LEWISBURG — Preparing for Mount Carmel’s rush attack is a tall order for any opposing coach. Throw in the big-play ability of the Red Tornadoes’ pass attack and it was too much for Lewisburg Friday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on the campus of Bucknell University.
Mount Carmel rushed for four touchdowns — three for more than 25 yards — and threw for two others that went for more than 40 yards as the Red Tornadoes trounced Lewisburg, 40-20, in a Heartland Athletic Conference crossover matchup.
Mount Carmel improved to 2-1 while Lewisburg suffered its first loss and fell to 2-1.
“It’s a nightmare to prepare for it,” said Lewisburg Coach Marc Persing, discussing the Mount Carmel rush attack after the game. “They are physical up front and you have all those bodies coming at you all at once. (John) Ayres just tiptoes until he finds and hole, then he cuts through it.”
It didn’t take long for Mount Carmel to establish itself on the ground. The Red Tornadoes took the opening kick and mounted a five-play, 29-yard scoring drive, which ended with Ayres rumbling 6 yards in for the game’s first score. The point after failed.
Defensively, the Tornadoes forced a four and out, but sputtered on its second drive, going four and out and punting the ball back to the Green Dragons.
Lewisburg gained some momentum and had nearly pushed into the red zone when Max Moyers coughed up the ball on a 5-yard run to the Tornadoes’ 28. Avery Demko recovered and Mount Carmel marched 82 yards on five plays, capped by a Shane Weidner 23-yard run for a score and a 13-0 lead. Ayres punched it in to complete the 2-point conversion and Mount Carmel led 14-0.
“That’s our brand of football,” said Mount Carmel coach John Darrah. “We want to take what people give us.”
Lewisburg, in addition to going down two scores, lost one of its key playmakers on that drive as well as Dylan Farronato — who just this week committed to Davidson — went down with a knee injury. Coupled with a visibly hobbled QB Nick Shedleski it was clear Lewisburg was not operating on all cylinders.
“That’s football,” said Persing, whose team dealt with injuries last year as well. “Unfortunately, we’re probably going to be without Dylan the rest of the year.”
Neither offense managed anything over the next couple of drives and Lewisburg failed to capitalize on a Brett Newcomb pick of Reisinger deep in Mount Carmel territory. The Dragons pushed into the red zone and inside the 10, but stalled at the seven and the Red Tornadoes’ Tanner Karycki blocked a 24-yard field goal attempt by Jack Dieffenderfer.
Lewisburg made it a bit more interesting on its next possession, mounting a eight-play, 59-yard, drive that resulted in QB Ethan Spaulding plunging into the end zone from a yard out. Dieffenderfer’s PAT made it 14-7.
Mount Carmel wasn’t finished, though, and the Tornadoes marched an impressive 74 yards with just over 2:30 on the clock to put additional points on the board before heading to the locker room. Ayres carried the ball four times in the drive, then on first and 10 from the Dragons’ 45, Reisinger found a wide open Jack Chapman for a 45-yard pass and catch to give the Tornadoes a 20-7 lead. Julien Stellar’s point after made it 21-7 at the half.
Lewisburg got the ball to start the second half and quickly stalled, forcing Dakotah Snyder to punt. Mount Carmel wasted no time getting back on the board when Reisinger found Ayres for a 10-yard score and a 27-7 lead. Reisinger and Chapman again hooked up for a big gainer through the air.
“I think our passing game has improved over last year,” said Darrah. “We’re just going to take advantage of what they give us. We saw that early and missed it, then came back to it.”
Max Moyers, who rushed for 147 yards, got into the end zone late in the third, rushing in from two yards out to trim the lead to 27-14, but Mount Carmel came right back as Weidner broke free for a 46-yard scamper to make it 33-14.
After forcing Lewisburg to punt, the Tornadoes got the ball and needed just three plays to cover 81 yards. Karycki scampered 42 yards for the score and a 40-14 lead.
Lewisburg tacked on seven late as Spaulding punched it in from 17 yards out. Dieffenderfer’s PAT made it 40-20.
Ayres finished with 117 rushing yards and a score. Weidner added 114 and the two scores. Reisinger completed just three passes, but amassed 122 yards and two touchdowns. Mount Carmel rushed for 351 yards versus Lewisburg’s 175 on the ground.
Lewisburg is back in action next week when Milton comes to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Mount Carmel continues its tough early slate when it heads to Jersey Shore next week.