WILKES-BARRE – Coughlin has had a long line of quality tailbacks throughout the years.
Zac Evans made his pitch Saturday night to join that list.
The fullback-turned-tailback rushed for 211 yards, including a 70-yard TD that changed the complexion of the game, as Coughlin defeated Tunkhannock 28-0 in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3A game.
Evans, who was a 1,000-yard rusher as a fullback last season, carried the ball just 15 times. His 13th tote of the night – the 70-yard scoring run – gave the Crusaders a 21-0 lead at 8:38 of the third quarter.
The run also completed a three-play, 97-yard drive after Tunkhannock pinned the Crusaders with a punt and a penalty.
"It feels great," Evans said, "but it's not just about me. Everybody came out and played hard. We got an opening-season victory and it feels great."
Coughlin scored on its first possession of the game, with quarterback Tim Pilch completing the 75-yard drive with a 20-yard run. Pilch added a 1-yard TD sneak at 2:41 of the second quarter as the Crusaders took a 14-0 lead into halftime.
In between those scores, Tunkhannock's Double-Wing rushing attack was able to control the clock and move the ball at times. But the Tigers had two possessions fizzle out in Coughlin territory, including one at the 17-yard line.
Tunkhannock's offense found little success in the second half. The Tigers didn't get a first down until their final possession with 3:41 left in the game. By that time, Coughlin led 28-0 on a 17-yard run by Pilch late in the third quarter. The score was set up when Coughlin linebacker Joe Lanning made a sack, causing a fumble that was recovered by defensive lineman Brad Emerick.
"Tunkhannock played a very hard game," Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said. "They have a good bunch of kids. I think it was a matter of we wore them down in the second half. I don't know if they had a first down in the second half. The first half they ran up and down the field."
Tunkhannock coach Rod Azar echoed those comments.
"We made a lot of mistakes in the second half offensively, more so in our pass blocking," Azar said. "We have to fix some big mistakes that we made."
Paul Cole, Coughlin's new fullback, also had a solid game. He rushed nine times for 88 yards.
Josh Colley led Tunkhannock ballcarriers with 49 yards. But after gaining 96 yards on the ground in the first half, the Tigers managed just 54 in the final two quarters.
Coughlin 28, Tunkhannock 0
COU – Tim Pilch 20 run (Hunter Bednarczyk kick), 10:07
COU – Pilch 1 run (Bednarczyk kick), 2:41
COU – Zac Evans 70 run (Bednarczyk kick), 8:38
COU –Pilch 17 run (Bednarczyk kick), 1:05
RUSHING – Tunkhannock, Josh Robinson 13-38, Josh Colley 5-49, Shane Edmundson 4-14, Brian Beauchemin 10-(minus-16), Colton Coolbaugh 7-40, Ryan Cywinski 2-19, Brandon Dailey 2-6. Coughlin, Zac Evans 15-211, Paul Cole 9-88, Tim Pilch 5-40, Hunter Bednarczyk 2-19, Ryan Gorki 2-8, Joey Mirgalia 2-1.
PASSING – Tunkhannock, Beauchemin 0-5-0-0, Ryan Eli 0-1-0-0. Coughlin, Pilch 1-7-1-12, Gorki 2-2-0-5.
RECEIVING – Coughlin, Corey Keen 2-11, Cole 1-6.
INTS – Tunkhannock, Brett Stage.