WILKES-BARRE ‚?? Mike Barrett looked like a man who went through 12 rounds of a heavyweight championship fight.
The Pittston Area coach was exhausted and drained.
Luckily, his quarterback wasn‚??t.
Kyle Gattuso ignited a Patriot offense that scored 26 points in the third quarter and held off a ferocious Coughlin comeback in the fourth quarter en route to a 38-36 victory in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3A game that lasted more than three hours.
‚??I thought I was going to have a heart attack,‚?Ě Barrett said.
Not with Gattuso on his side.
The athlete did a little bit of everything, rushing for 135 yards, passing for almost 100 and even catching a pass.
He hauled in a pass from 17 yards out that ignited a 26-point third quarter that was capped off by a 77-yard interception return by Jordan Houseman to give the Patriots (3-4) a commanding, 38-15 lead with eight to play.
‚??We never gave up,‚?Ě Gattuso said. ‚??It felt great. We had confidence that we could win this game. We are back in the playoff race now. We just had to keep thinking positive. That‚??s all it takes. The offensive line was great in the second half. They did a great job of firing off the ball.‚?Ě
It wasn‚??t easy, though, and almost slipped through the cracks.
Coughlin‚??s Zac Evans, who ran for almost 200 yards, scored three times in the fourth quarter ‚?? the last a 5-yard run to cut it within 38-36 with 3:14 left. But the Pittston Area defense stopped the game-tying two-point conversion by a mere yard as Coughlin fell to 4-3.
‚??They are a great team, and great teams always find a way to come back,‚?Ě Barrett said. ‚??And they almost did. They are physical, and we couldn‚??t stop the run in the fourth quarter. They really started to take the game over. I feel that if we play the way we are capable of playing, we can compete with anyone.‚?Ě
Coughlin had one final chance, driving the ball all the way to the Pittston 30, but one sack erased any hopes of a field goal and a last-second Hail Mary effort was picked off by Joe Starinsky at the 5.
‚??We can‚??t excuse the amount of penalties and the amount of turnovers that we had,‚?Ě Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said. ‚??The game with Pittston is always a good game. There is no doubt about it. Throw the records out because they don‚??t matter when you play this game.
‚??You can‚??t turn the ball over that many times. You can‚??t give up 26 points in a single quarter. The penalties and the mental mistakes are the things that I‚??m most disappointed in. I‚??m proud that the kids fought back, and I knew they would. But you can‚??t keep making those mistakes and beat good teams.‚?Ě
Coughlin jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on a 20-yard run by Paul Cole.
Pittston Area 38, Coughlin 36
COU ‚?? Paul Cole 20 run (Hunter Bednarczyk kick), 7:54
PIT ‚?? Joe Starinsky 18 pass from James Emmett (kick missed), 1:24
PIT ‚?? Marc Romanczuk 6 run (run failed), 11:42
COU ‚?? Zac Evans 3 run (Evans run), 1:21
PIT ‚?? Kyle Gattuso 17 pass from Emmett (Emmett to Starinsky), 10:38
PIT ‚?? Romanczuk 1 run (run failed), 5:59
PIT ‚?? Justin Wilk 4 run (pass failed), 1:49
PIT ‚?? Jordan Houseman 77 interception return (pass failed), 1:12
COU ‚?? Evans 3 run (Bednarczyk kick), 8:10
OU ‚?? Evans 15 run (Evans run), 5:53
COU ‚?? Evans 5 run (run failed), 3:14
|Team Statistics||Pitt Area||Coughlin|
RUSHING ‚?? PA, Joe Giambra 1-15, Joe Starinsky 1-6, Marc Romanczuk 11-52, Jordan Houseman 1-13, Justin Wilk 4-7, Kyle Gattuso 9-135, James Emmett 5-(minus-20). Coughlin, Zac Evans 27-187, Paul Cole 8-51, Tim Pilch 10-8, team 1-(minus-2)
PASSING ‚?? PA, Emmett 5-6-0-81, Gattuso 3-8-1-99; Coughlin, Pilch 8-17-3-103, Bednarczyk 0-1-0-0
RECEIVING ‚?? PA, Starinsky 4-78, Romanczuk 1-19, Michael Schwab 1-49, Houseman 2-17, Gattuso 1-17; Coughlin, Evans 2-13, Corey Keen 4-39, Anthony Khalife 1-37, Bednarczyk 1-14
INTS ‚?? PA, Houseman 2, Starinsky; Coughlin, Bednarczyk
MISSED FGS ‚?? None