PITTSTON- Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis stresses execution in all three phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams.
The plan came to fruition in the Comets’ 28-0 win over Pittston Area in a non-league contest Aug. 30 at Charlie Trippi Stadium.
The Abington Heights’ defense came up with a big stop early in the game after quarterback J.C. Show was intercepted by Pittston Area’s Zach Hoffman at the Comets’ 28-yard line. Junior defensive end Chase Wickenheiser sacked Patriots’ quarterback James Emmett for a 9-yard loss on fourth-and-one from the 19 to end the threat.
“Early in the game when it was a battle of field position, our defense was able to step up and get some stops in crucial situations,” Repshis said. “I’m really proud of the way the players continued to give great effort. As the game went on, we gained some confidence and to get a win Week 1 is huge.”
After a slow start by both teams, Abington Heights’ Nate Hollander returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown to give Abington Heights a 7-0 lead with 6:20 left in the first half.
“Nate is always a threat to score from anywhere on the field with the ball in his hands,” Repshis said. “All he needs (is) a crease, and we had some great blocking. That was a big play for us to get some momentum and put some points on the board.”
Show, who made the switch from wide receiver to quarterback this season, scored on an 8-yard run to cap a seven-play, 45-yard drive and give the Comets a 14-0 lead with 6:39 remaining in the third quarter.
“We didn’t play very well in the beginning,” Show said. “We turned the ball over twice and had some dumb penalties, but we just kept battling…that’s why we play four quarters of football. We knew we could play better, and thankfully we did in the second half.”
Abington Heights (1-0) added to its lead when Show connected with senior running back Sean Rock for a 30-yard touchdown on a screen pass to end a 10-play, 89-yard drive. After Colin McCreary’s extra point, the Comets led 21-0. Rock had runs of 17 and 12 yards during the possession.
“Sean had a great game running the football, but it all starts up front,” Repshis said. “The line got off the ball and gave him an opportunity to run downhill. He’s a very elusive back with very good speed. He made great cuts and runs with great effort.”
Rock, who rushed for a game-high 218 yards on 18 carries, added the final score of the game on a 76-yard run with 9:16 left in the fourth quarter.
“I saw the cutback right away and our line did a great job of blocking downfield,” he said. “Our line was pounding them all game.”
Running back Kyle Gattuso contributed 98 yards on 19 carries for Pittston Area (0-1).
Abington Heights will host Dallas on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. at Comets Stadium. Pittston Area will host Scranton on Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.