YATESVILLE — It was no secret what Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti and his Crusaders wanted to do Friday night against Pittston Area. Pound the football.
And with senior tailback Paul Cole doing the heavy lifting behind a stout offensive line, Coughlin’s game plan was right on point.
Cole ran for 191 yards on 31 carries, eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the season, and added four touchdowns to lead Coughlin to a 32-13 win over Pittston Area at Charley Trippi Stadium.
“I need to mention my offensive line tonight, I forgot them last time,” Cole said. “They were digging in and blocking very well through the whole game. They deserve all the recognition.”
With Chris Sebia leading the way up front for a Coughlin team that had a big size advantage, Cole was able to create some strong running lanes from the start. And Sebia admitted it’s pretty nice having a back like Cole behind him.
“We just drive off and sometimes a hole’s not there,” he said. “He just cuts back and creates a lane. He’s a strong runner.”
It wouldn’t seem like it, but the Coughlin-Pittston Area rivalry has gained some momentum over the past several seasons.
The Patriots, coming off a come-from-behind win over Dallas, upset the Crusaders last season 38-36 in a shootout. Pittston Area would have to come back again, spotting Coughlin 18 points in the first half with touchdown runs from Cole and quarterback Tim Pilch.
“This is a big rivalry,” Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said. “You throw the records out the window when we meet.”
Just like last week, Pittston Area’s offense started to click in the second half.
After gaining only 53 yards in the first two quarters, quarterback James Emmett and company went to the air attack. The Patriots ran the ball only four times in the final two quarters.
Emmett finished with 36 pass attempts and 14 completions for 106 yards. He threw three interceptions.
Midway through the third quarter, the Patriots used a nine-play drive, capped off with four straight completions for 55 yards. Hassan Maxwell caught a 5-yard slant pass to close the lead to 18-7.
Coughlin went three-and-out on its next possession to give Pittston a shot, but Emmett’s first pass was intercepted by Pilch. Six plays later, Cole punched in his third touchdown from a yard out.
“(We) are resilient,” Cinti said. “They keep fighting back. We could have folded — these kids don’t. When they face adversity, they fight back. The seniors pulled everyone together.”
Not out of it yet, Emmett threw a 19-yard touchdown to Michael Schwab on Pittston’s next possession to make it 25-13. The Patriots recovered a Jordan Consagra onside kick with a chance to make it a one-score game, but the Patriots turned the ball over on downs.
Cole later went in for a 33-yard touchdown.
“We just kept our heads in, got the pass defense down a little bit and did what we had to do and we locked them down for the rest of the game,” Sebia said.
Pittston had its chances early. The Patriots first play was intercepted and led to a score. Following the Crusaders second touchdown, Pittston fumbled the kickoff. That led to a score as well.
Coughlin 32, Pittston Area 13
COU — Paul Cole 5 run (pass failed), 8:06
COU — Cole 12 run (kick failed), 0:43
C — Tim Pilch 1 run (pass failed), 9:54
PA — Hassan Maxwell 5 pass from James Emmett (Jordan Consagra kick), 2:24
COU — Cole 1 run (Brandon Butry kick), 10:04
PA — Michael Schwab 15 pass from Emmett (pass failed), 5:52
COU — Cole 33 run (Butry kick), 5:14
Team statistics`Coughlin`Pitt Area
RUSHING — COU, Cole 30-191, Pilch 17-83, Tom Mitchell 3-17, Tyler Layton 2-11, Jake Soller 1-2. PA, Maxwell 4-21, Kyle Gattuso 4-12, Emmett 3-(-25).
PASSING — COU, Pilch 1-6-10-0. PA, Emmett 15-37-121-3.
RECEIVING — COU, Darik Johnson 1-10. PA, Maxwell 5-40, Rich Weinstock 3-32, Schwab 3-25, Gattuso 1-20, Angelo Aita 1-8, Michael Harth 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS — COU, Pilch 1-0, Layton 1-0, Mitchell 1-25. PA, Schwab 1-0.
MISSED FGs — None.