Indians drop a Category-5 pow-wow on Hurricanes
Written by: Josh Funk on Saturday, September 6th, 2008
INDIANA, Pa. – The New Castle Red Hurricane’s trip to Indiana could be summed up in three ways: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good: New Castle rolled up 389 yards of offense and tallied 20 first downs. Moving the ball was not an issue.
The bad: New Castle allowed Indiana 409 yards of total offense and an over five yards per carry average.
The ugly: New Castle’s season could get worse before it gets better.
The Hurricanes (0-2 overall, 0-0 Parkway Conference) allowed Indiana’s (2-0 overall, 0-0 Greater Allegheny Conference) Veer-option offense to dictate the flow and tempo of the game, and Indiana won 27-18 in a non-conference showdown at Fifth Street Stadium in Indiana.
Hurricane head coach Frank Bongivengo just shook his head when he heard the final stats for the Little Indians.
“You’re telling me,” Bongivengo said. “If we’re allowing 300 yards rushing per game, we aren’t going to win many football games.”
Actually, Indiana only totaled 288 rushing yards for the game. But it might as well have felt like 300 yards to Bongivengo, because the Little Indians ran seemingly at will all game long.
Quarterback Ben Fiscus was a big reason why the Indiana offense ran so proficiently this night. The senior, operating out of the “Navy” formation, ran for 139 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and completed 7-of-12 passes for 121 yards with an interception.
It wasn’t just Fiscus contributing to the attack, either. Fullback Jay Pettina chipped in with 20 rushes for 74 yards and a score, and Vinnie Gatti added nine rushes for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
“We beat a very good team tonight,” Indiana head coach Mark Zilinskas said. “We wanted to do two things – out-hustle them and out-execute them. It was an outstanding effort on both sides of the ball.”
Indiana got things started when Fiscus called his own number and scored from nine yards out with 7:30 left in the first half. Indiana led 6-0 at halftime when New Castle quarterback Michael Bongivengo’s hail-mary pass sailed into the arms of Pettina.
But New Castle roared to life in the second half. Spear-headed by a Jujuan Jay 47-yard kickoff return, the Hurricanes knotted the score at 6-apiece three plays later when Keith Keene (12 rushes, 98 yards, TD) scored from 15 yards out.
“We’ve moved the ball very well,” Frank Bongivengo said. “In our first two scrimmages, even last week, we moved the ball very well. But we’ve got to shore some things up defensively.”
Indiana, taking advantage of the Hurricane defense, responded when Pettina crossed the goal line from two yards out, building the Indians’ lead to 13-6.
Indiana increased the margin to 20-6 when Gatti scored from 13 yards out just four and a half minutes later. That scoring drive was set up by another Indian interception of Michael Bongivengo, his second of the night and fourth INT of the season.
#6 for New Castle (Bongivengo) would atone for the second pick with a two-yard touchdown run just two plays into the fourth quarter to cut the Indiana lead to 20-12. But after that 11:07 juncture of the fourth quarter, New Castle didn’t see the ball until there was less than two minutes left in the game.
When New Castle finally did see the ball, down 27-12 with 1:47 left, it marched 95 yards and scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Michael Razzano.
For the game, Michael Bongivengo finished 20-of-25 for 204 yards with the touchdown and two INTs. Justin Fleo added two rushes for 31 yards for New Castle.
Indiana, which plays its next two games against Kiski Area and Peters Township, could easily find itself 4-0 entering conference play in three weeks.
Zilinskas didn’t want to hear any of it. “I’m not thinking about conference play – I’m not thinking about anything right now,” he said. “This game is a week-to-week thing.”
New Castle, which travels to Parkway Conference powerhouse Blackhawk next week, might not want to be thinking about potentially facing an 0-3 hole to open the season.
That prospect could be even uglier than the first two weeks.
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