2016 Season Articles
Tornadoes Scrimmage Recap
MCA vs. Loyalsock by Aaron Domanski
Mangiapane delivers 6th XP in overtime as Mount Carmel Area outduels Loyalsock 42-41.
Shortly after ten-o’clock Friday evening, Mount Carmel Area heard a boom that ranks up there with any that have been heard throughout the history of this coal region community. Now this boom was not dynamite blasting its way through a mountain of coal, but rather from a football that was just kicked by Mount Carmel Area junior Rosolino Mangiapane. It was the kicker’s sixth extra point on the evening and was a culmination of a remarkable comeback waged by John Darrah’s Red Tornadoes who outdueled Justin Van Fleet’s Lancers, 42-41, in overtime. The game would become an instant classic and will rank as one of the best ever to be played at the historic Silver Bowl.
Loyalsock wasted no time early and got on the scoreboard on a first possession touchdown run by senior Marcus Williams, who exhibited his sheer athleticism on the way to the end zone on a 59 yard inside reverse. The PAT would be no good and the Lancers would lead 6-0 early. After Mount Carmel Area was forced to punt, Loyalsock put together a second scoring drive in the first quarter that was highlighted by the gritty play of sophomore quarterback Connor Watkins. He would connect with senior wide receiver Alec Little for a 6 yard touchdown pass. Senior Andrew Czap would add the extra point and put the Lancers up 13-0, which is how the score would stay through the end of the first quarter.
Mount Carmel Area got some offensive momentum on its next possession with the drive highlighted by an amazing catch by the Tornadoes’ junior CJ Reichard. The Red Tornadoes would march deep into Lancer territory but were turned away when sophomore quarterback John Ayres was intercepted in the endzone by Loyalsock’s Cole Cavanaugh. The Lancers would capitalize on the turnover as Marcus Williams engineered a scoring drive, connecting with junior wide receiver Brock Hepler on a 33 yard touchdown pass. Czap’s PAT would put the Lancers up 20-0. The Tornadoes would not be denied on their next possession. Facing a critical 4th down from the Lancer 23 yard line, John Ayres would find Red Tornado senior tight end Wes Shurock for a 23 yard touchdown pass. Rosolino Mangiapane would add the PAT and cut the deficit to 20-7, which is where the score would remain at the half.
As the sun set at the Silver Bowl prior to the second half, the heat and humidity let up a little bit, but the game play on the field did not. Mount Carmel Area opened up the third quarter with a drive that marched into Loyalsock territory, but the Tornadoes turned the ball over on downs after back-to-back incomplete passes. The Lancers would take over and continue using their no-huddle offense and drive to pay dirt, with Marcus Williams taking it the final 9 yards for the score. Czap’s PAT would make the score 27-7. A score that eerily reflected a second half deficit faced by Mount Carmel Area in their 2015 Season Opener at Loyalsock in which the Red Tornadoes were still developing as a team learning a new system. Perhaps the Lancers had wished it was 2015, as these Red Tornadoes fought back with reckless abandon for the remainder of the second half.
Mount Carmel Area’s next drive, led by the running of QB John Ayres, found the end zone, with the Red Tornado signal caller taking it the final yard across the goal line. Rosolino Mangiapane would add the extra point, making it 27-14, where the score would stay through the end of the 3rd quarter. Mount Carmel Area would continue its momentum to the start the 4th quarter when Ayres once again found Wes Shurock, connecting on a 27 yard scoring strike. Mangiapane would add the PAT making it 27-21 with 11:30 left to play.
On Loyalsock’s ensuing drive the Red Tornadoes would force a fumble, as Lancer quarterback Connor Watkins was stripped as he was fighting for first down yardage. The fumble was recovered by Red Tornado freshman Shane Weidner. Mount Carmel Area would take over and run a punishing ground attack out of their shotgun single-wing offense, with Johnny Ayres taking it the final 10 yards for the touchdown, his second rushing TD of the night. Ayres added, “The biggest thing I want to talk about is our line. Our line dominated the line of scrimmage and had a push every time. They had great protection the whole night. We knew we were in for a game and just went out and played.” The line would also allow Mangiapane time to remain perfect on PAT attempts and his 4th of the game would give the Tornadoes their first lead, 28-27.
