HAZLETON – Two trips inside the Hazleton Area 10-yard line in the first half produced no points Friday night.
The remedy, according to Crestwood running back Evan Callaghan, was quite simple.
"It's all about making it up. It's all about making it up."
That – considering what happened over the final two quarters – might be the understatement of the season so far.
Callaghan and fellow running back Frank Aigeldinger ran all over Hazleton Area in the second half, gaining 237 of their combined 275 yards as Crestwood went on for a 33-13 victory in a Wyoming Valley Conference interdivisional game.
Callaghan and Aigeldinger put the game out of reach with two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. Callaghan scored from 49 yards out, getting a great block from Aigeldinger in the process. Aigeldinger added a 96-yard TD run with 3:01 left as Crestwood (5-1) scored the game's final 33 points.
"I felt some guy coming up to me," Aigeldinger said. "It was like, ‘This is going to be a run to the end zone.' It was a foot race."
The first half, though, was rather plodding for Crestwood. Hazleton Area (1-5) opened the game with a 12-play, 59-yard touchdown drive, with running back Zach Zukoski doing the most of the work and running back Jeff Fendrick capping it with a 1-yard run.
The Cougars then increased their lead to 13-0 on their next drive, with a 62-yard pass to Devion Barlow setting an 8-yard run by Fendrick.
Meanwhile, Crestwood's offense did little except for a 53-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Kota Kishel. The Comets had just 100 yards of offense in the first half, and just 35 on the ground on 12 carries.
But Crestwood scored on its first four possessions of the second half as the ground game took control. Callaghan had just 18 yards in the first half and finished with 112 on 19 rushes. Aigeldinger appeared set to be second in the rushing statistics until his 96-yarder gave him 153 for the game.
Both totals were career rushing highs for the two Comets.
"I give this whole game to the line. All the credit to the line," said Callaghan, as Aigeldinger added his approval to the statement.
It was a line that was a bit patchwork as Cade Bekanich and Chris Yokimcus started on the left side for the first time due to injuries. They along with regular interior linemen Teddy Grozio, Dean Gregory and Kristian Givens helped Crestwood rush for a season-high 297 yards.
"In that third quarter, we were running right behind (Bekanich and Yokimcus) every single time," Crestwood coach Greg Myers said. "They did a great job. I'm proud of both of them stepping in there."
Hazleton Area's running game went in the opposite direction. After gaining 97 yards in the first half, the Cougars had just 12 more in the second. Quarterback Julius Ward had impressive numbers – 17 of 27 for 153 yards – but had to resort to short passes during the failed rally attempt.
Crestwood 33, Hazleton Area 13
HA – Jeff Fendrick 1 run (kick failed), 6:34
HA – Fendrick 8 run (Danny Mendoza run), 4:09
CRE – Kota Kishel 53 pass from Jay Popson (Evan Callaghan kick), 4:25
CRE – Kishell 24 pass from Popson (kick failed), 7:25
CRE – Frank Aigeldinger 10 run (Callaghan kick), 11:55
CRE – Callaghan 49 run (Callaghan kick), 8:39
CRE – Aigeldinger 96 run (kick failed), 3:01
|Team Statistics||Crestwood||Haz Area|
RUSHING – Crestwood, Callaghan 19-122, Aigeldinger 12-153, Popson 1-7, Kishel 2-10, Brandon Cole 1-4, Mike Legg 1-1. Hazleton Area, Zach Zukoski 10-46, Fendrick 9-26, Nick George 4-25, Julius Ward 6-10, Devion Barlow 1-2.
PASSING – Crestwood, Popson 4-11-1-111. Hazleton Area, Ward 17-27-2-153.
RECEIVING – Crestwood, Kishel 4-111. Hazleton Area, Zack Kehler 6-46, Barlow 3-74, Zukoski 1-4, Fendrick 2-3, Jeff Ochs 3-9, Gavin Kopczynskie 1-14, Danny Conahan 1-3.
INTS – Crestwood, Kishel, Andre D'Souza. Hazleton Area, Kehler.
MISSED FGS – none.