By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT — Zach Wasilewski had a monster run from about midfield to give the Red Tornadoes a 1st-and-goal down on the Loyalsock 10.
With a tied game early in the fourth quarter, Mount Carmel knew that a score would be huge.
Unfortunately for the Red Tornadoes, luck wasn’t on their side.
Wasilewski snapped it on 2nd-and-goal from the seven, but an unfortunate fumble bounced the other way, and the Lancers recovered on their own 1.
It only took Loyalsock seven plays to drive 99 yards and punch in the go-ahead touchdown.
The score — a 29-yard run by Robbie Klein — put Loyalsock ahead for the first time all night as the Lancers held on to defeat Mount Carmel, 34-27, on Friday night at Loyalsock.
It’s the second consecutive win for the Lancers over Mount Carmel.
While the 99-yard drive was huge for Loyalsock, it was a kickoff return two possessions prior that shifted some of the momentum.
Fletcher Quigley fielded the ball at his own 12 before taking off down the near sideline and, thanks to some key blocks by his teammates, broke it for a score to tie the game at 27-all.
“Against Danville he had the same situation and he ended up just going and getting pushed out of bounds. You learn from those experiences,” Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet said. “He certainly proved that he worked hard. He learned from that opportunity.
“I said in the pregame interview (that) luck is when preparation meets opportunity and tonight, we made a lot of luck and I’m happy with that,” Van Fleet added.
The Red Tornadoes (2-2) kept answering every time Loyalsock (2-2) put a score on the board to tie Mount Carmel.
Wasilewski played solid at quarterback for the Red Tornadoes, going 12-for-22 for 109 yards, including a 54-yard strike to Mike Gilger early in the first quarter.
Gilger ended the night with three receptions for a team-best 81 yards. Wasilewski also found 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end Christian Kelley (3 receptions, 42 yards) a handful of times for big conversions to move the chains.
“That’s a connection you really can’t stop,” Loyalsock quarterback Kyle Datres said of the duo. “You just got to slow it down because they’re moving the ball right down the field on us.”
The Red Tornadoes used a little trickery to get into the end zone in the final seconds of the second quarter to take a lead into the half.
Wasilewski handed it off to Kelley, who ran to his left before flicking it to junior Blake Panko. Panko then came back to his right before stopping and finding a wide open Treyvon White in the front of the end zone to make it a 21-14 game with 34 ticks remaining on the scoreboard.
Mount Carmel ended the day with 243 rushing yards, 112 coming from Panko—including a one-yard scamper with 10:47 in the fourth to play—and 80 from Wasilewski.
Datres proved yet again this season to be a tough dual threat to slow down, as he threw for 147 yards on 8 completions while rushing for 55, including a 9-yard run. The junior was responsible for the first three Lancer touchdowns.
Klein was huge for Loyalsock as well, rushing for a team-high 104 yards on 22 carries.
Mount Carmel had a huge drive between the first two quarters as the Red Tornadoes went 99 yards on 12 plays that culminated with a Gilger score to put Mount Carmel up, 14-7. Mount Carmel had half of its team’s 14 first half first downs on the drive.
The Red Tornadoes never led by more than a touchdown all game.