With a trip to the district championship game on the line, Mount Carmel will take its elite rushing attack to the gridiron against North Penn-Mansfield at the Silver Bowl tomorrow at 1 p.m.
The Red Tornadoes ran the ball 49 times and had 328 yards on the ground versus Towanda in last week’s District 4 quarterfinal matchup.
Noah Berkoski scored Mount Carmel’s first two touchdowns of the contest and Shane Weidner had 93 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Tyler Owens was also effective when his number was called to carry the ball. The sophomore ran the ball nine times for 53 yards as John Ayres did not play due to injury.
Mount Carmel head coach John Darrah said Ayres has practiced all week and will be back in action versus the Panthers.
Dylan Pupo and Damon Dowkus had 52 and 31 yards respectively as Mount Carmel won its ninth game of the season.
How can North Penn-Mansfield slow down the Red Tornadoes rushing attack on Saturday? Head coach Tom Dickinson said his squad will crowd the line of scrimmage.
“They have so many players that can kill you there. We’re going to crowd the box and try and make reads. We want to be able to flow with the pullers and cause disruption. We don’t want them to break for long plays,” Dickinson explained.
Mount Carmel’s defense also recovered three fumbles and intercepted Towanda quarterback Tanner Kunkle twice.
The Red Tornadoes will have to shut down a North Penn-Mansfield offense that is led by senior quarterback Brent Burleigh, who has thrown for 17 touchdowns and allowed only four interceptions.
“He’s a good player. He runs the offense well. He lets guys do their thing,” Darrah said.
The Panthers ground attack has averaged 5.6 yards per carry this season.
Senior tailback Mikah Kolb leads the team in rushing with 831 to go along with seven touchdowns.
Garrett David has 621 yards on the ground plus 12 scores for the Panthers, but the back has a total of 54 yards the past three weeks combined.
North Penn-Mansfield is loaded with senior talent as its top five receivers are in their final seasons.
Panther Dylan Meyer has 424 yards receiving and four touchdowns catches.
“We’ve gotta throw throw the ball around a bit better. We have to get our playmakers the ball in space and spread the ball around. We need to make good decisions,” Dickinson added.
In a District 4 quarterfinal meeting last week, the Panthers defeated Bloomsburg 16-6 as their defense took the ball away three times.
North Penn-Mansfield has held opponents to an average of 14 points the past three weeks.
“Defensively, they’re real disciplined. It’s a sound defense and they know how to take care of their responsibilities,” Darrah added.
Panthers John and Roch Minnich have combined for 10.5 sacks this year.
David leads the Panthers in tackles with 97.
North Penn Mansfield is riding the waves of an eight-game winning streak.
The Panthers only scored six points through the first three quarters in their matchup with Bloom last week. However, they outscored Bloom 10-0 in the fourth quarter.