Loyalsock attempted to regain control on their next possession. Quarterback Connor Watkins was flushed from the pocket and attempted to hit junior wide receiver Brock Hepler on a long pass but was intercepted by the Red Tornadoes’ junior cornerback Tommy McDonald. Mount Carmel would capitalize on the turnover as Lane Tanney would score on a 3 yard run to culminate the drive. Mangiapane would add his fifth PAT and MCA would extend its lead to 35-27. However, Loyalsock was not finished. The Lancers took over near mid-field with 29 seconds remaining in regulation. Quarterback Connor Watkins engineered a hurry-up drive to precision and connected with Marcus Williams for a touchdown as time expired. Watkins would rush for the two-point conversion and Loyalsock and Mount Carmel were tied at 35-35 to end regulation.
The Lancers would begin overtime on offense. On 3rd and goal, Marcus Williams would continue his amazing evening, taking it 6 yards for the score, his third rushing TD of the game and fifth TD overall. Kicker Andrew Czap did not get an opportunity for a true PAT, as the snap was low and the holder was touched down before Czap could connect on the attempt. Loyalsock would lead 41-35. Mount Carmel would then take over on offense needing a touchdown. On fourth down they would get it. From the 8 yard line, quarterback John Ayres maintained his composure and found Wes Shurock in the back corner of the end zone for the game tying touchdown. The TD reception was Shurock’s third on the evening. As a happy Shurock responded, “It was an amazing feeling knowing the team trusted me to put the ball in my hands.” Ayres added, “When the ball was snapped our line had great protection which allowed me to move around a little bit and find Wes running across the field. I threw the ball, which I knew was a 50-50 ball, but I had confidence in Wes. Sure enough Wes won that 50-50 ball to score in OT. That touchdown was one of the most amazing feelings ever.”
At 41-41, kicker Rosolino Mangiapane would enter the field to attempt the game winning PAT. Loyalsock took its overtime timeout to try and ice the junior kicker, but it would be to no avail. “Golden Leg” Mangiapane nailed it and his kick sent the Mount Carmel Area faithful into a frenzy celebrating a hard fought overtime win over a quality opponent. “I knew I had everyone counting on me, “stated Mangiapane. “I kept my composure and just did what I normally did. When I made it I was so pumped and excited.” He was a perfect 6 for 6 kicking extra points on the night, with that last one being the biggest. “I was very prepared. I was nowhere near as nervous as I was last year. I now know in my head that I can do it.” So do the Red Tornadoes as a team, who after trailing 27-7, maintained their composure for the hard fought overtime victory. “We willed it out,” said head coach John Darrah. “We played sloppy in the first half but we came out and gutted it out in the second half. Johnny Ayres really showed us what he is made of out there leading us in the second half; All of our guys did.” Ayres added, “It was a whole team effort.” Shurock responded, “I hope this performance propels us the rest of our season.” If the Tornadoes play their remaining games like they did in the second half against Loyalsock it surely will.
MCA vs. Shikellamy by Aaron Domanski
Speedy Shikellamy Runs Past MCA 35-0
Braves’ Trio of Tilford, Folk, and Mitchell shine in shutout victory
As longtime Mount Carmel Area statistician Jose Gonzalo was rattling off his all-time favorite games this week while being honored for attending 600 consecutive Red Tornado games, the Big Red’s win over Loyalsock last Friday ranked among the most memorable. The one the Tornadoes played against Todd Tilford’s Braves will rank as one to forget. Shikellamy showcased its team speed and coasted to a 35-0 win over Mount Carmel Area.
Fresh off of a heartbreaking 25-20 loss at Mountoursville, Shik needed to establish itself early in order to get momentum against MCA. They wasted no time as sophomore running back Joe Folk, who undoubtedly is one of the fastest backs in District IV, took it the distance on the Braves first drive for a 70 yard touchdown run. Senior Dylan Snyder added the PAT and Shikellamy was leading Mount Carmel Area 7-0 1:50 into the game.
The Red Tornadoes could not establish a drive on their next possession, while the Braves kept their foot on the gas. On Shik’s next drive junior running back Gabe Tilford raced 65 yards to pay dirt for the score. Snyder would add his second PAT and the Braves would lead 14-0 with 6:58 left in the first period. On the ensuing possession, MCA sophomore QB John Ayres, who was flushed out of the pocket constantly by Shik defenders all night, was stripped of the ball. It was picked up by Shikellamy senior defensive back Chris Tasker who trucked down the visitors’ sideline of the field for 32 yards to make it 20-0. Snyder would add his 3rd PAT and, just like that, the Braves increased their lead to 21-0 with 6:09 left in the quarter.
