Cru­saders hold off War­riors

cough­lin 17, wy­oming area 14

The Citizens' Voice - - SPORTS - BY ERIC SHULTZ Staff Writer

WILKES-BARRE — With quar­ter­back Garrett War­dle now tak­ing snaps for Cough­lin, the Cru­saders have the ben­e­fit of two threats in their back­field.

Run­ning back Jake Cole can take car­ries as well as for­mer quar­ter­back Vin­cent Todd, who pos­sesses track speed that can get him to the out­side. When Cough­lin wasn’t hand­ing the ball off to Todd on Satur­day night, it of­ten faked such a carry to get the Wy­oming Area de­fense out of po­si­tion for a Cole run.

Even if the War­riors knew Cole was get­ting the ball, though, they needed all the help they could get to bring him down.

Cole’s bruis­ing style led to two touch­downs for Cough­lin, which had a num­ber of fourth downs go its way through­out its Week 4 matchup. An early field goal from Jeff Mon­dulick made the dif­fer­ence as the Cru­saders held off a late War­riors rally for a 17-14 win at WilkesBarre Me­mo­rial Sta­dium.

“When you have the lux­ury of hav­ing Jake Cole and Vin­cent Todd, you put the ball game in those kids’ hands,” Cough­lin coach Ciro Cinti said. “Jake was out there cramp­ing, he didn’t care. The kid’s just a fighter; he’s a com­peti­tor.”

Cole ran through arm tack­les, ini­ti­ated con­tact and ex­tended runs all night as he picked up 186 yards and two scores on 23 car­ries. His fi­nal score came with 2:44 to play, when Cinti called his num­ber again on fourt­hand-2 from 13 yards out.

The War­riors (1-3) didn’t have a chance at bring­ing him down when he got past the right tackle with a full head of steam. They couldn’t catch him ear­lier in the game, ei­ther, when he burst through the mid­dle and out-ran the sec­ondary in a race to the end zone on a 57-yard score.

“The kid’s a four-year starter for me. I wish I had him a fifth and sixth year, be­lieve me,” Cinti said.

De­spite Cole’s night, Cough­lin (2-2) needed much of the night to go its way to take the win.

The Cru­saders were about to go three-and-out on its open­ing drive when an il­le­gal block near the back­field bailed them out on a punt.

They didn’t waste the se­cond chance, as Cole and Todd moved them into the red zone. Todd’s 13-yard run got Cough­lin in­side the 5, but the War­riors stuffed Cole on three runs, and a false start on a fourth-down QB sneak forced Mon­dulick to con­vert a 23-yard field goal in­stead.

Wy­oming Area crossed mid­field on its se­cond drive and went for it on fourt­hand-2 from the 44, but the Cru­saders line made a stop inches short of a first down. Cole went 53 yards to pay­dirt on the next snap.

Down 10-7, the War­riors moved to the 15 when quar­ter­back Dominic Deluca add- ed a rough­ing penalty to his 25-yard throw to Brian Wil­liams. Deluca missed the next play hurt, though, and the War­riors fum­bled a keeper to spoil the go-ahead chance — their first turnover of the sea­son.

They still had a chance to win in the fi­nal minute. A 31-yard Deluca throw to Minichello — who had a 90-yard kick­off re­turn TD in the first half — a half­back pass by Minichello to Rob­bie Trot­tini, and Trot­tini’s fourth-down re­verse moved the War­riors down­field in a last-minute drive. Minichello scored on a 4-yard re­cep­tion, but Cough­lin re­cov­ered an on­side kick to win.

“We’re a lit­tle young, but we cer­tainly have shown we can com­pete at a high level,” War­riors coach Randy Spencer said. “Now we just have to find a way to fin­ish.”

ChriSto­Pher dolan / Staff Pho­tog­ra­Pher

Cough­lin’s Jake Cole, left, moves the ball as Wy­oming Area’s Dim­itri Dip­i­etro reaches out for a tackle dur­ing Satur­day night’s game.

CHRISTO­PHER DOLAN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Cough­lin’s Vin­cent Todd (2) runs with the ball.

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