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Coughlin set for season to kick off

Crusaders tune up for regular season with scrimmage at WB Memorial Stadium.

Coughlin quarterback Matt McClosky looks for an open receiver.

FRED ADAMS/THE TIMES LEADER

WILKES-BARRE – For a dress rehearsal, it went pretty smoothly Friday.

Opening night, though, is what really matters for Wyoming Valley Conference football teams like Coughlin, which completed two grueling weeks of two-a-day practices with a scrimmage at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.

For the record, Coughlin scored three touchdowns while preventing Lackawanna Trail from getting into the end zone. The Crusaders also had a 66-yard touchdown run by tailback Justin Koslosky wiped out by a penalty.

Not that the score mattered too much to Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti. He was looking for depth and less mistakes in the Crusaders’ second scrimmage prior to opening Friday night against city rival Meyers.

“We felt we’re right where we should be for the second week of practice,” Cinti said. “That doesn’t mean we’re outstanding by no means. We’ve gotten better than in the first week, now we have to move on to the regular season.”

The teams ran simulated game situations – starting on their 30-yard line, attempting to get first downs and surrendering the ball only after being stopped or scoring.

But Coughlin’s first touchdown, during a segment when each team had 10 plays to move the ball, won’t be seen during a game.

Receiver Derrick Harold caught a short pass from Matt McClosky, weaved through the Trail secondary – and four Trail coaches on the field – to score.

Harold caught another TD pass and Matt Shimshock scored on a 39-yard run to complete the scoring.

“It gives us a good look playing against kids that aren’t from around here,” said Koslosky, who four carries for 38 yards in Coughlin’s first 10-play segment. “Running plays against your friends, it’s a lot different.”

Stopping someone who isn’t a classmate is as well. But Coughlin succeeded for a good portion of the scrimmage, limiting Trail’s success.

It left the Crusaders feeling good about their accomplishments thus far, but even better that two-a-days are over and they can prepare for a real game with bands, cheerleaders and much more than the 100 or so people who showed up Friday.

“It’s the first game and there’s not much more you can ask for,” defensive lineman/tight end Mike Mitchell said. “All the scrimmages are over, now we get down to business.”

NEXT WEEKEND’S SEASON OPENERS

Friday, Aug. 29

(7 p.m.)

Abington Heights at Hazleton Area

Berwick at Crestwood

Coughlin at Meyers

Hanover Area at Lake-Lehman

Lourdes Regional at Northwest

Nanticoke at Wyoming Area

Pittston Area at Tunkhannock

Scranton at Wyoming Valley West

Saturday, Aug. 30

Williamsport at Dallas, 1 p.m.

GAR at Holy Redeemer, 7 p.m.

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