Mount Carmel Area showed signs of life on their next offensive series with a sustained 16 play drive. However, the Tornadoes turned it over on downs when John Ayres was brought down for a loss on 4th down. On Shik’s next drive they showcased the running of another speedy back in their arsenal, senior Lemier Mitchell, who gained 73 yards in the game. Mitchell and Braves would drive into Tornado territory, but the drive ended on a Shikellamy missed field goal by Dylan Snyder.
Mount Carmel QB John Ayres, the lynchpin of last week’s dramatic comeback against Loyalsock, tried to cause a spark on Big Red’s next possession. Ayres would connect on a pass to junior receiver CJ Reichard to midfield, but the Tornadoes drive would stall once again. The Braves would take over as time was winding down in the second quarter. Up 21-0, Shik found themselves calling a timeout before the half’s final play. It was at this time Shikellamy head coach Todd Tilford decided to call his team’s first pass of the game. Much like everything else for Shik on the evening, it connected. Junior quarterback Tate Krankoskie hit senior Trey Cunningham 29 yards for the score. Snyder would add the PAT and at halftime the Braves would 28-0.
Shikellamy would get the ball to start the second half, with the drive ending on a second missed field goal by the Braves Dylan Snyder. The Red Tornadoes would take over, but this week there would be no second half surge to victory for Mount Carmel Area. The Big Red held their own the rest of the way against Shik, starting with Tornado senior Zach Zarkowski recovering a fumble on the Braves next possession. The Tornadoes would drive, highlighted by a screen pass from Ayres to Reichard, but lost possession when a 4th down pass to senior Lane Tanney fell incomplete. The third quarter would end 28-0.
In the 4th quarter, with Shikellamy now with possession, Red Tornado senior cornerback Tommy McDonald intercepted Krankoskie along the visitor sideline, but the pick was nullified by a roughing the passer penalty. The Braves capitalized with junior Gabe Tilford rumbling 30 yards for Shik’s final score of the game. Snyder would add his 5th PAT, making it 35-0, which would be the final score. “I’m so proud of our kids the way they bounced back from last week,” said head coach Todd Tilford. “We had some balls bounce our way, but it seems like we’ve had an awful lot of things go against us before tonight, so I’ll take it.” Red Tornado head coach John Darrah added, “Give them a lot of credit . They wanted it more than we did. We got outplayed on both sides of the ball tonight.”
Next week Shikellamy (1-1) travels to Central Mountain. Mount Carmel Area (1-1) will host Southern Columbia (2-0) at the Silver Bowl. Prior to this rivalry matchup, the Red Tornadoes will be honoring the memory and achievements of longtime PA Announcer and Sports Information Director Phil Gergen who passed away this spring and the numerical game achievement of statistician Jose Gonzalo during pregame ceremonies.
MCA vs. Montoursville by Aaron Domanski
As the harvest moon shone brightly above the field, Heartland Conference Division II foes Mount Carmel and Montoursville battled to the final minute of play on it. The Warriors would need one final first down on a 3rd and 4, with under a minute to play, to clinch the victory in a hard fought 31-29 win. J.C. Keefer’s Warriors are now (4-0) on the season and, at this point in the season, must be considered the early favorite in District 4 “AAA” race. Mount Carmel Area falls to (1-3), but John Darrah’s Tornadoes are unquestionably playing good football and have impressed in the past two weeks, but continually stymied themselves with penalties throughout the evening. “Montoursville is good football team,” said Darrah, “but we also beat ourselves tonight. Numerous times when we got something going we would kill ourselves with a penalty. Way too many penalties that were our own fault out there tonight.”
In total, the Red Tornadoes would commit 13 penalties for 100 yards, many on offense for procedure calls that affected momentum, at times, throughout the game. Aside from the penalties, the Red Tornadoes racked up 460 yards of offense and the game served as a coming out party for Mount Carmel Area senior running back “Night Train” Lane Tanney who would catch 8 passes for 123 yards, while also rushing for 99 yards on the ground. “Getting a win would have been better, but getting 200 yards on offense is a good achievement,” Tanney said after the game. “There is no way I could have accomplished it without the way my team played. Our linemen did great blocking and Ayres did a great job throwing and keeping people guessing with his running too.” It was the Night Train who would get the scoring going for the Big Red in the first quarter, as Tanney took it 34 yards to pay dirt. Junior kicker Rosolino Mangiapane would add the PAT and Mount Carmel would hold an early 7-0 lead.
