DALLAS TWP. — Dallas and Coughlin entered Friday night’s game with polar-opposite records and heading in opposite directions.
Dallas coach Rich Mannello knew that the Crusaders weren’t going to be a pushover. And despite his team’s 35-7 victory, Coughlin gave the Mountaineers fits at times.
“My hat’s off to Coughlin. That’s a tough bunch of kids and coaching staff,” Mannello said. “To come up here with the number of kids that they have … I told my kids they will not be intimidated. And they were not. They came out here and played their hearts out.”
Dallas (6-0) didn’t take long to start the scoring when it needed just three plays and 1 minute, 18 seconds to find the end zone on the first drive of the game. The third play of the drive was a 53-yard strike from Michael Starbuck to Luke DelGaudio for a 7-0 lead.
But Coughlin’s first drive of the game was a long one. The Crusaders (0-6) drove 74 yards on 13 plays, getting the ball down to the Dallas 1. The problem was that the Crusaders moved back 20 yards on penalties after getting to the 1 and then were intercepted in the end zone on fourth-and-goal.
“That would’ve been a momentum swing with a score on their side, and then obviously it changed the momentum back to us,” Mannello said.
Coughlin also sustained a drive like that one was in the third quarter when it drove 79 yards before a fumble on the 1 turned the ball over to Dallas.
Other than that, the Mountaineers’ offensive line dominated as the running game piled up 250 yards rushing and 504 total yards. At times the O-line drove the Crusaders defensive front as much as 10 yards off the ball.
“It’s a good job. They’re starting to come together as a group,” Mannello said about his offensive line. “It’s a combination. We’re starting to throw the ball well, so the run is setting up the pass. All of it’s working right now.”
After the Dallas interception in the first quarter, the team took over scoring twice in the second quarter on a QB sneak by Starbuck and then a 4-yard TD run by Lenny Kelley to go up 21-0 at halftime.
The Mountaineers then scored on their first possession of the second half on a 25-yard TD pass, the second of the night from Starbuck, this one going to Christian Motley for a 28-0 lead.
A 25-yard TD run by Sean Cuba in the fourth quarter extended the lead to 35-0. Dallas’ next drive ended on a blocked punt by the Crusaders. From there, Coughlin finally capitalized with a score when Jervone Young ran in a touchdown from 6 yards out.
Mannello said that his team needs to work on a few things. One of those is penalties. They committed 74 yards on seven penalties, negating several big plays.
“Too much of that. They set you back,” Mannello said. “There’s not a lot of plays for first-and-20. You can get half of it back, but you’re losing downs when you do that. It seems like we’d get going and then there’d be another flag. And they’re flags. I can can see the hold from the side. So we gotta get that cleaned up.”
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