WILKES-BARRE — Twelve quarters. Zero points allowed. Carbondale left Wilkes-Barre on Friday night with its perfect start still intact.
Carbondale’s defense found the end zone on its first snap with an interception return for a score. It was all the Chargers would need, blanking GAR in a 27-0 win at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
Fueled by that defense, the Chargers have now outscored their opponents 87-0 to open the season 3-0. The Grenadiers, meanwhile, have an 0-3 hole to climb out of over the next seven weeks.
On Friday, it started on GAR’s first play from scrimmage as Carbondale lineman Isaiah McCord picked off a pass in the backfield and strolled into the end zone for a 15-yard score.
“Kind of like a punch to the gut,” GAR coach Paul Wiedlich Jr. said. “But games aren’t based on one play. We had to respond, and unfortunately tonight we didn’t respond.”
The Grenadiers were held under 100 yards of total offense on the night after figuring in three sacks and an 11-yard loss on a punt attempt.
Carbondale’s offense made just enough plays in the first half to build a comfortable 27-0 lead at the break.
Late in the first quarter, quarterback Ricky Jones rolled right and hit Jason Martin for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down, denying GAR any momentum from a goal line stand. In the second, Jones took it in himself on a bootleg from the 1 to make it 20-0.
The Chargers went up 27-0 on a well-executed fake reverse as tailback Brad Sales (game-high 89 yards rushing) kept it himself and sped down the right sideline for a 56-yard touchdown.
“We are inexperienced offensively, but we are not young at all,” Carbondale coach Larry Gabriel III said. “We are senior-laden. Our inexperience offensively shows early in the game, but our defense is veteran right now and they’re playing well, not giving up a point.
“Obviously that goal is not realistic throughout the course of a season, but we’re playing very well right now on defense. We’re playing sound football.”
GAR had erased a 13-0 deficit in last season’s meeting to beat the Chargers, a fact that Gabriel and the coaching staff brought up to their team all week and again at halftime.
The Grenadiers’ opened the second half with their best drive of the night, reaching the Carbondale 20 before turning it over on downs following three straight incompletions.
Carbondale 27, GAR 0
CAR — Isaiah McCord 15 interception return (Jarrod Arendt kick), 8:24
CAR — Jason Martin 1 pass from Ricky Jones (Arendt kick), 2:31
CAR — Jones 1 run (kick failed), 9:23
CAR — Brad Sales 56 run (Arendt kick), 2:16
RUSHING — CAR, Brad Sales 14-89, Tim Mantis 8-30, Ricky Jones 5-21, Dominic Gigliotti 1-2, Shawn Balinas 3-1, TEAM 1-(minus-2), Jason Jablonowski 3-(minus-3), Jason Martin 2-(minus-12). GAR, Anthony Maurent 15-56, Rich Sickler 7-18, Tyler Monzon 1-0, TEAM 1-(minus-2), Dawin Reyes 1-(minus-11), Rashaun Mathis 9-(minus-12).
PASSING — CAR, Jones 6-10-1-73. GAR, Mathis 8-21-1-47.
RECEIVING — CAR, Martin 4-61, Sales 1-12, Tyler Peregrin 1-0. GAR, Sickler 4-22, Rashaun Jackson 2-18, Justin Crosby 1-6, Maurent 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS — CAR, Isaiah McCord. GAR, Lamont Gray-Dates.
MISSED FGs — None.