With Old Forge quarterback Dante Lucarelli sidelined because of an illness, the Blue Devils turned Friday’s game over to their rushing attack and their defense.
The Blue Devils ran for 264 yards, forced three turnovers and scored a touchdown on defense to post a 26-7 win over Lackawanna Trail in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division IV game at Old Forge Memorial Stadium.
Hezekiah Deitz rushed for 110 yards and Kevin Pepsin had 88 yards on the ground and a touchdown to lead the way for Old Forge (5-1, 2-0 Division IV).
Old Forge forced a punt on Lackawanna Trail’s first drive and then moved 60 yards in 12 plays. In the second quarter, Deitz stepped in front of a screen pass for an interception and ran 43 yards for a touchdown to give the Blue Devils a 13-0 lead.
Lackawanna Trail’s (4-3, 2-1) offense got on track on its next drive. Ray Melnikoff broke a 20-yard run on the first play and Nico Berrios rushed three times for 23 yards on the eight-play drive. Melnikoff ran up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 13-7 at halftime.
Old Forge took control with a six-play, 72-yard drive to open the second half. Deitz had four carries for 34 yards and Pepsin broke a run to his right and ran 34 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 19-7.
With the win, Old Forge clinched a tie for the Division IV title.
“We will focus on being more physical on both the offensive and defensive line (against Hanover),” said Lackawanna trail head coach Steve Jervis. “We put together a great drive in the second quarter, so we just need to focus on being more consistent.”
He added, “We have to eliminate mistakes in big games to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Jervis said, “We look forward to back on the field this Friday night for annual senior night and to perform in front of our home crowd.”
Old Forge 26, Trail 7
Trail 0 7 0 0 7
Old Forge 6 7 6 7 26
OF - Weaver 11 pass from DiGregorio (run failed). 2:13
OF - Deitz 43 interception return (Krenitsky kick). 6:59
LT - Melnikoff 3 run (Melnikoff kick). 3:00 Third quarter
OF - Pepsin 34 run (kick failed). 8:09 Fourth quarter
OF - DiGregorio 13 run (Krenitsky kick). 1:42
First Downs 12 12
Rush-Att-Yard 35-121 43-264
Comp-Att-Int 3-10-2 2-7-1
Passing Yards 48 14
Total Yards 169 278
Punts-Average 3-20.0 2-25.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 5-44 6-55
Rushing: LT- R. Melnikoff 14-84, 1 TD; J. Resto 4-18; K. Cresswell 3-18; J. Brown 2-8; N. Berrios 10-(-3); Team - 2-(-4). OF- H. Deitz 12-110; K. Pepsin 18-88, 1 TD; M. DiGregorio 11-64, 1 TD; C. Holzman 1-3; Team - 1-(-1).
Passing: LT- N. Berrios 3-10-2, 48. OF- M. DiGregorio 2-7-1, 14, 1 TD.
Receiving: LT- J. Resto 1-30; J. Brown 1-3; J. Halter 1-15. OF- T. Carey 1-3; Z. Weaver 1-11, 1 TD.