Nanticoke Area Rallies To Edge Coughlin

September 8, 2018
Nanticoke Area Rallies To Edge Coughlin

NANTICOKE — Frustrations on the sideline were audibly clear, and for good reason.

Nanticoke Area put up zero points for three quarters. But, while the offense seemed stagnant, a few Trojans could be heard putting the game in perspective.

We’re only down six.

That rally cry may have sparked the Nanticoke Area offense as it took the lead with under five minutes left to beat Coughlin, 7-6, at home Friday night.

Keanu Ammons returned a punt 30 yards to set up the game-winning drive in Coughlin territory after forcing a three-and-out. His brother, Joe Ammons, who finished the night with 38 yards rushing, and quarterback Colby Butczynski drove the ball into the red zone on the ground.

Keanu Ammons capped that drive he helped set up with a 12-yard touchdown on a reverse to tie the game at six.

“I had to get in the end zone,” Keanu Ammons said. “I saw my guard pull, I followed him and went from there.”

A penalty made the game-winning extra point harder, but Ricky Klepadlo connected, improving Nanticoke Area to 2-1.

“We never quit,” Nanticoke Area head coach Ron Bruza said. “We straightened out at halftime, and our guys kept digging in, kept fighting, bent but didn’t break, and when it mattered most we capitalized.”

Coughlin (0-3) took an early lead on its second play from scrimmage when Garrett Wardle rolled right and hit Rafael McCoy, who burned the Trojan defense for a 70-yard touchdown. But the Crusaders failed to convert on a fake extra point, keeping the lead at 6-0.

The score stayed that way for almost 40 minutes, but each team had its chances to change that.

Coughlin turned the ball over on downs inside the red zone twice, and after Darren Boseman intercepted Wardle to set the Trojans up in good field position, Nanticoke Area lost a fumble inside its own 20 yard line.

Although the score would indicate a defensive stalemate, the Crusaders had 267 total yards of offense to Nanticoke Area’s 75. Wardle led with 131 passing yards, 106 of which were to McCoy. Despite the offense, the Trojans’ red zone defense held strong.

“Coughlin did a great job,” Bruza said. “Coach Ciro (Cinti) had his guys ready. … Our defense, we’re starting to come around, too. We have a lot of athletes, and we can play with a lot of teams this year.”

Wardle took one last shot into the end zone on fourth down, but the Trojan secondary had it covered.

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