Neshannock defeats Ellwood City in Class 2A conference battle | Sports

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The Ellwood City Lincoln High football team sought to challenge Neshannock on Friday, but were unsuccessful.

The Lancers beat Ellwood City, 40-21, in a WPIAL Class 2A Midwestern Conference battle.

“Here’s the thing, Ellwood City and the people of Ellwood City are tough people. I’ve been telling my guys all week and, I know with Coach Bradley there now, I knew they were going to come in and fight like hell and they definitely did,” said Neshannock’s trainer, Fred Mozzocio. “They didn’t come here and played like a one-win football team. You can see from the movie that they are better than that. Our guys were warned, we found ourselves in a dogfight for a little while.

Jonny Huff notched the first touchdown of the night for Neshannock (5-1 in conference, 8-1 overall) in the first quarter after a 7-yard run.

“I think he did a great job,” Mozzocio said of Huff. “He kept his cool. We were in a tight game, Jonny kept his cool, he led the team and did exactly what we asked him to do.

Huff said he had never seen an Ellwood City side (1-5, 3-7) quite like this in his four years on the pitch.

“It’s the first time they’ve come out and played hardball,” Huff said. “They gave us a bit of a rough first quarter there for a little while.”

The Wolverines responded in the second quarter with Christopher Smiley connecting a 28-yard pass to Shawn Hobel to tie the game at seven.

“I thought our guys were playing hard. We’re very young, we’re getting better every day in training, every game we’re getting a little bit better,” said Ellwood City manager Dan Bradley. “We just haven’t been able to make enough plays and space offensively or defensively and I think part of that is attributed to our youth. It was a good game for the most part, we just didn’t have enough in the tank.

Neshannock’s Matthew Ioanilli looked to score in the second quarter but fumbled, allowing Ellwood City to win the ball at the 3-yard line.

“They came out and really wanted to give us a game and they did,” said Ioanilli. “We went out and didn’t play our best, I fumbled, which is unacceptable, but we came back in the second half and offered them.”

“We just tried to keep our cool. It was unfortunate. We had a missed mission there on the goal line, which is very unusual for our line,” Mozzocio said. “Somebody shot through and hit Matt, kind of caught him off guard, and it put the ball on the ground. We were able to stop, come back and Jonny made some good plays for us.

Neshannock’s defense held Ellwood City at bay for the rest of the quarter and Braden Huff managed to catch a 10-yard pass from Jonny Huff for the final touchdown of the quarter to end the first half with Neshannock leading, 13-7 .

Jonny Huff completed 8 of 12 passes for 121 yards in the game. Huff is just 76 yards away from 1,000 passing yards this season and already has over 1,000 rushing yards.

“I just feel like it’s a big accomplishment for me right now,” Jonny Huff said. “It’s the first year I’ve played quarterback in a full game like this. I feel like it’s an accomplishment for me.”

In the third quarter, Luciano DeLillo caught a 15-yard pass from Huff to drive into the end zone. Ellwood City’s Elijah Palmer-McCane responded with a 15-yard run for a touchdown.

Palmer-McCane led Ellwood City in rushing with 29 totes for 220 yards.

“Good game. He runs both explosively and patiently, all in one,” Bradley said of Palmer-McCane. “He puts it down to his offensive line like we do, going after people and giving him the opportunity to play a few games.”

Jonny Huff would use his own rushing ability late in the third to score a touchdown after a 30-yard run to end the quarter, 26-14.

In the fourth quarter, Smiley threw a pass that was intercepted by Jackson Billyk to give the Lancers some breathing room.

“I saw him and went to get him,” Billyk said of the interception. “It really helped us in our driving. This set the game up for a good ending. I think we started a bit slow, not too terrible, we definitely picked it up in the second half.

Two plays after Billyk’s interception, Jonny Huff scored a touchdown on a 16-yard run. Palmer-McCane had an eight-yard sprint to answer the Lancers in fourth.

Ioanilli eventually entered the end zone on a 33-yard run for the final touchdown of the game.

” It was not me. That was the line up front,” Ioanilli said. “They gave me some great blocks, that’s about all it was. I just hit the hole they gave me and that’s how it went.

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