By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
ALMEDIA – Treyvon White had given glimpses of his game-changing potential in the past, enough that Mount Carmel coach Carmen DeFrancesco wasn’t shocked by the junior’s second half Friday at Central Columbia.
Count DeFrancesco among the few.
White packed a season’s worth of highlights into 24 minutes of game time, sparking the Red Tornadoes’ surge from an eight-point halftime deficit to a much-needed 36-22 win in a Heartland Athletic Conference Division II game.
Mount Carmel’s receiving leader through five weeks with 17 catches for 252 yards, White basically doubled those totals against the Blue Jays, with all but one 10-yard catch coming in the second half. He also intercepted a pair of passes after halftime (two of the Tornadoes’ five picks in the game), and made an acrobatic grab of a 2-point pass for a 30-22 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“Treyvon had a career game ... and he did it on both sides of the ball,” said DeFrancesco. “This was an all-star game for him. I told him to save this film.”
Mike Gilger and Kyle Karycki returned interceptions for touchdowns (one in each half) as Mount Carmel halted a three-game losing streak to get back to .500 (3-3, 2-2 HAC-II).
Central (3-3, 2-2) lost for the third straight week and second time on its new turf field, despite matching the Tornadoes with 276 yards of offense.
“We certainly expect to win football games, but compared to the effort and the intensity level and speed we played with, it was a totally different ballgame than the past two weeks,” said Blue Jays coach Jason Hippenstiel. “There’s no doubt we were an intense football team.”
Central kept the ball away from Mount Carmel for all but 2 minutes, 39 seconds of the first quarter. The Jays grinded out a 16-play, 50-yard touchdown drive by converting pairs of third- and fourth downs.
Then Mount Carmel scored twice just 2 minutes, 35 seconds apart. The first (aided by a controversial recovery of a muffed fair catch when Danny Koch was leveled by Tyler Thompson) was a 9-yard pass from Zach Wasilewski to Christian Kelley on third-and-8. The other was a 75-yard pick six by Gilger.
The Jays, however, reclaimed the lead by halftime with big passes from Steve Shannon. Lewis Williams, a 5-foot-7, 156-pound junior, beat double coverage for a 42-yard bomb that set up a 1-yard Frankie Tewell touchdown. Williams then hauled in a 35-yard gain to flip the field, and later spun away from a defender to score with an 11-yard catch.
“Lewis is a tremendous athlete and we definitely try to get him the football when we can,” said Hippenstiel. “He’s a special kid.”
Williams finished the half with five grabs for 105 yards, and Central led 22-14.
“It was not good in that first half,” said DeFrancesco. “They made some great plays. We weren’t making the plays in the first half; they were making them. That’s a recipe for not good.”
“We were down eight and we knew that we were lucky. It could have been worse.”
Mount Carmel’s first drive of the second half opened with a 14-yard catch by White, but stalled in the red zone. After Kelley picked off Shannon by deflecting a pass to himself, the Tornadoes tied it at 22 with a 30-yard flanker pass from Dominic Farranato to White.
A little more than a minute later, White made a leaping pick of a deep shot on a third-and-3.
“We had a bunch of third-down-and-2-type situations that we expected them to stack the run, and we had some people open and just didn’t make the play,” said Hippenstiel, whose team had only two first downs in the second half.
Wasilewski, who finished with 112 passing yards, threw a pinpoint dart to White on fourth-and-8 from the Central 30 early in the fourth. That 15-yard gain, and a subsequent 10-yard burst after a catch by White, set up Blake Panko’s go-ahead TD.
White, who had eight catches for 126 yards, leaped high and snared the back of the ball on the 2-point pass for a 30-22 lead.
Central’s defense held on fourth down with 3 minutes to play, and, after moving toward midfield, Karycki stepped in front of a cross-field throw and returned it 42 yards to score. White picked off Shannon on the Jays’ next play from scrimmage, returning it 30 yards inside the 10 with a less than a minute to play.
“The kids decided in the locker room at halftime that they were going to come out and play inspired football, and they did,” said DeFrancesco. “They were all over the place. We’re really proud of them.”