Neshannock started slowly on Friday night, but that’s all according to coach Fred Mozzocio’s plan.
The Lancers (3-0) capitalized on two costly second-quarter Union turnovers to flip a six-point deficit into a 40-point win with all of them coming in an unanswered fashion.
“I told the kids we were going to take the Lamborghini out of cruise control and we definitely did that,” Mozzocio said. “If we cut out those mistakes, there would have been a lot more points on the board as well.”
Down 6-0 midway through the first quarter, Neshannock fired off 20 unanswered points in the half then tacked on another 20 more in the second half for the nonconference victory. Neshannock outgained Union by a 455-124 clip, including 370-45 on the ground. Cam’Ron Owens led the way with 125 yards rushing and a touchdown, while J.R. Prossen (68), Peyton Weaver (62), Matthew Ioanilli (49) and Kurt Sommerfeld (48) all contributed to the ground attack.
“I keep telling people we have weapons, so maybe people will take notice,” Mozzocio said, adding his team showed some misdirection plays for the first time Friday. “We broke that out tonight for the first time, so you’ll be seeing a little more of that as we move forward.”
The second-quarter scores were too much for the Scotties to overcome when the game flipped from a 6-6 tie to a 20-6 deficit.
“I was worried just how long we could match their intensity,” Union coach Stacy Robinson said. “They’re going to come at you every play. They’re relentless.”
After Union lineman Antonio Faraone returned an interception to set up a Tyler Staub quarterback sneak, the Scotties seemed to be threatening again before Staub was intercepted at the 7. Two drives later, Neshannock’s Kurt Sommerfeld evened the score on a 13-yard run. The Scotties fumbled again and Neshannock made them pay when running back Matthew Ioanilli plunged in from a yard out. Neshannock stretched its lead to 20-6 at halftime as Sommerfeld found Luciano DeLillo on a drive set up when the Lancers defense intercepted Staub with just 22 seconds left in the half.
“Momentum is big, especially in high school sports,” Robinson said. “I told the kids you have to be built for the moment and produce in moments of crisis. That’s what football does to you. We’ll be ready in the morning because we start Big 7 play and every week is like this in the Big 7.”
In the second half, Owens, Weaver and Ioanilli added scores.
Both teams open league play in Week 3 and will attempt to do so in a cleaner fashion — there were six turnovers on Friday between the two teams (four for Union, including three interceptions). Neshannock was whistled for nine penalties to Union’s two as both teams were called for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the second half.