Old Forge quarterback got the ball out quickly to Tommy Souriyavong, and the Blue Devils receiver ran the screen in for a long a touchdown.
It gave Old Forge a lead in the third, but just as importantly, set up the game-winning strike in the fourth quarter.
Trailing by five with a little more than three minutes to play, Lucarelli faked the screen to Souriyavong and instead launched it downfield to Anthony Rios. Rios hauled in the 62-yard touchdown, and Old Forge handed No. 3 Lackawanna Trail its first loss, 28-21, in a Division IV game at Lions Pride Stadium on Friday.
Old Forge (5-2, 3-0 Division IV) clinched at least a tie for the division title. Another win or a loss by Trail (6-1, 2-1) would give the Blue Devils the outright title.
“Last time we played them last year, (we) killed them with the bubbles,” said Lucarelli, who finished with 162 yards passing. “So, they were expecting it tonight. Tommy still made plays and they thought it was coming again. But the fake, perfect route by Rios — touchdown.”
Quarterback Nate Rolka calmly marched the Lions down the field to retake the lead after Souriyavong’s touchdown. He ran for 10 yards, hooked up with Jordan Edwards for 12 and, after a pass interference penalty wiped out an interception, found Edwards wide open for a go-ahead 14-yard score with 59 seconds to play in the third. Rolka’s two-point run had his team up, 21-16.
Trail controlled most of the game to that point, but a couple key turnovers and quick strikes kept Old Forge in the game. Just before Rios’ touchdown, the Lions had a score called back after Rolka hurdled a defender and Trail instead turned it over on downs.
Souriyavong’s bubble-screen TD covered 51 yards and was Old Forge’s first big strike of the night.
“Coach had a great play, guys designed (it) up for me,” Souriyavong said of the sprint that had his team up, 16-13, with 4:53 to go in the third. “It was an amazing block by my wide receivers.”
Needing another big play, the Blue Devils this time faked the screen and Rios outran his defender and hauled in the long touchdown for a 22-21 lead with 3:04 to play.
“The feeling (when the ball is in the air) is, it’s hype,” Rios said. “I’ve got to concentrate, focus on the point of the ball to secure it in my hands, try to shed the tackle and make a score.”
On the ensuing drive, Old Forge brought down Rolka just short of the line to gain on fourth down. Rolka finished with 107 yards rushing, 132 yards passing and two total touchdowns.
With Lackawanna Trail out of timeouts, Old Forge bled the clock. Souriyavong took a fourth-down toss 29 yards for a touchdown with no time left on the clock to cap it.
“We can’t give up those quick strikes,” Lackawanna Trail coach Steve Jervis said. “That’s kind of uncharacteristic of us. We’re better than that. We’ve got to get back to work and clean up the mistakes. One game doesn’t define us. I’m sure we’re going to see them again in a couple weeks.”
Old Forge 28, Trail 21
Old Forge 8 0 8 12 — 28
Trail 7 0 14 0 — 21
OF - DiGregorio 11 run (DiGregorio run). 5:13 LT - Resto 83 kickoff return (Melnikoff kick). 4:59
LT - Rolka 2 run (kick no good). 8:01 OF - Souriyavong 51 pass from Lucarelli (DiGregorio run). 4:53 LT - Edwards 14 pass from Rolka (Rolka run). 0:59
OF - Rios 62 pass from Lucarelli (run failed). 3:04
First Downs 12 10
Rush-Att-Yards 30-146 37-199
Comp-Att-Int 9-16-0 10-22-1
Passing Yards 162 132
Total Yards 308 331
Punts-Average 4-39.0 1-16.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-62 5-35
Rushing: OF – K.Pepsin 15-63; T.Souriyavong 4-32, 1 TD; M.DiGregorio 5-22, 1 TD; D.Lucarelli 2-19; C.Holzman 2-7; J.Lynwood 2-3. LT – N.Rolka 22-107, 1 TD; J.Resto 5-43; R.Melnikoff 7-40; C.Moyle 3-9; Team - 0-0.
Passing: OF – D.Lucarelli 9-16-0, 162, 2 TDs. LT – N.Rolka 10-21-1, 132, 1 TD; Team - 1-0.
Receiving: OF – A.Rios 4-81, 1 TD; B. Wargo 2-13; T.Souriyavong 2-54, 1 TD; C. Holzman 1-14. LT – J.Edwards 7-73, 1 TD; N.Berrios 1-9; J.Resto 1-50; R.Melnikoff 1-0