WRIGHT TWP. – When even the quarterback draws a pass interference penalty, it's obvious things are going quite well.
In fact, it would be hard to find fault with the Dallas Mountaineers' performance Saturday night as they ruined Crestwood's homecoming.
OK, there was one obvious glitch but it mattered little as Dallas routed Crestwood 35-12 in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3A game. Dallas improved to 5-3 with its fifth consecutive win. Crestwood had its six-game winning streak snapped and fell to 6-2.
It feels great, said Dallas senior Jason Simonovich, who had his hand in two of four sacks of Crestwood quarterback Jay Popson. We have our schemes down, we know who to put in the right places. Everyone is playing for each other. It's just a great roll, five in a row.
The roll coincides with quarterback Ryan Zapoticky making big plays on a consistent basis. The Times Leader All-WVC selection from last season had modest passing stats, 6-of-11 for 81 yards, but enormous impact.
Zapoticky had a 40-yard scramble on Dallas' first touchdown drive, making two defenders miss in the open field and getting a pancake block from receiver Chris Behm along the way. Dallas scored on its next possession as Zapoticky ran right for 49 yards, once again getting a key block from a receiver, this time Ryan Kozloski. He scored on a 3-yard run on the next play for a 14-0 lead at the half.
There's no doubt about it, Crestwood coach Greg Myers said, it was a one-man show out there tonight. You got to give credit to him. Ryan is a heck of an athlete, a great quarterback. I think, from up top, there were 11 times we had him in the backfield tonight and he made plays.
Even at receiver when he split out wide left on a second-and-16 at the Crestwood 22-yard line early in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Justin Mucha took the shotgun snap and lofted a pass to Zapoticky at the goal line. A pass interference penalty gave the Mountaineers a first down at the 11.
We just put in this week at practice, Zapoticky said. It was a new winkle. It worked.
Two plays later, running back Kris Roccograndi banged his way into the end zone as part of his 87-yard, three-touchdown night.
Then came Dallas' only glaring misstep of the game. Dallas allowed Crestwood receiver Kota Kishel to get behind two defensive backs, resulting in a 79-yard touchdown reception. The score cut Dallas' lead to 21-6 at 3:57 of the third quarter.
Dallas, though, scored on its next two possessions on runs of 14 yards by Roccograndi and 12 yards by Zapoticky. The second touchdown was set up on Mucha's third interception of the season.
Right now, we're excited, Dallas coach Bob Zaruta said. We're playing pretty good football and expect to get better each week.
Dallas 35, Crestwood 12
DAL – Kris Roccograndi 4 run (Ryan Kozloski kick), 1:12
DAL – Ryan Zapoticky 3 run (Kozloski kick), 11:09
DAL – Roccograndi 2 run (Kozloski kick), 4:50
CRE – Kota Kishel 79 pass from Jay Popson (kick failed), 3:57
DAL – Roccograndi 14 run (Kozloski kick), 11:12
DAL – Zapoticky 12 run (Kozloski kick), 9:20
CRE – Frank Aigeldinger 1 run (run failed), 3:38
RUSHING – Dallas, Roccograndi 18-87, Zapoticky 10-127, Kozloski 1-(minus-4), Bill Gately 5-13, Logan Brace 3-12, team 1-(minus-1). Crestwood, Aigeldinger 12-62, Evan Callaghan 7-12, Kishel 3-23, Popson 12-(minus-25), Brandon Cole 3-8.
PASSING – Dallas, Zapoticky 6-11-0-81. Crestwood, Popson 5-9-1-123.
RECEIVING – Dallas, Jason Simonovich 1-15, Darik Johnson 3-41, Kozloski 1-5, Justin Mucha 1-20. Crestwood, Kishel 4-106, Aigeldinger 1-17.
INTS – Dallas, Mucha.
MISSED FGS – none.