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Before the game, the speakers at NexTier Stadium at Seneca Valley High blared AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”

It was a perfect metaphor for the Western Pennsylvania WarHawks’ offense.

The New Castle Thunder, coming off a loss last week to the Pittsburgh Colts, beat the WarHawks 21-3 on Saturday night at Seneca Valley High. The Thunder moved to 7-2 on the season while the WarHawks dropped to 2-5-1.

“We were the more physical team today, and we won the turnover battle,” Thunder coach Rick Razzano said. “We didn’t beat ourselves and we fought hard tonight.”

New Castle’s special teams unit played a large role in the victory. Trailing 3-0 in the second quarter, the Thunder got a piece of a Western Pennsylvania punt and recovered at its 33-yard line. After six consecutive running plays got New Castle to the 6-yard line, newly acquired running back Robert Calhoun scored on a run up the middle to make it 7-3.

Calhoun, who joined the team last week, is a former running back at New Castle High and California University of Pennsylvania. He had five rushes for 20 yards on the night.

New Castle’s special teams continued to shine in the third quarter when Eric Reighert recovered a fumble by the punter, putting the ball at the Thunder 20-yard line.

Fullback Jason Tanner rumbled 19 yards on the next play to the 1-yard line. Quarterback Josh Orr then scored on a keeper, making it 14-3 Thunder.

“Our special teams have been outstanding the past few weeks,” Razzano said. “We had some new guys out there tonight. They played their hearts out.”

The Thunder defense played solid as well, limiting the WarHawks to only 96 total yards.

Defensive coordinator Bob Razzano said that one player stood out the most.

“I can’t say enough about the job Steve Celli did tonight. He made some great plays, key plays.”

Celli registered two sacks and made plays all over the field.

“We know we can’t allow many points and we have to hold teams,” defensive back Gary Stone said. “We all stepped up and I give credit to our offense and special teams.”

“The whole defense gave effort and was enthusiastic. A great team defensive effort,” Bob Razzano said.

New Castle closed the scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter when running back Steve Cupec took a pitch and went in from one-yard out, making it 21-3. Cupec had 56 yards on the ground. Tanner led the Thunder, which had 189 rushing yards, with 59 yards on 10 carries.

“The run game was great. That’s us, a power running team,” Cupec said. “Our fullbacks really stepped it up, too.”

According to team owner Anthony Razzano, the Thunder will qualify for the North American Football League national playoffs with a victory next week over the Columbus Fire.

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