Patriots late-game rally comes up short against Mountaineers

By Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com
Pittston Area’s Andrew Krawczyk hauls in a pass. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Dallas’ Christian Motley loses his grip as Pittston Area forces a fumble. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Dylan Lukachko carries the ball through Dallas defence. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Pittston Area’s Bryan Giambra is taken down near the end zone as Dallas stayed unbeaten on Friday night. - - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

YATESVILLE — The Patriots were down but not out, only trailing by seven going into the fourth quarter. But the Mountaineers fended off any form of a comeback to win the game, 41-21.

Dallas (4-0) moved the ball effectively up and down the field on offense, scoring six total touchdowns with three coming from junior running back Leonard Kelly and three more on the ground from junior quarterback Michael Starbuck.

Kelly had over 220 yards rushing on the day.

“You see how much yardage after contact he has,” said Mountaineers head coach Rich Mannello. “The quarterback was tremendous again tonight. He just makes plays when they’re not there.”

With the Mountaineers up 28-6 with under one minute to play in the fourth quarter, the Patriots (2-2) scored 14 unanswered points to pull within seven.

Head Coach Nick Barbieri felt the team was on the verge of pulling off the comeback.

“Down 21-6, I felt better than we did last week when we were up 20-7,” Barbieri said. “I thought we played better, we made some mistakes and we gave up a couple of big plays. But, I thought we had a chance to get back in it. We got back to 28-21 and I thought we had a shot. But, then they just did what they do and (push) us down the field with their big linemen, big back as and we didn’t really have an answer for that.”

Their comeback would not happen as Dallas would put the game away with Starbuck with a little over six minutes to play before Kelly put the nail in the coffin with a 66-yard touchdown run with under two minutes to go.

“Hats off to Pittston,” Mannello said. “They did a tremendous job, they took it to us, they regained the momentum and I just told them kids, you’ve got to drop the hammer and start running the ball again, and we did it.”

Despite the outcome, Pittston Area’s offense moved the ball efficiently as junior quarterback Mike Nocito passed for over 282 yards and two touchdowns.

However, the offense failed to convert two fourth down attempts and turned the ball over twice on interceptions, which head coach Nick Barbieri said was the difference in the game.

“Offensively, I thought that was our best game but we do have to clean up those mistakes,” he said. “They converted on fourth down on two drives, and that’s the difference in the game; we didn’t convert. So, we match them with converting on fourth downs I think we’re in the game right until the end.”

Barbieri said the Patriots will learn from their mistakes, and move on to next week.

“I’m proud of our kids,” he said. “It didn’t come out in the scoreboard in the end that we played well, but I thought we fought the whole game. As we move forward in the tougher part of our schedule, if we keep getting better, we’ll be alright.”

Pittston Area’s Andrew Krawczyk hauls in a pass.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_RGB_TTL091518PAvDAHS7.jpgPittston Area’s Andrew Krawczyk hauls in a pass. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Dallas’ Christian Motley loses his grip as Pittston Area forces a fumble.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_RGB_TTL091518PAvDAHS3.jpgDallas’ Christian Motley loses his grip as Pittston Area forces a fumble. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Dylan Lukachko carries the ball through Dallas defence.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_RGB_TTL091518PAvDAHS1.jpgDylan Lukachko carries the ball through Dallas defence. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area’s Bryan Giambra is taken down near the end zone as Dallas stayed unbeaten on Friday night.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_RGB_TTL091518PAvDAHS9.jpgPittston Area’s Bryan Giambra is taken down near the end zone as Dallas stayed unbeaten on Friday night. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
PA coach says score doesn’t indicate how well team played

By Jimmy Fisher

jfisher@timesleader.com

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Pittston Area plays its only scheduled Saturday game of the season at 7 p.m. against Coughlin at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium. The winless Crusaders have lost close games to Nanticoke and Tunkhannock, the two teams the Patriots have beaten. Coughlin had a 12-0 lead get away Friday night in a 21-19 loss to Tunkhannock.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.