By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
MOUNT CARMEL — You couldn’t have blamed Mount Carmel quarterback Zach Wasilewski if he had run the other way.
The game between Southern Columbia and Mount Carmel, in a battle of 2-0 and state-ranked teams, was long over, the Tigers winning 45-7.
Between on-field interviews, Southern Columbia senior Robert Delbo spotted Mount Carmel quarterback Zach Wasilewski and called him over. The two had a friendly chat before Wasilewski headed off and Delbo did another interview.
Surprisingly Wasilewski did not cringe or go into the fetal position as Delbo stepped toward him.
The 5-foot-11-inch, 205-pound Tiger harassed his buddy all night, sacking him three times as the Tigers’ defense imposed its will on the Red Tornadoes (2-1) and their new read-option attack to the tune of negative seven rushing yards.
"We definitely were keying on Zach coming into the game. We knew he is a big power runner and he’s a big part of their offensive scheme. Our plan was to come in here and put some pressure on him," Delbo said.
"Robert started all last year but I almost looked at it tonight like this was a break-out game for him," Southern Coach Jim Roth said. "That’s the level he’s capable of playing at."
He added, "I’m definitely most pleased about the defense because they’ve been behind the offense from day one this year."
The Tigers got on a roll, as the Tigers are known to do, and racked up an amazing 25 first-quarter points.
After forcing a three-and-out to open the game, Southern lineman Ken Fegley blocked a punt, setting up the Tigers’ offense at the Mount Carmel 23-yard line. Becker completed a pass to Luke Rarig to the one and fullback Adam Feudale finished the job.
Then, on the second play of Mount Carmel’s next possession, Rarig picked off a pass at the MC 31 and returned it to the 24. Becker then went for the jugular, hitting Nate Hunter on a 24-yard touchdown strike.
Another three-and-out and Southern quickly scored again, on a 9-yard run by Hunter.
Another defensive stop led to the Tigers’ fourth score, a 13-yard run by Feudale. That score was set up by a Becker-to-Blake Marks 36-yard hook-up on which Marks broke several tackles after catching a short pass in the flat.
The Tigers made it 25-0 on a 26-yard run by Feudale before Mount Carmel got on the board on a 40-yard pass from Wasilewski to Tyler Thompson.
The Tigers (3-0) finished with 317 yards rushing and held the Red Tornadoes to negative seven.
In addition to Delbo, senior defensive end Mitch Stanziale and senior linebacker Cody Pavlick had big games for the Tigers’ defense.
With Mount Carmel stacking the box, Roth got to unleash his latest weapon, sophomore quarterback Becker (139 yards, two TDs).
"We have some good receivers and it’s a matter of Nick playing the way he’s capable and having a little bit of confidence," Roth said.
Mount Carmel coach Carmen DeFrancesco said, "We really thought we had a good chance to win."
But he believes the coaches got lulled into thinking that Southern was not as good as they proved to be because they seem to play up or down to their competition.
"They came to play tonight and they just put it to us," he said.