For The Daily Item
MOUNT CARMEL — Dominic Farronato’s future may be at quarterback for Mount Carmel, however, on Friday night the sophomore standout displayed his prowess on defense with a pair of interceptions that helped the Red Tornadoes hold off stubborn Selinsgrove, 24-19, at the Silver Bowl.
The Red Tornadoes were holding onto a 6-0 lead with the Seals driving when the sophomore defensive back stepped in front of an Isaiah Rapp pass on the 10-yard line and followed a bevy of blockers down the left sideline for a 90-yard touchdown that injected the Mount Carmel Area sideline with a much-needed jolt of momentum.
“Dominic studies film all week long and he was waiting for that particular pass play and was right there in position to pick it off,” Red Tornadoes’ coach Carmen DeFrancesco said. “Our defense was solid all night long and made the big plays when we needed them but give credit to Selinsgrove because they kept battling back.”
Treyvon White set up the first Red Tornadoes’ score when he intercepted a tipped pass that gave the ball to MC on its own 24. On the first play from scrimmage, he then took a screen pass 21 yards to the 45 and two plays later Kyle Karycki ran for 17. Another screen two plays later was caught by Blake Panko for a 29-yard pickup to the 1 where, on the next play, Zack Wasilewski bulled his way into the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
Farronato’s interception return put the Red Tornadoes on top 12-0 and Karycki helped increase the advantage to 18-0 on a 45-yard touchdown romp with 10 minutes left in the half.
The Seals finally got their offense untracked and used a 12-play, 69-yard drive to get on the scoreboard when Curtis Banasiak caught an 18-yard TD strike from Isaiah Rapp on fourth down to trim the Selinsgrove deficit to 18-6.
Neither team could manage to score in the third quarter but the fourth period saw the two squads combine for 19 points. The Red Tornadoes needed every bit of its vaunted defense to keep the Seals from taking the lead while the offensive line provided enough openings to keep drives alive and allow the home team to hold on for the win. But it wasn’t easy.
Joe Dormer, who provided the heroics in the thrilling win over North Schuylkill last week, gave the Red Tornadoes what looked like a comfortable 24-6 lead with an eight-yard TD catch with 8:09 left.
Selinsgrove started its comeback with a great tipped pass catch by Dylan Beaver, who kept his concentration on a pass tipped in his direction, and took the ball 70 yards to pull the Seals to within 24-12.
The Seals then executed a perfect on-sides kick and with Rapp connecting with Ben Kahn four times for 37 yards the Red Tornadoes suddenly had Selinsgrove on its three where Conner Liesenfeld went over for the score to cut the deficit to 24-19.
However, playoff-driven Mount Carmel got great offensive line play down the stretch and was able to run out the clock and collect the win.
“We spread the field more in the second half and threw the ball,” Seals coach David Hess said. “The onside kick was a big emotional lift but we hurt ourselves with too many mistakes and against a team like Mount Carmel you can’t let that happen.”