Old Forge, Montrose earn wins away from home over Sabers, Crusaders.
SUSQUEHANNA — Tommy Souriyavong gave Old Forge the little spark and jolt it needed to stay undefeated.
His quick stride and soft hands produced touchdowns in the passing game and on special teams, and he had a fumble recovery and an interception, helping the seventh-ranked Blue Devils earn a 42-13 win over Susquehanna on a steamy Saturday afternoon at William Emminger Memorial Field.
Old Forge (4-0 overall, 3-0 Division III), kept pace with Dunmore at the top of the Lackawanna Football Conference Division III standings and handed Susquehanna (3-1, 2-1) its first loss of the season.
“I am very happy,” Souriyavong said. “We have been practicing every day looking forward to this game. We came out and showed what Blue Devils football is all about.”
Souriyavong, a shifty receiver and kick returner, had a 51-yard punt return for a score during a 24-point first-quarter onslaught by the Blue Devils, and added touchdown receptions of 25 and 28 yards.
His fumble recovery on the game’s opening play got the Blue Devils going quickly and his interception in the fourth quarter allowed them to seize possession and run out the final 11:08 of game play with the running clock.
“We try to start out fast,” Souriyavong said. “We want to get the teams worn down early.”
Old Forge gained a slight measure of revenge against the Sabers.
Last season, Susquehanna defeated the Blue Devils, 40-13, in a special Eastern Conference playoff game in the season finale for both teams.
Brendan Mozeleski, who is in his fourth year as a starter, powered the Old Forge offense on the ground.
Like a battering ram, the 5-foot-10, 205-pound senior pounded himself into the center of the Susquehanna defense, then found some clear sailing after bouncing outside, totaling 178 yards and two touchdowns.
“This week, the coaches reminded us of what happened last year, but this is a new year and a new team,” Mozeleski said. “We have great leadership on this team. We really want to work hard.
“We had to come back and just do our thing. Our defense was very good, I thought. Overall, it was a good effort.”
Old Forge got to work from the opening kickoff and overwhelmed the Sabers with a quick wave of intensity.
After Souriyavong recovered a fumble on Susquehanna’s first play, Mozeleski darted 32 yards for a touchdown. Old Forge struggled in the kicking game all afternoon with penalties and execution, failing to convert any pointafter touchdown attempts.
Old Forge forced a threeand-out and a punt, which Souriyavong cradled and took right back along the Susquehanna sideline for a 51-yard score and a 12-0 lead.
“All I saw was blocking,” Souriyavong said. “Everybody was blocking. There was a good hole and all I had to do was cut outside and score the touchdown.”
Tyler Carey blocked Susquehanna’s next punt attempt. Mozeleski followed with a 12-yard run and freshman quarterback Dante Lucarelli scored on a 1-yard dive to push the margin to 18-0 with 5:40 left in the first quarter.
On their next possession, the Blue Devils crossed the goal line again. Sophomore running back Kevin Pepsin finished a 7-play, 64-yard drive with a 3-yard run giving Old Forge a 24-0 lead on 12 offensive plays.
Old Forge increased the margin to 30-0 when Lucarelli found Souriyavong for a 25-yard score in the second quarter. Lucarelli finished with 87 yards passing and his two scores to Souriyavong.
“We knew they were going to come in angry and we thought we were ready for that,” Susquehanna coach Kyle Cook said. “They are very good. They are strong and they are fast. They are a lot better than they were last year and we made a lot of mistakes. “We got into too deep a hole to come back from.”
Susquehanna responded when Sam Cosmello caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Stone. But the Sabers had trouble moving the ball all game, grinding out 69 yards rushing on 26 carries, while earning only four first downs.
Old Forge pushed the lead to 42-6 with two scoring drives in the third quarter. Lucarelli found Souriyavong for a 28-yard score with 10:47 left, and Mozeleski scored on a 17-yard run, one play after a bad snap on a punt landed the Blue Devils in scoring position with 8:04 to play in the third.
Mason Deakin caught a 1-yard touchdown pass for Susquehanna to close out the scoring at 3:21 of the third.