Carbondale Area built a 22-point first-half lead and hung on for a 28-18 win despite being shut out by Lackawanna Trail’s defense in the final 24 minutes Saturday night, Oct. 5.
The Chargers improved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in Lackawanna Football Conference Division III. The Lions dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in Division III.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the first half and we couldn’t get out of it,” said Lackawanna Trail head coach Steve Jervis. “My hat’s off to Carbondale, they’re an excellent team.”
Carbondale was led by Ricky Jones, who hurt the Lions on both sides of the ball. The senior ran for 93 of his 119 yards in the first half as the Chargers built a 28-6 lead. He also scored on a 69-yard run, threw for 18 yards and a touchdown and added an interception.
Trailing 21-0, the Lions got on the board midway through the second quarter. Defensive lineman Brian Kearney recovered a fumble at Carbondale’s 29-yard line, and the Lion’s embarked on a 8-play, 71-yard scoring drive.
The drive was anchored by the backfield tandem of Jared Phillips and Jonathan Zedar. Phillips started the drive with a 22-yard run and Zedar accounted for 27 yards, including a key 9-yard run on 3rd-and-2 at the Chargers’ 47-yard-line. Quarterback Vic Mallory capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge to cut the lead to 21-6 with 4:33 remaining in the second quarter.
But the Chargers quickly answered back. Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 31 yards to set up Carbondale at its own 47-yard line. Seven plays later, running back Bradley Sales took a triple-reverse handoff and scampered 41 yards for the score, giving the Chargers a 28-6 lead with 1:23 remaining in the half.
The Lions nearly cut into the lead on their next possession, but came up short as the half ended. Trail covered 54 yards in nine plays, highlighted by a 27-yard completion from Mallory to wide receiver Ross Fauquier to bring the Lions to Carbondale’s 16-yard line with 24 seconds remaining. But a deflected pass and an offsides penalty stalled the drive.
“We just didn’t execute at times,” Jervis said.
The Lions put together two significant drives in the second half but never threatened Carbondale’s lead.
Trail began the second half with an 85-yard scoring drive that spanned 10 plays and about four minutes. Mallory completed three passes for 66 yards: a 10-yard completion to Phillips, a 30-yard strike to Zedar, and a 26-yard connection to Fauquier. Running back Bryan Tuft capped the drive with a 9-yard scoring run to cut the lead to 28-12 with 8:08 remaining in the third quarter.
With 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Fauquier intercepted a Chargers pass and returned it 36 yards to Carbondale’s 11-yard line. Three plays later, Mallory found Matt Harris in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard score to cut the deficit to 10 with 11:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Neither team’s offense managed a significant drive for the remainder of the game. Trail held the Chargers to 54 second-half yards. The Lions’ defense was led by Fauquier, who, in addition to the interception, recorded eight tackles, a sack and had a deflected pass.
“The defense did a good job in the second half, but the deficit was too much,” Jervis said.