MOUNT CARMEL — It’s no secret that Mount Carmel struggled on the defensive side of the ball last season.
So coach Carm DeFrancesco switched to a 3-4 defense in the offseason, away from the Oklahoma 5-2.
And if the first two games of the season are any indication, his players have had no problems with the change.
After an opening-night shutout, the Red Tornadoes defense limited Lewisburg to just eight rushing yards until its final two drives, while quarterback Zach Wasilewski accounted for three touchdowns as Mount Carmel downed Lewisburg 30-14 in a Heartland Athletic Conference Division II contest at the Silver Bowl.
The Red Tornadoes (2-0 overall, 1-0 HAC-II) used a dominating second half to secure the victory. After gaining just 49 yards in the opening half, the Mount Carmel offense had 162 yards in the second half, which was more than enough for the Mount Carmel defense on Friday night.
Lewisburg (1-1, 0-1) gained 56 of its game total of 64 yards rushing on its final two possessions, when Mount Carmel led 30-8. The Red Tornadoes also did an outstanding job on pass defense, despite just one sack. Its constant pressure forced Lewisburg quarterback Nick Costagliola to hurry throws and forced an intentional grounding in the end zone. When the Green Dragons were able to complete a pass, they averaged just 8.9 yards per catch. Subtract a 25-yard TD pass and a 21-yard pass for a first down and Lewisburg averaged 6.1 yards per catch.
The Green Dragons’ defense was just as stout, allowing just one drive in the game, the Red Tornadoes opening march of the second half. Lewisburg was hindered by its special teams’ play at times with a blocked punt in the end zone resulting in a touchdown, plus a long return setting up the opening touchdown by the Red Tornadoes.
"Last week we won the special teams battle and we made some mistakes at critical times (on special teams tonight)," Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn said. "It wasn’t just special teams, our offense didn’t play very well. I thought we were going in the right direction on the offensive line, but obviously we have some things to work on."