Pittston Area has been plagued by the running game through the first two weeks of the 2013 season.
In week 1 against Abington Heights, the Patriots gave up 236 yards on the ground. A week later, Scranton amassed 200 rushing yards.
Things were different Friday at Crestwood, but not for the good.
Crestwood ran for 510 yards, 323 from running back Frank Aigeldinger, and completed only one pass for a yard en route to a 55-14 bewildering of the visiting Patriots.
“They were stronger up front,” Pittston Area coach Mike Barrett said. “That was it. They were getting guys on the perimeter. They were just really strong.”
Aigeldinger, in Crestwood’s sweeping offense, carried the ball 21 times and scored four more touchdowns to add to his already impressive season resume. The Patriots had no answer to the Comet front seven, or the Crestwood (2-1) lead blockers.
“Of course I scored touchdowns and that’s great,” Aigeldinger said. “But we had some really great blocking up front. The line and the fullbacks executed perfectly.”
Behind leading men Jacob Zbegner and Matt Bobeck, Aigeldinger had a pair of touchdowns over 60 yards in the second half — he already added a 19-yard and a 3-yard score in the second quarter.
“We certainly utilize our fullbacks mainly as blockers,” Crestwood coach Greg Myers said. “That was the case tonight. They deserve a lot of credit. Of course the offensive line played great, too. But those two fullbacks are just excellent inside.”
Pittston Area’s only real highlight of the night was when Josh John returned a kickoff 94 yards right up the middle for a touchdown. But that wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter.
But the Patriot offense was impressive early. Pittston Area went to their passing attack. Emmett was efficient early in the pocket, going 6-of-9 in the first half for 73 yards. However, he finished by only completing one pass in the second half. Much of that was due to the Comet pass rush, which had six sacks.
“I think we had the pass game there all night,” Barrett said. “From about the second quarter on we just couldn’t protect the quarterback.”
After battling a pair of Lackawanna Conference teams the past two weeks, Pittston Area (0-3) was looking for a little more defensively in its 2013 WVC debut. Many of Crestwood’s long plays went via the sweep, and some turned that sweep into a reverse.
The Patriots didn’t really have an answer.
Crestwood built an early 14-0 cushion with touchdown runs from Brandon Cole and Tanner Kahlau. The Comets covered nearly 120 yards in those two drives.
But Pittston Area was able to answer. Starting at their own 18, quarterback James Emmett hit Kyle Gattuso for 30 yards up the seam. Add a pair of Comet penalties and two plays later Hassan Maxwell slashed and dashed from 8 yards out to make it 14-6.
But that’s pretty much the last of Pittston Area’s offense, which finished with only 134 total yards.
That’s when Aigeldinger and the Comets rushing attack really exploded. Aigeldinger answered the Pittston Area score with 10:36 to play in the second. And just before halftime, the swift tailback went 19 yards for a score and a 27-6 halftime lead.
Aigeldinger had 179 yards on the ground at halftime. Pittston Area had just 107 total yards.
On the opening drive of the second half, he capped a 7-play drive with a 61-yard touchdown right through the heart of the Patriot defense.
“Our offense is set up to pound it - misdirection plays,” Aigeldinger said. “Motivation. The coaches are always on us to be ready for every game.”
Crestwood’s dominance continued as the mercy rule was coming into play. Up 34-6, Aigeldinger went for another run of over 65 yards that sprung the Comet faithful into a frenzy.
Crestwood went on to score twice more. Mike Bobeck and Jay Popson each carried to the end zone from inside 10 yards.