WILKES-BARRE – Muhlenberg's one-two punch in the backfield of Ben Ortiz and Francisco German wore down Coughlin, knocking out the Crusaders 42-20 in an Eastern Conference Class 3A semifinal game on Friday night at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
Ortiz ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, while German added 103 yards and two touchdowns to pace a Muhls offense that amassed 461 total yards.
We didn't tackle for (anything), Coughlin head coach Ciro Cinti said. Fundamentally it was the worst game we played all year. We were out of position a lot of times. We let our emotions get the best of us and we didn't play very well.
Following a German 6-yard touchdown run to open the scoring with 4:26 remaining in the first quarter, the Crusaders responded when Hunter Bednarcyk returned the kickoff 74 yards, leading to a Zac Evans 14-yard touchdown run on an option pitch with 2:28 left in the quarter.
The Crusaders then took a 10-play drive into Muhls territory early in the second quarter, before it was stunted, and Coughlin was forced to punt.
On the next play for the Muhls, Ben Ortiz took the handoff and tip-toed along the left sideline, broke a couple arm tackles and exploded for an 86-yard touchdown to break the tie with 7:27 left in the first half.
Coughlin's offense continued to struggle, and after a quick three plays, were forced to punt.
Ortiz found the end zone again for the Muhls, this time a 15-yard touchdown run up the middle with 5:05 left in the second quarter, following a 36-yard catch by Jorge Alvarez on a rocket pass from quarterback Adam Huber.
The Crusaders then put together a solid drive and quarterback Tim Pilch rolled out to his left after a play-action fake to find Bednarcyk in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown.
Muhlenberg led 21-13 at half.
After another Ortiz touchdown run to open the second half, Zac Evans responded by marching the Crusaders back into Muhls territory. Coughlin then went to a trick play where Evans tossed a 24-yard completion to Corey Keen at the 1-yard line, and Pilch punched it in to close the gap to 28-20 with 5:52 left.
The Muhls countered a minute later with a 36-yard touchdown pass by Huber to Alvarez, and Muhlenberg didn't look back. Huber passed for 187 yards.
We were never out of the game, Cinti said. It's a matter of that we have to stop someone once in a while, we can't let them run up and down the sideline without making tackles. It's very simple.
Evans rushed for 113 yards on 23 carries to lead the Crusaders, capping senior season where he ran for more than 1,600 yards.
He's a very hard worker and a dedicated kid, Cinti said. He's always been a good motivator. We'll miss him a great deal.
Eastern Conference Class 3A Semifinal
Muhlenberg 42, Coughlin 20
MUL – Francisco German 6 run (Nana Anim kick), 4:26
COU – Zac Evans 14 run (Hunter Bednarcyk kick), 2:28
MUL – Ben Ortiz 86 run (Anim kick), 7:27
MUL – Ben Ortiz 15 run (Anim kick), 5:05
COU – Hunter Bedarcyk 15 rec from Adam Huber (kick blocked), 0:46
MUL – Ben Ortiz 8 run (Anim kick), 9:03
COU – Tim Pilch 1 run (Bedarcyk kick), 5:52
MUL – Jorge Alvarez 36 pass from Adam Huber (Anim kick), 4:20
MUL – Francisco German 12 run (Anim kick), 8:34
RUSHING – MUL: Ben Ortiz 12-147, Francisco German 17-103, Adam Huber 5-23, Jorge Alvarez 1-1
COU: Zac Evans 23-113, Paul Cole 7-26, Hunter Bednarcyk 1-6, Tim Pilch 10-(-10)
PASSING – MUL: Adam Huber 9-11-0-187
COU: Tim Pilch 2-9-0-28, Zac Evans 1-1-0-24, Ryan Gorki 0-1-1-0
RECEIVING – MUL: Elias Quinter 3-10, Brock Stoudt 1-19, Jorge Alvarez 3-82, Francisco German 1-12, Dakota Thompson 1-64
COU: Corey Keen 1-24, Hunter Bednarcyk 2-28