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Chucks lose tough opener against rival DuBois, 42-7

September 3, 2011

Punxsy's Luke Janocha hauls in what would turn out to be a 62-yard pass that set up a five-yard touchdown run by Caesar Maruca.(Photo by Zak Lantz/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

DUBOIS — After scoring two touchdowns and leading 14-7 at halftime, DuBois' varsity football team scored 28 points in the first eight minutes of the second half to defeat Punxsy, 42-7, Friday night in DuBois.

"We missed a lot of tackles right off the bat in the second half," Punxsy head coach Alan Nichol said. "I don't think anything really changed. It was just a grind-it-out game on a hot night, and fatigue probably played a factor. Their skill definitely played a part, but I think fatigue did, too."

Fatigue also seemed to play a role in the Chucks' ability to stay on the field, as several players went down with what appeared to be cramping throughout the game.

Punxsy won the coin toss in the first half and chose to receive, so DuBois received the second half kickoff, and the Beavers didn't wait long to strike.

DuBois returned the kickoff to its own 39 yard line, and on first down, quarterback Sean Sleigh ran for six yards. After a one-yard run by Garrett Brown, Brady Haines broke away from the Punxsy defenders and scampered 54 yards for the score, giving his squad a 21-7 lead just 1:25 into the third quarter.

Punxsy had the ball for only three plays before DuBois struck again.

After two run plays by halfback Caesar Maruca set up a 3rd-and-seven, DuBois' Noah Bontempo intercepted a pass by Punxsy quarterback Garrett Zimmerman and returned it 32 yards for the touchdown.

Punxsy went three-and-out and had to punt, and DuBois ran a trick-play, reverse pass where wide receiver Brian Kane — who is also listed on the depth chart as a quarterback — threw a perfect pass to Garrett Miles for a 69-yard touchdown, pushing DuBois' lead to four scores.

Punxsy's next possession was another short one — this time two plays — as Kane came up big for DuBois again, intercepting a 2nd-and-eight pass attempt by Zimmerman.

On the second play of the drive, Garrett Brown ran into the end zone on what appeared to be a 27-yard touchdown, but the play was called back due to a holding call on DuBois.

After Sleigh scampered for 18 yards and a first down, though, he connected with senior receiver Max Hine for an 18-yard touchdown pass, setting the score where it went final at 42-7.

Punxsy managed to put together a few plays and gain a first down before the end of the third quarter, but DuBois forced a punt, and DuBois brought in backup freshman quarterback Gabe French and backup sophomore running back Tyler Confer to burn the clock.

French and Confer did just that, putting together a 14-play drive that ended on a fourth-and-goal turnover at the Punxsy two-yard line, but ate up almost six minutes on the clock.

Punxsy earned one first down on its next drive, but had to punt the ball back to DuBois, which ran the last three minutes off the clock to complete the season-opening victory over its rival.

"The guys hung in there for a long time," Nichol said. "They played some great football. Hats off to DuBois, too, though.

"We had a lot of mistakes on offense, a couple big penalties in the first half that stopped our momentum. And you know, we're going to have some growing pains, but I think we were in the game for a long time, and sometimes you get out-gunned. You just have to move on."

Despite the scoreboard, Nichol did see some promising things out of his club.

"We moved the ball well in the first half," he said. "Garrett was throwing the ball well. We've just got to correct a few things.

"Also, Caesar Maruca ran the ball well from the tailback position, and I think the offensive line played well, especially in the first half."

Punxsy's first-half was highlighted by a 76-yard scoring drive — 62 of those yards coming on a Zimmerman pass to Luke Janocha.

The drive was capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Caesar Maruca.

Janocha added the extra point, which evened the score at seven but proved to be Punxsy's last of the evening, one minute into the second quarter.

On the next drive, DuBois backed Punxsy to inside its own 20-yard line, but Christ- ian Falgout intercepted the Beavers to end the drive.

Punxsy answered with a six-minute drive, but that drive ended on another DuBois pick.

After the tough loss, Nichol said his boys were chomping at the bit to get back to work.

"We're going to get right back at it tomorrow," he said. "We're not waiting until Monday, and that's exactly what these guys want to do."

Punxsy's preparations will now point towards its next contest, next Friday night against fellow-KSAC member, A-C Valley.

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