WILKES-BARRE – Coughlin faced a second-half nightmare.
A miraculous 46-yard Hail Mary that dramatically bounced off the hands of two Coughlin defensive backs and into the arms of a diving Pocono Mountain East wide receiver halted any kind of energy the Crusaders had going in the first half. The touchdown, caught by quarterback Evan Fardella lined up from halfback Kyle Harris, put the Crusaders in a 20-17 hole going into halftime.
The debased Coughlin (5-3) team bounced back from the unsettling momentum shift, scoring 21 consecutive points to start the second half to defeat Pocono Mountain East 45-35 Saturday in a non-conference matchup.
Opening the second half, the Crusaders’ running game wore the Cardinals down for 4:46 in a drive that led to a Zac Evans’ 11-yard rushing touchdown.
Seemingly, Coughlin seemed unaffected by the events that ended the first half.
“All I could say is that drive was key for us mentally,” Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said. “The last couple weeks, we came out flat. That was a freak play. We kept it under control. The last few weeks, we didn’t answer the bell. Today, we did.”
Evans finished up with four rushing touchdowns to combine with his 254 yards rushing on 34 carries.
Coughlin’s three-headed rushing attack proved effective throughout the game. The Crusaders’ offensive line man-powered the Cardinals’ rush defense. The rushing corps – led by Evans, Paul Cole (64 yards) and Tim Pilch (60 yards) – moved through Pocono Mountain East’s front line at ease.
“We kept the guys on their blocks,” Cinti said. “All three of our runners had excellent games. We can thank our offensive line for pushing them back.”
Outstanding defensive work kept the Cardinals out of the end zone on several occasions. Coughlin's Hunter Bednarczyk snagged an incompletion in the end zone in the third quarter -- soon after Evans' go-ahead rushing touchdown. On Pocono Mountain East's ensuing drive, Corey Keen picked off a pass in Crusader territory. The turnover led to a 78-yard touchdown reception by Keen, who dragged a Cardinal defensive back 15 yards en route to the end zone.
Pocono Mountain East's Hail Mary play came 15 seconds after a 31-yard field goal by Bednarczyk.
It was the Cardinals' second Hail Mary completion. Pocono Mountain East successfully completed a similar play -- only with fullback Mike Geoghan -- late in the fourth quarter that led to a touchdown that put the Cardinals within 10 points.
|Pocono Mountain East||7||13||0||15||—||35|
COU – Zac Evans 1 run (Hunter Bednarczyk kick), 8:27
PME – Kyle Harris 50 run (Andrey Isakov kick), 6:35
COU – Evans 13 run (Bednarczyk kick), 5:56
PME – Harris 7 run (Isakov kick), 2:39
COU – Bednarczyk 31 field goal, :11
PME – Evan Fardella 46 from Harris (kick failed), 0:00
COU – Evans 11 run (Bednarczyk kick), 7:14
COU – Corey Keen 78 catch from Tim Pilch (Bednarczyk kick), 3:23
COU – Pilch 4 run (Bednarczyk kick), 9:08
PME – Mike Geoghehan 27 run (Harris pass from Fardella), 5:47
COU – Evans 10 run (Bednarczyk kick), 1:44
PME – Geoghehan 3 run (Isakov kick), :51
|Team Statistics||PM East||Coughlin|
RUSHING – PME, Jason Parchment 1-3, Harris 7-64, Fardella 7-35, Geoghehan 4-36, Justin Bullock 4-15; COU, Evans 33-254, Paul Cole 7-64, Bednarczyk 1-6, Pilch 10-60, Team 1-(minus-1) PASSING – PME, Fardella 15-21-2-208, Harris 1-1-0-46, Geoghehan 1-38; COU, Evans 0-2-0-0, Pilch 1-2-78-0 RECEIVING – PME, Harris 5-98, Parchment 7-118, RJ Sarajin 4-33, Fardella 1-46; COU, Keen 1-78 INTS – COU, Bednarczyk 1-0, Keen 1-3 MISSED FGS – None
RUSHING – PME, Jason Parchment 1-3, Harris 7-64, Fardella 7-35, Geoghehan 4-36, Justin Bullock 4-15; COU, Evans 33-254, Paul Cole 7-64, Bednarczyk 1-6, Pilch 10-60, Team 1-(minus-1)
PASSING – PME, Fardella 15-21-2-208, Harris 1-1-0-46, Geoghehan 1-38; COU, Evans 0-2-0-0, Pilch 1-2-78-0
RECEIVING – PME, Harris 5-98, Parchment 7-118, RJ Sarajin 4-33, Fardella 1-46; COU, Keen 1-78
INTS – COU, Bednarczyk 1-0, Keen 1-3
MISSED FGS – None