Hurricanes topple Bridgers
The 2002 version of the Big Red Machine was hitting on all cylinders tonight at Ambridge High School and it was the Bridgers that took the pounding.
On their opening drive the Canes pounded the ball down the field in six plays for a score and then on the ensuing kickoff Zach Mariacher pounded the Ambridge kick returner causing a fumble which the Hurricanes recovered and the beating was on. As the Canes thumped the Bridgers 46-7.
New Castle took the opening kickoff at the 28-yard line and mixed running and passing to jump to an early lead. First it was Robert Calhoun for seven yards around the left end then Mariacher for five more up the middle. QB Ross Crist then dropped back and hit tight end Allen Billyk for 19 yards to move the ball to the Ambridge 41. On the next play Crist tossed a quick pass down the line to Noah Elliot in the slot and he rumbled 29-yards to the 12. After a run for no gain Crist hit Mariacher in the endzone for the score. Joey Harvey hit the PAT and the Canes led 7-0 at the 9:11 mark of the first period.
David Colella then boomed the first his many long kicks tonight forcing the Bridgers receiver Rashad Murry pick the ball up at the five. Murry managed to elude 10 Hurricanes and had just stepped into the open when Mariacher crushed him and the ball squirted free and the Canes recovered after a large scrum, on their own 43.
Crist called his own number and ran 19 yards, but the play was called back due to a penalty.
Next Crist handed off to Calhoun who ran all the way to the Ambridge 24, but this play too was called back, this time for holding.
Finally on the next play Crist threw down field to Steven Threats, the pass fell incomplete but Ambridge was called for interference and the Canes moved into Ambridge territory at the 39.
Six plays later, including a Crist scramble for 24-yards, the Red Hurricanes were on the scoreboard again as Calhoun plunged in from one yard out. The snap on the PAT was bad so the Canes lead was 13-0 at 5:01 of the first quarter.
Ambridge got 24 yards by running on their first three plays of this possession but then QB Riley Wallace under a lot of pressure put the ball in the air and Mariacher snatched it and ran 50-yards for a Hurricanes touchdown. This time Harvey missed the PAT but the Canes upped the lead to 19-0, still in the first quarter.
After just two more Ambridge plays Robert Calhoun picked off another Wallace pass.
Six plays later the Canes completed the 25-yard drive when Crist picked up a fumbled snap and wriggled into the endzone for the touchdown. Harveys PAT was good and New Castles lead was 26-0 at the 11:51 mark of the second period.
Colellas kickoff was a blast, as it landed at the one and bounded through the endzone for a touchback so the Bridgers started on their own 20.
Three plays had accomplished only minus one yard for Ambridge and they lined up to punt. The snap to the punter was low and he picked it up and ran 27 yards for a first-down. This time though three plays later cornerback Matt Campbell pulled down a Wallace pass and raced 56-yards, with good blocking by the Canes, to the endzone. The PAT was good and the Hurricanes lead was now 33-0 with 7:00 left in the second period.
To this point in the game the Canes defense had done everything right especially holding in check Ambridges star running back Steffan Brinson. The first play of this series by Ambridge saw Brinson try to get outside but DB Brandon Brothers came up strong, shed the blocker and nailed Brinson for a six-yard loss. Two plays later Ambridge fumbled and Billy Runyon recovered on the Ambridge 25-yard line.
With a 33-point lead many starters went to the bench including Ross Crist as Colella took over at QB with 5:01 left in the half.
The Canes moved to the 15-yard line hampered by another penalty and Harvey attempted 34-yard field goal, which missed.
Ambridge then handed the ball off to Brinson who broke out for 17 yards. Then back to Brinson again, he was stopped by the middle of the Canes line but broke to the outside and ran 63 yards for the Bridgers first score. The PAT was good and the score, with just 56 seconds to play in the half was 33-7.
Ambridge got the opening kickoff of the second half but went just three plays and out and the Canes took over at their own 37.
New Castle promptly fumbled the ball away.
On the next play however Ambridge did the same thing and the Canes had the ball right back.
Colella handed off to Calhoun on the first play and he broke through the line and sprinted 63 yards for another touchdown. The PAT was good and the lead was 40-7.
Three more plays by the Bridgers netted them minus 4 yards and they punted from their own endzone.
Leon Ward fielded the ball at his own 27 and returned it to the eight. Four plays later Colella took it in from the three on an option. A penalty on the PAT forced a 26 yard attempt that was no good. At 5:18 of the third period the Canes lead was 39, 46-7 and the mercy rule was now in effect for the rest of the game.
Neither team scored again as each team played some young players. With Brothers looking good at running back for the Canes and Soph. QB Chris Harvey handing off to his brother Joey at running back.
Robert Calhoun led all runners with 111 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. While Ross Crist had 5 carries for 44 yards and a score, and was 6 for 11 passing for 60 yards, while playing less than a quarter and a half. David Colella was 2 for 4 passing for 23 yards and scored once on the ground. Leon Ward had a catch for 15 yards, Allen Billyk had two for 27, Noah Elliot had one for 29 and Zach Mariacher had a catch for a touchdown and an interception return for a score. While Matt Campbell had and interception return for a score.