HS Football: Old Forge falls in state semifinals

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch | December 15th, 2015 12:41 pm

SHAMOKIN – A century of Old Forge High School football is over, but not before the 100th version of the Blue Devils left their mark in the state playoffs.

Old Forge made its second-longest state tournament run and had the defending state champions in early trouble before falling, 43-13, to Bishop Guilfoyle Friday night in a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A semifinal at Kemp Memorial Stadium.

The Blue Devils opened a 13-3 lead early in the second quarter before the District 6 champions from Altoona scored 40 straight points, including touchdowns on their first five second-half possessions.

That onslaught ended a 13-2 season and a 40-5, three-year stretch in which Old Forge swept the Lackawanna Football Conference Division 3 and District 2 Class A titles each year while posting the first five state tournament wins in school history, including a 2013 trip to Hershey for the final.

“You remember them for the blue-collar work, the loyalty to each other and the stamp they left for the younger kids of Old Forge,” Schuback said of a strong senior class, which played its last game.

The Blue Devils scored 1:37 into the game on a 79-yard Jaret Horn punt return and again on a 5-yard Cooper Califano touchdown to end their first offensive possession.

Old Forge appeared to be in good shape when Califano’s longest run of the night, an 18-yarder on the second play of the second half, put it in Bishop Guilfoyle territory at the 42 with a 13-10 lead.

In the next 14 minutes, the Marauders ran off 33 straight points and outgained the Blue Devils, 308-0, to earn their return to the state final.

Evan Chadbourn, the team’s 2,000-yard rusher, got it started with a go-ahead, 93-yard touchdown pass to Sam Keating.

Josh Trybus took over from there. He threw touchdown passes of 4 and 9 yards to Luke Frederick, ran 1 yard for a score, then got the ball right back with his second interception.

The Trybus interception led to the second touchdown in 20 seconds, Andrew Irwin’s 48-yard run to close the scoring with 8:41 remaining.

Mando Sallavanti had seven tackles, including three for losses, three assists and a fumble recovery for Old Forge. Jerry Hobbs made a team-high eight tackles, along with two assists.

Joey Gutowski played quarterback and free safety for the Blue Devils with a heavy brace on the right knee that was injured during the state quarterfinal win last week. He hit his first six passes, including two third-down conversions to set up the touchdown and 13-3 lead.

By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

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