ST. MARYS – The Elk County Catholic Crusaders picked up a 34-0 Homecoming victory over the Johnsonburg Rams on Friday evening in a game played at Dutch Country Stadium in St. Marys.
"It was a good team effort and a good Homecoming win," said ECC coach Travis Skrzypek. "This was a trap game. We had a nice game last week coming into this one. It was hard keeping their (the team's) focus a little bit."
"The first quarter we were a little slow getting the drives going and stuff, but all-in-all I thought it was a good team effort. They came together in the first and second quarters and got some points on the board, regrouped, and got some aggression going, so it was nice to see," Skrzypek added.
Johnsonburg Rams coach Jesse Schreiber remarked following the game that he was proud of his team for continuing to fight hard until the end.
"Our guys didn't quit. The first half I thought our defense played extremely well. We missed a couple key tackles that they broke good plays on us, and then they went up 21-0 and it's kind of tough to rebound from that. But our kids have been down all year and they keep on fighting. They keep coming back. It says a lot about their character. I'm proud of them for not quitting on us. They come to work every Monday. They're willing to learn. They're listening. They're doing the best they can with what we have and I'm proud of them for keeping on fighting," Schreiber said.
The Crusaders were led on the ground by Joe McLaughlin with 107 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Brock McCullough added 74 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and Cole Gerber had 70 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
ECC quarterback Mitchell Vallone was 1-of-2 for 8 yards.
Clayton Housler caught one pass for eight yards.
The Rams were led on the ground by Michael Shuey with 25 yards on 10 carries. Frank Kocjancic had 18 yards on two carries and Eric Bevacqua added 5 yards on six carries.
Johnsonburg quarterback Jaryd Servidea was 8-of-15 for 74 yards and four interceptions.
Frank Kocjancic caught four passes for 25 yards, Troy Padasak caught two passes for 17 yards, Shane Bickford had a catch for 14 yards, and David Redmond had caught a pass for 18 yards.
For the Crusader defense, Clayton Housler had two interceptions, while Brock McCullough and Pat Brennen each had one.
Elk Catholic won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.
Joey McLaughlin fielded the opening kickoff and returned the ball about 28 yards to midfield, putting the Crusaders in good position to begin their first drive. The team needed just three plays - a 26-yard run by McCullough and 3- and 21-yard runs by Gerber - to get on the board for the first time. Scott Krellner added the PAT to give the Crusaders an early 7-0 lead with 10:44 remaining in the quarter.
Johnsonburg was unable to answer the Crusader score as Servidea's was picked off on the team's second offensive play to turn the ball back over to ECC.
The Crusaders were unable to capitalize though and both teams ended up trading punts.
Elk Catholic started their fourth drive of the game shortly before the end of the first half at their own 35-yard-line after McCullough intercepted a pass by Servidea. The Crusaders needed nine plays to march 65 yards down the field and into the Rams' endzone. The drive was capped by a two-yard run by Gerber, and Krellner added the PAT to give ECC a 14-0 lead with 10:16 remaining in the half.
The Rams were unable to get their offense going on their next possession and were forced to punt it away to Elk Catholic. The Crusaders coughed up the ball for the first time on the second play of their drive as Housler lost his grip on the ball after catching a pass from Vallone and the Rams were able to recover the fumble.
Johnsonburg started their next drive at their own 46-yard-line, but were quickly able to cross midfield and looked ready to try to cut into the Crusaders' lead. The momentum shifted on the fourth play of their drive as Shuey picked up a few yards before fumbling the ball, which was recovered by ECC's Shea Meyer. Meyer ran the ball all the way back to close to Ram's 10-yard-line before he also fumbled and Servidea recovered for Johnsonburg. Stuck near their own endzone, the Rams were unable to make much progress and were forced to punt the ball back to the Crusaders.
The punt was ruled down at the Crusaders' own 38-yard-line, and on ECC's first play of their drive McLaughlin broke free and ran it back 62 yards to the endzone to add to the team's score. Krellner again made the PAT to make the score 21-0 with 3:44 remaining in the half.
The Rams again went four-and-out on their next possession and punted the ball back to the Crusaders. ECC put on a seven-play drive that saw Joe Georgino find the endzone on a three-yard run. Krellner added the PAT to give the team a 28-0 lead with 18.5 seconds left in the half.
Johnsonburg fumbled the ensuing kickoff, with the ball being recovered by the Crusaders. Vallone took a knee to send the game into halftime.
The Rams again went four-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, turning the ball over to ECC on downs at the Crusaders' 49-yard-line. This time Elk Catholic needed just three plays to find the endzone for their final score of the night on a nine-yard run by McCullough. Krellner's PAT attempt failed after a bad snap, making the score 34-0 in favor of ECC with 8:39 remaining in the third quarter, and the Crusaders were able to hold that advantage for the remainder of the game to pick up the 34-0 victory.
With the win, Elk Catholic is now 4-1 on the season and 4-1 in the Allegheny Mountain League.
Jess Franco was named Elk County Catholic High School's 2011 Homecoming queen during a halftime ceremony at the game.
The Crusaders will travel to Kane to take on the Wolves next Friday at 7 p.m. Johnsonburg is at Ridgway for a 7 p.m. game next Friday.
First downs 19 5
Yards gained rushing 329 17
Passes attempted 2 15
Passes completed 1 8
Yards gained passing 8 74
Total yards 337 91
Punts-average 3-30 4-32
Penalties-yards 2-20 3-15
Fumbles-lost 2-2 6-2
Offensive plays 51 42
Score by quarters
Johnsonburg 0 0 0 0 - 0
Elk Catholic 7 21 6 0 - 34
First quarter - Elk Catholic - Cole Gerber 21-yard run. Scott Krellner kicked PAT, 7-0, 10:44
Second quarter - Elk Catholic - Cole Gerber 2-yard run. Scott Krellner kicked PAT, 14-0, 10:16.
Second quarter - Elk Catholic - Joe McLaughlin 62-yard run. Scott Krellner kicked PAT, 21-0, 3:44.
Second quarter - Elk Catholic - Joe Georgino 3-yard run. Scott Krellner kicked PAT, 28-0, 18.5.
Third quarter - Elk Catholic - Brock McCullough 9-yard run. PAT failed, 8:39, 34-0.
Rushing - Elk Catholic - Brock McCullough, 9 carries, 74 yards; Cole Gerber 6 carries, 70 yards; Joe Georgino, 3 carries, 3 yards; Mitchell Vallone, 4 carries, -10 yards; Joe McLaughlin 8 carries, 107 yards; Hank Cappiello, 7 carries, 51 yards; Shaun Chiesa, 7 carries, 18 yards; Nick Erich, 2 carries, 11 yards; Wes Brennen, 2 carries, 6 yards; Andy Gebauer, 1 carry, -1 yards. Johnsonburg - Shane Bickford, 3 carries, -4 yards; Eric Bevacqua 6 carries, 5 yards; Jaryd Servidea 6 carries, -27 yards; Michael Shuey, 10 carries, 25 yards; Frank Kocjancic, 2 carries, 18 yards.
Passing - Elk Catholic - Mitchell Vallone 1-2-8. Johnsonburg - Jaryd Servidea 8-15-74.
Receiving - Elk Catholic - Clayton Housler, 1 catch for 8 yards. Johnsonburg - Frank Kocjancic, 4 catches for 25 yards; Troy Padasak, 2 catches for 17 yards; Shane Bickford, 1 catch for 14 yards; David Redmond, 1 catch for 18 yards.