CLARKS SUMMIT — Abington Heights had two chances to generate points in the first half, but a few miscues prevented the team from getting on the scoreboard.
In fact, mistakes continually doomed the Comets during a 20-0 loss to North Pocono in a Lackawanna Football Conference non-division game Saturday, Sept. 3.
“We knew coming into today we were playing a very good opponent,” Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis said. “It’s a game of opportunities and North Pocono created opportunities and took advantage of them. In a game like this, you have to eliminate or minimize turnovers.”
A 15-play drive to start the game, which ended at the North Pocono 31-yard line when a pass from Abington Heights quarterback Colin McCreary fell incomplete on fourth down, was derailed by two North Pocono sacks.
Trojans defensive back Ben Dial dropped McCreary for an 11-yard loss and, two plays later, defensive back Jeremiah Acker brought down McCreary for a loss of 15 yards.
“We have to capitalize and get points on the board,” Repshis said. “Whether it’s touchdowns or field goals, we need come out of those long drives with some points.”
The first of five Abington Heights turnovers, a fumble by Kaleb Sherman, on the Comets next drive led to North Pocono’s first touchdown.
Trojans fullback Tyler Musgrave caught a short pass from Donny Blaine in the middle of the field, turned the corner and raced 71 yards to the end zone with 11:52 left in the second quarter. Bryce Taylor added the extra point.
“I run track in the spring and it has definitely helped develop my sprinting,” Musgrave said. “As soon as I saw free space, I just came flying down the sideline and hoped for the best.”
North Pocono defensive back Matt Craig intercepted a McCreary pass during Abington Heights’ next drive and returned the ball to the Comets 13-yard line with 9:57 remaining in the second quarter, but the Trojans were unable to capitalize on the turnover.
Another long Abington Heights drive came up empty when McCreary missed a 36-yard field goal attempt on the 12th play of the possession with 1:42 left in the first half. Comets running back Anthony Duboski, who finished 72 yards on 12 carries, had 64 in the first half.
“We were very fortunate to be up 7-0 at halftime,” North Pocono head coach Greg Dolhan said. “(Abington Heights) controlled the first half and outplayed us in the first half, we just made, maybe, one more big play than they did.”
Abington Heights’ turnover woes continued in the second half when North Pocono defensive tackle Matt Slagus recovered a Duboski fumble with 7:32 remaining in the third quarter. Once again, the Trojans were unable to capitalize on the miscue.
North Pocono used a sparkling special teams play to increase its lead.
Dial broke through the line and blocked a punt, which was caught by JC Gaughan and returned to the Comets 4-yard line.
Four players later, Musgrave plowed through the line for a 1-yard touchdown and Taylor added the extra point with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.
Musgrave intercepted a pass from Comets quarterback George Tinsley on Abington Heights’ next possession.
The Trojans cashed in when Craig capped an 8-play, 71-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 6:44 remaining in the game.
Another Tinsley interception and incomplete pass on fourth down ensured the Comets would be shut out in the contest.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.