Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis hoped his team would get off to a quick start against Valley View in the Lackawanna League Division 1 contest Oct. 5., and on the first play from scrimmage the Comets defense forced a turnover.
Comets defensive end Joey Arcangelo stripped Cougars fullback Rob Nardelli and Nathan Langan recovered the loose ball at the Valley View 26-yard line.
“It was very important to set the tone early on,” Arcangelo said. “I think it was the play calling and the big guys inside that really allowed the play to happen.”
Three plays later, Comets quarterback J.C. Show connected with Nate Hollander for a 23-yard score. Colin McCreary added the extra point to give Abington Heights a 7-0 lead just over a minute into the game.
“I thought it was important for us to get some momentum,” Repshis said. “That big defensive play and the ability of our offense to put some points on the board was very positive for us early in the game.”
Comets’ running back Sean Rock, who gained 110 yards on 12 carries, scored the first of his five touchdowns on a 2-yard run with 7:14 left in the first quarter.
“We wanted to make a statement,” Rock said. “We felt like we hadn’t really played up to our potential in the first five weeks.”
Show, who completed 7 of 12 passes for 161 yards, found fullback Quinn Karam for a 2-yard touchdown to cap an 8-play, 70-yard drive and give the Comets a 21-0 lead with 1:18 remaining in the first quarter. Hollander made an aerobatic catch for 37 yards and Karam followed with a 16 yard run to set up the score.
“It was a complete team effort,” Repshis said. “I thought this week was our best week of practice, and the game is the continuation of what we do Monday through Friday.”
The Abington Heights defense made another key stop early in the second quarter when Show forced a fumble that was recovered by Hollander at the Comets’ 17-yard line. Rock busted a 38-yard run on the first play of the possession and later capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run.
“We told the kids before the game if we turn the ball over and don’t make plays when we have a chance, they’re going to beat us,” Valley View head coach George Howanitz said. “They capitalized on the turnovers and made some big plays.”
Rock scored again on a 2-yard run with 4:44 left in the second quarter, stretching the Comets lead to 35-0.
Abington Heights scored touchdowns on their six consecutive possession of the first half when Rock took a shovel pass from Show 14 yards.
“It was a perfect play call,” Rock said. “I caught it and Quinn Karam laid two excellent blocks downfield. We wanted to score again before the half.”
Valley View broke into the scoring column when quarterback Robbie Pazzaglia, who rushed for 80 yards on five carries, capped an 8-play, 80-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown with 2:52 remaining in the third quarter.
Rock responded by returning the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
The Cougars registered their second score of the game on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Mitch McHale to Zach Osborne with 1:33 left in the third quarter.
Abington Heights (6-0) will face Scranton Prep (6-0) on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. at Dunmore High School.