-Manetti 3 run (kick blocked) :12
OF-Brandon Vahey 2 run (Mozeleski kick) 7:10
HR-Jason Hoggarth 63 pass from Eric Kerr (pass failed) 6:42
HR-Kerr 34 pass from Jimmy Strickland (Eric Shorts pass from Strickland) 7:45
Team statistics`Old Forge`Redeemer
RUSHING — Old Forge: Brandon Yescavage 18-216, 4TD; Brandon Vahey 6-34, TD; Cooper Califano 9-33; Jake Manetti 3-23, TD; Jorden Sekol 3-18; Paul Cariati 4-15, Troy Harris 4-14. Holy Redeemer: Justin Renfer 4-15; Jimmy Strickland 5-8; Pat Villani 4-8; Eric Kerr 1-7; Eric Shorts 1-(-5).
PASSING — Old Forge: Manetti 5-5-0, 90 yds., TD; Cariati 1-1-0, 11 yds. Holy Redeemer: Strickland 12-24-1, 155 yds., TD; Kerr 1-1-0, 63 yds., TD.
RECEIVING — Receiving: Old Forge: Shane Schuback 2-35; Joey Gutkowski 2-30, Sekol 1-25, Eric Grochowski 1-11. Holy Redeemer: Villani 3-92, Jason Hoggarth 7-83; Kerr 3-43.
INTERCEPTIONS — none
MISSED FGs — none