ROTTERDAM — With a big second half and a victory in the end, Mohonasen picked up Friday night where it left off last spring in the “Fall II” season.
Elias Cruz ran for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and Don Carpenter followed with two more including a length-of-the-field sprint as the Mighty Warriors overhauled Scotia-Glenville 33-20 in a back-and-forth Class B football game.
Mohonasen trailed 14-0 in the opening quarter and 20-15 in the third before knocking off the Tartans in a game so unlike its 40-0 pasting of Scotia-Glenville last spring, when the Tartans had just two days to prepare following a two-week COVID-19 quarantine.
“That fourth quarter was like the Fall II season when we won four of our last five games,” Mohonasen coach John Gallo said after his team put up those 18 unanswered points.
“We were a second-half team last season, too,” Carpenter said.
This comeback, though, was forged with a new cast of lead offensive figures, led by the junior backfield combination of Cruz and Carpenter.
Cruz scored three touchdowns in a superb varsity debut before Carpenter notched his two in an equally strong effort..
“Most of our experience is on the lines,” said Gallo, whose roster had only six seniors and a bunch of youngsters up from the junior varsity. “Everyone who touched the football never touched a football in a varsity game before tonight.”
“In school, I was thinking about it all day,” said Carpenter, who quarterbacked the Mighty Warriors. “This was a great experience. I’ve been itching to play.“
Scotia-Glenville senior quarterback Jack Armstrong ran for his second touchdown in the third quarter, scoring from 10 yards away to give his team a 20-15 advantage. Earlier on, the Tartans scored on their first two drives of the contest.
“We had to step up,” Carpenter said after rushing for 128 yards on 15 carries. “I feel we did that.”
“Mohonasen is a well-coached team,” Scotia-Glenville coach Bob Leto said. “They ended up catching us and passing us.”
No one in a red-and-white Tartans uniform could get a hold of Carpenter late in the fourth quarter when he burst up the middle and went 82 yards for the game’s final touchdown.
His 17-yard touchdown run had given Mohonasen a 27-20 lead on his team’s previous drive.
“I was surprised,” Carpenter said of his 82-yard dash. “I saw the hole open and it was like, ‘Thank God.’ I felt like I was moving in slow motion.”
“Their quarterback is a good athlete,” Leto said. “You can’t take anything away from him.”
Cruz dashed and darted for 101 yards on 16 carries, with his 4-yard jaunt up the middle giving his team 21-20 lead 78 seconds into the last period.
Draheir Carlos made a leaping 18-yard catch to aid Mohonasen’s scoring drive, which came right after Scotia-Glenville’s go-ahead series that included a 47-yard reception by Noah Rodriguez.
“My guys answered the bell, I don’t know, eight times,” Gallo said.
Armstrong capped the Tartans first drive of the game with a 9-yard touchdown run, and Carter Kline finished off their next with a 15-yard scoring run.
“They have talent,” Gallo said of the Tartans. “If you don’t contain them, their talent will hurt you.”
Cruz scored on runs of five yards in the second quarter after Liam LaRowe blocked a punt, and again in the third quarter on 3-yard run one play after Carpenter went for 20. Nick Leach nudged Mohonasen ahead 15-14 with an extra point.
“He’s the hardest worker on the team,” Carpenter said of Cruz. “He is always in the weight room. He is always pushing everyone. If I had to go to war I’d go with him.”
Scotia-Glenville answered Cruz’s third-quarter touchdown with a four-play sequence highlighted by Rodriguez’ diving grab that put the ball at the Mohonasen 10. Armstrong’s TD run was part of a 13-carry, 96-yard effort.
“Scotia, they came out and wanted to gain that respect back,” Gallo said. “And they did.”
Gallo said he expects more back and forth action from his youthful team this season.
“This is going to be a roller coaster of a season,” he said. “Hopefully we get a little more sound.”
Scotia Glenville 14 0 6 0 — 20
Mohonasen 0 8 7 18 — 33
SG — Armstrong 9 run (run failed)
SG — Kline 15 run (Carlisle pass from Armstrong)
M — Cruz 5 run (Carpenter run)
M — Cruz 3 run (Leach kick)
SG — Armstrong 10 run (pass failed)
M — Cruz 4 run (pass failed)
M — Carpenter 17 run (run failed)
M — Carpenter 82 run (kick failed)
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