Montoursville wasted no time answering, as within two minutes, freshman running back Logan Ott would finish a Warrior drive and take it 6 yards into the end zone. Senior kicker Ethan Lazorka would add the PAT to tie it 7-7. It would only take Mount Carmel a minute to answer, as Tanney would haul in a 52 yard pass from sophomore quarterback John Ayres and take it to the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. Mangiapane would add the PAT and MCA would lead 14-7. The Warriors would answer quickly again as senior quarterback Brycen Mussina would connect with senior tight end Mitchell Rothrock for a 64 yard scoring strike. Lazorka would add his second PAT to tie the game at 14-14, where the score would stand at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter would prove as entertaining as the first with the teams continuing to trade blows back and forth in this Heartland battle. Montoursville would recover a costly fumble by Mount Carmel Area and capitalize on the short field given by the Tornado turnover. Logan Ott would take it the final 9 yards into the end zoned and, after Lazorka’s PAT, the Warriors would lead 21-14. The Tornadoes would move the ball on their next drive, with back to back catches by Tanney, but would have to eventually punt. On the next Warrior drive, Mount Carmel Area would also be gifted with a fumble recovery of their own as the Warriors would turn the ball over. This time, the Tornadoes would capitalize, as quarterback John Ayres would hit junior wingback/receiver CJ Reichard for a 26 yard pass to the 3 yard line. Ayres would take it the final 3 yards into the end zone. On the PAT, the snap took unusually long and the timing may have affected the kick, as it was missed. The Warriors would hold a slim 21-20 lead with a minute left in the half. That minute would prove useful to Montoursville as they would be able to move the ball enough for Lazorka to add a 27 yard field goal as time expired in the first half to make the score Montoursville 24, Mount Carmel 20.
The Warriors would receive the second half kick-off and wasted no time continuing the scoring pace of this game. On the second play from scrimmage, Brycen Mussina would once again connect with tight end Mitchell Rothrock on a seam route down the middle of the field. This one would hit for 74 yards and would, after Lazorka’s PAT, put the Warriors ahead 31-20, only 1 minute into the second half. Mount Carmel Area would not go away quietly and the Tornadoes, relying on the hard running of quarterback John Ayres, would respond with a touchdown. It was Ayres who would take it the final 13 yards. The two-point conversion pass, intended for MCA junior fullback Manus McCracken, would be batted down at the line of scrimmage, and Montoursville would hold a 31-26 lead. On the next drive, the Red Tornado defense would come up big; causing and recovering a second Montoursville fumble and subsequently drive into Warrior territory. Mount Carmel Area would have to settle for a field goal, as Mangiapne split the uprights from 28 yards out to cut Montoursville’s lead to 31-29, which is how the score would remain after 3 quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Warrior quarterback Brycen Mussina, who played brilliantly all night, made his only mistake of the game, throwing an interception that was picked off by the Tornadoes’ CJ Reichard. The error would not be that costly as Mount Carmel Area would go nowhere on their next possession. The Warriors would take over and were helped by a Tornado facemask penalty that brought the ball deep into MCA territory. Kicker Ethan Lazorka would attempt a 30 yard field goal, but it would not connect. Mount Carmel Area would get one final chance, as Ayres commandeered a 13 play drive to put to the Tornadoes in position to win the game. On the series, he would run for 2 first downs, while connecting with fullback Manus McCracken on another. The drive was also highlighted by a huge run by Lane Tanney down the left sideline which took the ball to the 10 yard line. Mount Carmel Area would ultimately get to the 4 yard line, but no closer, as a 3rd down pass fell incomplete. From the left hash, Mangiapane would set up for a 21 yard field goal attempt. Kicking from this difficult angle would not be forgiving, as Mangiapane’s attempt went wide left and the Warriors would hold on to their 31-29 lead.
Montoursville would have to fight for a first down on its next series to preserve the hard fought 31-29 victory. The (4-0) Warriors will travel to Jersey Shore next Friday, while the Red Tornadoes (1-3) will be hosting backyard rival North Schuylkill at the Silver Bowl for Mount Carmel Area’s homecoming game. A game that is very important to Tornadoes’ 2016 playoff hopes. “We can’t look back now. We have to keep looking forward and continue playing hard. We got to treat every game like a playoff game for the rest of the season to be successful, said a determined Lane Tanney after the game. With senior tight end Wes Shurock adding, “We basically shot ourselves in the foot tonight against Montoursville with the penalties, but we are going to fix that this week at practice. We have to. North Schuylkill is a tough team. We need to have a solid week of practice, fix our mistakes, and come ready to play next Friday night.”