Pittston Area defensive end Tyler Roman brings down Crestwood quarterback Nick Aigeldinger on Friday night.photo by BILL TARUTIS
Pittston Area’s Jordan Houseman, right, makes a reception against Crestwood’s Tiler Black in Wright Township on Friday night.Photo by BILL TARUTIS
After an emotional come-from-behind victory over Scranton on Monday, Pittston Area just didn’t have anymore to give.
Forced to play two games in five days due to the flooding which struck northeastern Pennsylvania, the short break was not so kind to the Patriots as they fell 54-31 to undefeated Crestwood in a Wyoming Valley Conference Class 3A game on Friday night in Mountaintop.
The Comets jumped out an early 28-7 lead in the first half and never looked back.
Luck was hardly on the Patriots side when the Comets recovered an onside kick to start the game. Less than two minutes into the game, Crestwood quarterback Nick Aigeldinger bulldozed his way into the end zone. He then added the extra point giving the Comets the 7-0 lead.
Pittston Area (2-1) bounced back tying the game at 7-7 with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter. Anthony Schwab dropped back, but could not find an open receiver. So the senior signal-caller navigated his way around several Comet defenders and went seven yards for the score. Chris Musto continued his PAT success as he split the uprights in his first attempt of the night.
But Crestwood posted 21 unanswered points in the remainder of the first half, taking a three-touchdown advantage to the locker room.
The Comets added another score in the third quarter when Roger Legg broke for a 9-yard touchdown, and all of a sudden, the Patriots were down 35-7. However, rather than rollover and quit, the Patriots offense ignited midway through the third quarter.
“I thought we moved the ball well in the second half and that’s what I wanted to see,” PA Head Coach Mike Barrett said. “Defensively we were very poor. We didn’t tackle very well at all. They had some great athletes.”
Justin Wilk continued his consistency in the backfield, by traveling four yards into the end zone. The Patriots decided to go for the two point conversion and it proved to be the right choice. Schwab found freshman Kyle Gattuso in the back corner of the end zone. The Comet lead was now 35-15.
Crestwood responded as Nick Powell went on a 46-yard jaunt widening the gap to 42-15 with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter.
Aigeldinger then added his second rushing touchdown of the night extending the Comets lead to 48-15 with 2:00 left in the third. The extra point was missed wide right.
The Patriots answered with a touchdown of their own just one minute later.
Gattuso broke loose for 46 yards and Wilk finished the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. Schwab again completed the two-point conversion. This time, he found Joe Starinsky in the corner of the end zone to get PA within 48-23.
Marc Romanczuck found the end zone for the first time in the game with 4:26 remaining after Crestwood went ahead 54-23. He pounded his way through the Comets line for the one-yard score. Schwab made it a perfect 3-for-3 on two-point conversions when he found Evan Hahn in the back of the end zone to close the scoring at 54-31.
Gattuso was the bright spot on the Patriots offense. He rushed nine times for 106 yards, including big gains of 21 yards, 46 yards and 11 yards.
“He had a heck of a game, he’s going to be alright,” Barrett said. “He is a young kid with a very bright future and we moved the ball up and down the field in the second half.”
Jordan Houseman led the receiving core with four catches for 54 yards but left the game in the second half with an arm injury. Houseman had ice on his forearm on the sidelines but Barrett didn’t believe the injury was serious.
“He took a pretty hard hit,” Barrett said. “Then in the second half he came down on it and might have hyper-extended it a bit, but I think he will be alright.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier on Friday night when Pittston Area hosts Dallas on Friday night at Charley Trippi Stadium.
“They could have quit and they didn’t and that’s what I wanted to see,” Barrett said. “We will get back on the board and we will get ready for Dallas and see how it goes,”