DALLAS – Even if Dallas first-year coach Bob Zaruta saw the Gatorade container being hoisted behind him, he wasn't going to escape a drenching.
Because he couldn't.
So he stood there as gallons of water cascaded over his head – and crutches – as a symbolic gesture of triumph in Dallas' 17-7 victory over Coughlin on Saturday afternoon.
Dallas improved to 1-3 in Division 3A of the Wyoming Valley Conference. Coughlin fell to 3-1.
Zaruta fractured his right knee last Friday when a Berwick player smashed into him. He spent Saturday in the pressbox, where he got a bird's eye view of his initial coaching win.
"I just saw players our there playing their hearts out to no end, leaving nothing on this field against a very good Coughlin football team," Zaruta said. "So they should be proud of their accomplishments today."
The Mountaineers scored on offense, defense and special teams. The latter came on a 42-yard field goal by Ryan Kozloski, the first of his career and the longest in the WVC this season. The boot, which easily cleared the crossbar, came with 4:04 remaining to give Dallas a 17-7 advantage.
Coughlin's last hopes ended when Dallas linebacker Mike Mihal recorded the Mountaineers' fourth interception of the game. Defensive back Justin Mucha had two picks and Kozloski had one.
Kozloski's interception resulted in the first touchdown of the game as he stepped in front of a pass and returned it 26 yards for a score at 6:59 of the first quarter.
"As the guy came out, I saw him start to break and I went to cover his break," Kozloski said. "The quarterback, I don't know if it was a bad throw or whatever, he threw it behind even where I thought he was going to throw it. I just stuck my hands out and caught it. I saw my friend Zach Macosky in front of me and I knew we were taking it to the house."
Coughlin answered the score just before the end of the first quarter. Quarterback Tim Pilch lofted a pass to the left side, where a wide-open Corey Keen made an easy catch for a 35-yard touchdown.
Dallas, though, came up with the biggest play of the game four plays later. Quarterback Ryan Zapoticky escaped the rush and found wide receiver Jason Simonovich down field. Simonovich shook off a tackler, picked up a block from Kozloski and was dragged down 72 yards later at the Coughlin 1-yard line.
It took three plays to score as Zapoticky flipped a 3-yard TD pass to Simonovich on the first play of the second quarter. The touchdown gave Dallas a 14-7 lead at the half.
"We made too many mistakes," Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said. "How many turnovers did we have? You have him sacked and you let him out. We weren't looking past (the game). We knew they had a good team. It's just the quality of kids they have."
Dallas' offensive line also had a solid showing after Zapoticky was sacked 16 times in the first three games. He was sacked twice Saturday, but one was the result of him slipping on a rollout.
Dallas 17, Coughlin 7
DAL – Ryan Kozloski 26 interception return (Kozloski kick), 6:59
COU – Corey Keen 35 pass from Tim Pilch (Hunter Bednarczyk kick), 1:59
DAL – Jason Simonovich 3 pass from Ryan Zapoticky (Kozloski kick), 11:50
DAL – Kozloski 42 FG, 4:04
RUSHING – Coughlin, Zac Evans 24-115, Pilch 10-7, Paul Cole 5-30, Bednarczyk 1-(minus-1). Dallas, Kris Roccograndi 15-47, Zapoticky 12-40, Mucha 3-14, Logan Brace 3-2, team 2-(minus-2).
PASSING – Coughlin, Pilch 6-15-4-89, team 0-2-0-0. Dallas, Zapoticky 6-14-0-120, Mucha 0-2-0-0.
RECEIVING – Coughlin, Keen 2-39, Evans 1-3, Anthony Khalife 1-13, Bednarczyk 1-11, Cole 1-23. Dallas, Simonovich 4-105, Kozloski 1-0, Roccograndi 1-15.
INTS – Dallas, Kozloski, Mucha 2, Mike Mihal.
MISSED FGS – none.