CARBONDALE – Shane Schuback jokes with his friends that he’s really a tailback in the National Football League.
You can’t blame the Old Forge senior for thinking that way. With the way his enormous offensive line opens up holes, it’s easy to see his thought process.
Undefeated Carbondale was dominated physically up front from the first snap of the game, and the Blue Devils grounded up the Chargers for almost 400 yards of offense en route to a 43-6 victory.
“When I get the ball, and I see the entire line driving, I feel like I have so many choices like cut back or go straight. Our line is unbelievable,” Schuback said.
You don’t need a crystal ball to see where this one was won.
It started with the boys in the trenches.
Old Forge (7-1) was physically stronger, and the push off the front line knocked the Chargers at least five yards off the ball.
With the line opening holes a school bus could drive through, the backs took advantage of the benefits.
Brandon Yescavage rolled up 143 yards and three touchdowns – all in the first half — and Shane Schuback’s 79-yard run in the third quarter put the icing on the cake.
Coming in, the Chargers had allowed less than 60 points defensively all season.
“We came into this game hyped up because they were undefeated,” OF lineman Ryan Paulish said. “We just wanted to send a message to the other teams we will be facing down the road. This is big. This is for our division, and we don’t want to share a division title. This line, we pride ourselves for putting people on the ground and opening up those holes for Brandon and Shane.”
Don’t expect the Blue Devils to change, either.
After ripping apart Lackawanna Trail on the ground last week, Old Forge churned out 266 yards rushing and reached the end zone four times.
“We don’t want to drag things out. We want to get right to the point and take care of business,” OF head coach Michael Schuback said. “This is the way we are. We are a run-first, pass-second team and that’s how our team is built. We have a system, and we stick to it. The guys up front came together. Right now, we came off the ball and did what we had to do. If you do the little things, the big things take care of themselves.”
The Chargers, on the other hand, couldn’t muster much offensively. Carbondale managed just a little more than 120 yards and barely sniffed the mid-field stripe all game.
The team’s lone score came in the fourth quarter on a long, 47-yard pass from Jesse Jankowski to Jason Martin. But by the time Carbondale crossed the goal line, it was already 43-0.
“The first quarter, I felt like we had some opportunities to make plays and we didn’t,” Carbondale head coach Larry Gabriel III said. “Against Old Forge, if you have an opportunity to make a play and you don’t, you are going to pay for it. We thought they may wear us down in the second half, but they wore us down by the second quarter. We knew they were tremendous, and I think we may have been a little overconfident because we were 7-0 for the first time in school history. We embraced the challenge, but I don’t think some of our players knew how good they really were.”
Yescavage scored just three plays into the game, giving the Blue Devils a 6-0 lead after one quarter.
The senior back then broke it open in the second. Two short runs of 15 and 4 yards put the Old Forge up 21-0, and a 16-yard pass from Jake Manetti to Joey Gutowski gave the team a 29-0 at halftime.
After holding Carbondale to a three-and-out on its first possession of the second, the mercy rule was quickly applied when Brandon Vahey took the punt at the 50 and went nearly untouched down the right sideline.
Old Forge 43, Carbondale 6
Old Forge `6`23`14`0`—`43
OF – Brandon Yescavage 32 run (kick failed), 10:44
OF – Yescavage 15 run (Shane Schuback run), 11:42
OF – Yescavage 4 run (Christian Mozeleski kick), 5:30
OF – Joey Gutowski 16 pass from Jake Manetti (Yescavage run), 3:00
OF – Brandon Vahey 50 punt return (Mozeleski kick), 9:40
OF – Schuback 79 run (Mozeleski kick), 5:18
C – Jason Martin 47 pass from Jesse Jankowski (kick failed), 8:45
RUSHING — OF, Brandon Yescavage 11-143, Shane Schuback 6-90, Cooper Califano 6-19, Paul Cariati 2-9, Jordan Sekol 2-4, Jake Manetti 2-1. C, Ricky Jones 13-46, Brad Sales 8-19, Jesse Jankowski 10-14, Tim Mantis 2-7, Team 1-(-2), Jason Jablonowski 1-(-4).
PASSING — OF, Jake Manetti 6-10-0-127, Shane Schuback 0-1-0-0. C, Jesse Jankowski 4-9-1-44.
RECEIVING — OF, Joey Gutowski 3-71, Jordan Sekol 1-30, Shane Schuback 1-18, Brandon Yescavage 1-8. C, Jason Martin 2-45, Tim Mantis 1-0, Brad Sales 1-(-1).
INTERCEPTIONS – OF, Paul Papi.