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Nazareth does just enough to get by Allentown Central Catholic

Tagged under: District 11, Gameday Hub, News

| September 30, 2023

Nazareth- In this mid-season match-up between two of the top teams in the EPC South, Nazareth got just enough out of their normally prolific, but this evening somewhat stunted passing game to grab the victory over the visiting Vikings of Allentown Central Catholic 14-7.

The game began with the Vikings receiving the opening kickoff and a quick 3 and out forced by the Nazareth defense. The following Nazareth drive saw the Blue Eagle ground game move the ball down the field however after a few first downs and a bevy of offensive penalties, the Central Catholic defense stood tall and stopped the Nazareth offense on 4th down to get the ball back for their offense.

The Vikings next drive started out with promise as QB Antonio Fontanez (12-20. 137 yards, 1 TD) completed back to back passes to cross in to Nazareth territory. This drive however stalled out after an incompletion which was originally ruled a fumble recovered by Nazareth and then a sack by Nazareth linebacker Tyler Marsteller brought the Viking drive to an end and forcing a punt.

The ensuing drives by both Nazareth and then Allentown Central Catholic were both stifled by the opposing defenses. However, that was the end of what some would consider to be “dull football” for the half. After forcing the Viking offense to punt once again, the Nazareth offense was looking to break the scoreless tie in this soggy Friday evening matchup.

Blue Eagle quarterback Peyton Falzone (12-23, 169 yds, 1TD, 1 INT) seemed to be finding his rhythm midway through the 2nd quarter finding WR Logan Hilarczyk (3 rec, 18 yds) for a first down and then Mason Kuehner(3 rec, 35 yds) twice for another first down. This drive seemed destined for points, but Viking Nasir Mclean ( 2 rec, 16 yds), had other ideas as he picked off a Falzone pass intended for a stumbling Mason Kuehner to get the ball back for the Vikings. Allentown Central Catholic quarterback Antonio Fontanez was able to find WR Aiden Sorrentino(4 rec, 58yds)  for a huge gain down to the Blue Eagle 7 yard line. The Nazareth defense tightened up and force the Vikings to attempt a 19 yard field goal. The snap for the attempt was high and a speedy Marquez Wimberly (8 rushes, 32 yds, 1 rec 17yds) made it around the end of the line to block the field goal attempt by the Vikings.

On the ensuing Blue Eagle drive Falzone was able to find Caleb Newsome(4 rec, 86 yds, 1 TD) for a long 55 yard reception setting up Nazareth with a first down just inside the Viking 15 yardline. Two consecutive rushes up the middle by Nazareth running back Jed Bendekovits (13 rushes, 68 yds, 1 TD)later and the Blue Eagles had finally found the end-zone. This put Nazareth up 7-0 over the visiting Vikings with just under 2 minutes left in the first half.

The half would run out on the Vikings next possession leaving us with a score of 7-0 with Nazareth leading at the half of this soggy matchup.

The second half of the game would start out very similar to the first with both teams’ respective defenses doing their jobs and forcing punts. This would change however on the Vikings second possession of the half with Central Catholic running back Dante Hamilton(6rushes, 72yds) breaking off a huge run and setting up the Vikings with a great scoring opportunity deep in Nazareth territory.  This drive would be capped off by a great pass from Fontanez to Jareel Calhoun on a post-corner route to tie the game at 7 after a successful point after with 3:51 left in the 3rd quarter.

That would be all the scoring for the 3rd quarter.  After more defensive stands by both teams and Tony Pilla of the Nazareth defense stopping the Vikings Nathan Schultz(21 rushes, 96 yds)  on 4th down at the Nazareth 20 yard-line, it seemed like the Nazareth QB had seen enough and took matters in to his own hands.  Falzone found an opening around the right side of his line and took off down the sideline for a long 39 yard scamper that put the Blue Eagle offense in business.  Three plays later Falzone would find pay-dirt with a bullet of a pass on a slant to WR Caleb Newsome for the go-ahead score with just 2:44 left in the game.

The Blue Eagle defense would put the clamps on the Central Catholic offense and force a turnover on downs which allowed the Nazareth offense to take the field and set up in that oh-so-welcome victory formation to run out the remainder of the game.  The final score from Andrew S. Leh Stadium, Nazareth 14 and Allentown Central Catholic 7.

This victory by Nazareth brings them to 5-1 on the year and sees them travelling to Whitehall (4-2) next week  who just lost to Parkland this evening 36-7.  The loss drops Allentown Central Catholic to 4-2 on the season and they will be travelling to Bethlehem next week to take on Liberty (2-4) who are fresh off a loss to Easton this evening at Cottingham Stadium 21-13.


For more highlights of this Nazareth vs Allentown Central Catholic matchup, be on the lookout for a highlight video here on PAfootballnews and on X.

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