Balanced attack leads Punxsy to another 'W'

STRATTANVILLE — Braxton Giavedoni took the first play from scrimmage 80 yards for a touchdown run, and Punxsy's defense kept up its rugged reputation by holding a shutout deep into the fourth quarter in the Punxsy ninth-grade football team's 34-8 win over Clarion-Limestone Wednesday in Strattanville.

Kaleb Young also returned a kickoff after C-L's only touchdown for a 72-yard score, wrapping up the three-pronged attack by Punxsy's offense, defense and special teams.

"We have a very talented football team and looked great in all three phases of the game tonight," Punxsy head coach Jason Grusky said. "Offensively, we blocked well, ran the ball hard and even threw the ball well when we had to. Defensively, we played good solid base defense and shut down Clarion-Limestone for most of the game. We even kicked two extra points (on special teams). Coach Barry Young said it was the first time in his 35 years of coaching he's seen a junior high team make an extra point."

Punxsy wasted no time putting the pressure on Clarion-Limestone's offense with Giavedoni's 80-yard touchdown run on the first offensive play, but Punxsy missed its first extra point, keeping the score at 6-0.

Punxsy's defense stood pat, and with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Young put the Chucks ahead by 12 with a 39-yard touchdown run. Young also added the extra point to extend the lead to 13.

Ryan Jones added a 25-yard touchdown run as the clock turned to zeroes in the first quarter, and Young's two-point conversion run gave the Chucks a 21-0 lead entering the second quarter.

The defense came up big again in the second quarter when Nathan Lingenfelter intercepted a Limestone pass with just over seven minutes left before halftime.

Five minutes later, the Chucks' offense took to the air, and Jones connected with Nathan Ray for a seven-yard touchdown pass. Young's second extra point of the evening pushed the lead to 28-0 at halftime.

Limestone received the second-half opening kickoff and controlled the ball for the entire third quarter and the first minute of the fourth, but the drive finally stalled at the Punxsy 10 with seven minutes remaining in the game.

The Chucks' ensuing drive came up short, though, and Limestone cashed in on a 32-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion to eliminate Punxsy's hope for a shutout.

Punxsy earned the final word with Young's 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, though, and after a missed two-point attempt, the final score was set at 34-8.

Punxsy didn't run many offensive plays, but the Chucks made the most of their plays, averaging 12 yards per carry as a team rushing the ball.

Giavedoni's 80-yard run was good enough for Punxsy's highest total, but Young was just nine yards behind him with 71 yards on six carries.

Jones (32 yards), Lance Pennington (13 yards), Adam Milliron (four yards) and Alex Young (one yard) also had rushes for the Chucks.

Jones was effective and efficient when called upon in the passing game, going 2-for-3 with 15 yards and a touchdown, and Ray's seven-yard touchdown reception was complemented by Jarret Snyder's eight-yard reception.

Despite the convincing win, Punxsy won't celebrate too long as it looks forward to its biggest matchup of the year next week when the Chucks host Karns City.

"We'll enjoy this win tonight, but we have our toughest challenge ahead," Grusky said. "Anyone who wants to see an exciting, well-matched football game should come to Jack LaMarca Stadium next Thursday at 4 p.m. to watch us take on Karns City. We're each 6-1, and it should be a very exciting game.

"We haven't beaten Karns City at the junior high level in many years, and I know the players and coaches are looking forward to this big challenge."