DALLAS: Mannello Credits Work Ethic For Mountaineers’ 2-0 Start
WRIGHT TWP. — Success breeds interest.
So, if you notice a heightened sense of enthusiasm around Dallas football, it’s likely tied to the team’s first 2-0 start in four years.
The Mountaineers scored 16 points Friday night before they even allowed a first down, riding that hot start and a bunch of talented juniors to a 32-12 win at Crestwood in Wyoming Valley Conference action.
“It all starts in the weight room,” said head coach Rich Mannello. “They are so committed to that building and doing things the right way in the weight room. Because of it, our overall team speed — obviously, the strength gains are there — but the overall team speed is as fast as we’ve been since we got here.”
Junior quarterback Michael Starbuck accounted for three touchdowns in the first half, running one in and tossing a pair of scores to fellow 11th-graders Matt Maransky and Luke DelGaudio.
Crestwood tried coming back in the second half, but that’s when Dallas junior running back Lenny Kelley caught fire and rushed for the bulk of his 152 yards on the ground.
“Weight room,” Mannello said again, this time referring to Kelley. “He’s a tremendous weight lifter. He’s a wrestler. That football/wrestling combination, added to the weight room, those are different kids. And they’re all like that. They’re all committed to that.”
Leading 16-0 after a pair of touchdowns, as well as a safety that occurred on a botched Crestwood punt snap that bounced out of the end zone, Dallas took complete control into halftime thanks to its touchdown with 57 seconds left in the first half.
Starbuck put a perfect touch on his throw and found DelGaudio, who ran a fade route into the back-right corner of the end zone, giving Dallas a 22-0 lead.
However, Crestwood clawed back with a touchdown drive in the third quarter.
Unfazed even after committing a pair of penalties that backed them up from the Dallas 1 to the Dallas 21, Crestwood quarterback Chase Passman threw a 21-yard touchdown to Brandon Niemenski that made it 22-6.
Niemenski had 106 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven catches, while Ryan Petrosky caught three passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.
All 162 of Passman’s passing yards went to Niemenski and Petrosky, while Passman suffered five sacks but still gained 23 rushing yards.
“Those receivers, that’s a nice group,” Mannello said of his opponent. “(Passman) throws a nice football. The kid hung in there. We were after him and he kept standing in there. He never got light feet all night long.”
In addition to its touchdowns and safety, Dallas earned three points on a 27-yard kick in the fourth quarter by Ryan Fisher.
Dallas is 2-0 for the first time since 2014. Crestwood, meanwhile, dropped to 1-1 with the loss.
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