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Cougars triple-threat outlasts Patriots

Pittston Area cannot complete comeback in 27-13 loss

High school football coaches hope they can find one consistent running back to enhance their running game. Hazleton Area Head Coach Jim Drumheller has three go-to guys in backs Chad Hoffman, Brian Campbell, and Yousef Guzman - and he needed all three - in a 27-13 victory over the Pittston Area Patriots at Harman Geist Memorial Field last night.

“He’s another back, back there,” Drumheller said of his quarterback, Hoffman. “I can use him at tailback, fullback, he’s just a tough, tough kid and he refuses to go down.”

The Cougars found the end zone four times in their third victory of the season. All four of their touchdowns came on the ground. Campbell and Hoffman both had a pair of touchdowns for Hazleton Area, and Guzman got tough yardage when the Cougars needed it most. Hoffman rushed for 137 yards on 16 carries while Campbell churned out 89 yards on 17 carries.

Campbell put the Cougars on the board when he broke loose of Patriot defenders for a 12-yard touchdown. The PAT was missed wide left and the Cougars lead was 6-0 with 2:20 remaining in the opening quarter. Campbell’s first touchdown was made possible after a 16-yard rush by Hoffman put them in the red zone.

The Cougars extended their lead to 13-0 with 8:31 remaining in the first half. Penalties backed Hazleton back to their own 21, but that didn’t matter as Hoffman broke loose for a 60 yard touchdown.

The Patriots finally found the end zone with 5:12 remaining in the first half. Anthony Schwab found his tight end Brian Delaney for a 9-yard touchdown reception. Chris Musto added the PAT for the Patriots and the Cougars lead was tightened to just 13-7 late in the first half.

Hoffman found the end zone for the second consecutive time to give the Cougars a 19-7 lead with a 14 yard rushing touchdown. The PAT was again wide and the Patriots were in trouble with just 7:41 remaining in the third quarter.

Pittston Area responded with a score in the fourth quarter. The score would not have been possible if the Josh Blaker wouldn’t have sacked Hoffman in the backfield on fourth-and-9.

After the defense stopped the Cougars, the offense took over first-and 10 from their own 39-yard line. A series of rushes by both Marc Romanczuk and Justin Wilk set the Patriots up in the red zone. Wilk capped off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown carry. The Cougars blocked the extra point and the Patriots trailed by six with 9:26 remaining in the game.

The Cougars dampened the spirits of the Patriots, taking back momentum when Campbell went for a 61-yard jaunt. Hoffman then completed the two-point conversion to A.J. Gasser making it a 27-13 game.

Romanczuk had 95 yards on 13 carries in the Patriots loss, and Justin Wilk rushed 17 times for 89 yards.

The Patriots fell to 2-3 on the season, while the Cougars improved to 3-2.

Patriot Games

John Ameen had his fifth straight double-digit tackle game for the Patriots, checking in with 13 stops – three of which went for a loss. Dave Dragon added 11 tackles for PA, and Mike Stankoski and Josh Blaker chipped in with nine each…. Quarterback Anthony Schawb went 8-for-12 for 54 yards for Pittston Area, finding Joe Starinsky three times for 19 yards and Jordan Houseman twice for 21. Brian Delaney, Tyler Roman and Mike Chisdock each hauled in one reception each.

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