WILKES-BARRE – Dante Lucarelli’s impressive passing statistics told more than one story Saturday afternoon.
Lucarelli’s completion percentage was a testament to his accuracy. His average gain said much more about the ability of Old Forge receivers to turn short passes into long gains with their running and their willingness to block for each other downfield.
The four passes Lucarelli threw for first-half touchdowns were just part of the numbers he put up while leading Old Forge to a 42-0 rout of Holy Redeemer at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
Lucarelli finished the day 14-for-15 for 221 yards.
Throwing mostly swing passes and other short, quick routes to the sideline, Lucarelli connected with Anthony Rios five times and threw touchdown passes to four other receivers.
“If you can throw a 5-yard pass and get a 30-yard gain, who’s to say there’s something wrong with that?” Old Forge coach Mike Schuback said.
Lucarelli threw passes of about five yards on the game’s first play from scrimmage and Old Forge’s third offensive play. Brett Wargo and Tommy Souriyavong turned them into 55- and 32-yard touchdowns in the first 3:43.
“It doesn’t have to be a vertical play every snap,” Schuback said. “What we’re trying to stress is take what people give you.”
The three short passes in the next drive only added up to 23 yards, but they resulted in a 6-yard touchdown to Julien DiMattia for a 21-0 lead after one quarter.
Lucarelli hit his first eight attempts, but the pace of Old Forge’s offensive production did slow enough that the game did not reach the Mercy Rule until 1:36 remained in the third quarter.
“After the first couple scores, we settled down and played hard,” Holy Redeemer coach Dwayne Downing said.
With the help of some penalties, the Royals slowed the Blue Devils, but they could not get going offensively. Peter Shay’s 13-yard run on the first play of the seventh Holy Redeemer possession, with 6:20 left in the third quarter, accounted for the only first down.
Holy Redeemer never advanced beyond its own 43-yard line.
“Coach Downing has got his kids playing hard and that is all you can ask for when trying to build a program,” Schuback said.
The Royals, who have not scored since the opener, remained winless while the Blue Devils improved to 3-1.
Lucarelli’s fourth touchdown pass went 3 yards to Tyler Carey to complete a 10-play, 60-yard drive in which the Blue Devils overcame 15- and 10-yard penalties on consecutive plays.
The deepest pass of the game covered 41 yards to Souriyavong to convert third-and-28 and Old Forge scored on the next play.
Souiriyavong’s quick reactions as holder turned two low snaps into first-half two-point conversions on a run and a pass to DiMattia, making it 29-0 at the break.
Kevin Pepsin had half of his 14 carries and 43 of his game-high 94 rushing yards in the third-quarter scoring drive that ended on his 1-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal.
Souiryavong, who finished with 100 receiving yards on four catches, broke tackle attempts by multiple players twice during a 45-yard punt return for a fourth-quarter score.
Old Forge 42, Holy Redeemer 0
OF – Brett Wargo 55 pass from Dante Lucarelli (kick failed), 11:29
OF – Tommy Souriyavong 32 pass from Lucarelli (Souriyavong run), 8:17
OF – Julien DiMattia 6 pass from Lucarelli (Keegan Barbetti kick), 0:40
OF – Tyler Carey 3 pass from Lucarelli (DiMattia pass from Souriyavong), 2:34
OF – Kevin Pepsin 1 run (kick failed), 1:36
OF – Souriyavong 45 punt return (Barbetti kick), 11:03
RUSHING — OF, Kevin Pepsin 14-94, Colin Holzman 4-24, Nick Raymond 2-18, Jackson Lynwood 5-18, Michael DiGregorio 2-12, Julien DiMattia 2-minus 3, Anthony Rios 1-minus 3, Dante Lucarelli 2-minus 16. HR, Peter Shay 13-19, Christian Leon 4-6, Matt Schuler 1-2, Joe Colavitti 2-2, Ryan Williams 2-1.
PASSING — OF, Lucarelli 14-15-0-221. HR, Williams 2-10-0-8.
RECEIVING — OF, Rios 5-43, Tommy Souriyavong 4-100, Brett Wargo 3-69, DiMattia 1-6, Tyler Carey 1-3. HR, Alex Hajkowski 1-7, Shay 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS — None.
MISSED FIELD GOALS – None.
Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLSports