HS FOOTBALL: Pittston Area Takes Thriller
NANTICOKE — Mistakes are prone to happen in the first week of football season.
But it takes just one mistake to stop a potential game-winning drive.
Nanticoke quarterback Colby Butczynski’s head was turned toward the sideline when a shotgun snap sailed past him with less than 20 seconds left.
Pittston Area recovered to stop the Trojans’ two-minute drill and win, 28-21, on the road Friday.
Pittston Area found its rhythm running the ball behind Dylan Lukachko’s 82 yards. But the passing game took over as Michael Nocito threw for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Bryan Giambra caught all three scores.
“I was pleased with how we ran the ball. The more we run it, the better it sets up our play action,” Pittston Area head coach Nick Barbieri said. “Nocito in his first start, he’s young and inexperienced, but I thought he played great.”
Nocito-to-Giambra touchdown connections bookended a 20-point second quarter for the Patriots.
Capitalizing on one of three Nanticoke turnovers, the pair hooked up for a 19-yard touchdown on third-and-goal to start the quarter. Then, Nocito found the senior for a seven-yard score as time expired in the half. Nocito also scored on a sneak to cap a drive that started in Nanticoke territory in the second quarter.
“I thought he delivered the ball well,” Barbieri said. “Giambra’s a great receiver. Krawczyk’s another great receiver. So we have weapons. We just have to make sure we get them the ball.”
The junior quarterback found his favorite target two more times on a fourth-quarter drive that sealed the victory, including another six-yard touchdown strike on fourth down.
Nanticoke’s offense was more run heavy.
The Trojans opened their first drive with six consecutive runs, but Nanticoke capped the drive when Butczynski found a wide-open Darren Boseman in the endzone for a 30-yard touchdown strike.
Butczynski passed for 87 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Joe Ammons rushed for 177 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and fullback Colin Kashatus added 51 yards.
“Joe is a workhorse,” Nanticoke head coach Ron Bruza said. “We rely on him a lot on both sides of the football, and he didn’t hit his stride yet. He rushed for over 170 out of his stride, so if he were in his stride now, he’d be very, very productive.
After Pittston Area’s first score, Ammons bounced a run outside for an 85-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 14-6, but two three-and-outs allowed the Patriots to take a 20-14 lead into halftime.
Butczynski tied the game with another 30-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Szchowski, who did most of the work, catching a short pass in the flat and avoiding defenders.
Facing a seven-point deficit, the Trojans forced a three-and-out and had one last chance to at least tie the game. Butczynski engineered a two-minute drill, but the botched shotgun snap solidified the Pittston Area victory.
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