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HS FOOTBALL: Carbondale Area Clinches Playoff Berth

October 27, 2018

THROOP — Carbondale Area and Mid Valley squared off Friday night with a spot in the playoffs on the line. Both teams played like they had nothing to lose and it led to an offensive slugfest that featured more than 700 yards of offense. Carbondale Area came up with a few big plays on defense to pull out a 38-28 victory in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division III game. The fourth-seed Chargers (3-7 overall, 1-3 division) will travel to top-seed Dunmore next week for the District 2 Class 2A semifinals. Riverside will host Susquehanna in the other semifinal. The Chargers rolled up 270 yards on the ground and another 141 through the air en route to their third win in the last five games. “Both teams knew it was do or die and came out with the effort and enthusiasm you’d expect,” Carbondale Area head coach Larry Gabriel III said. “It was two teams, who a couple of weeks ago, could’ve hung it up, but both played hard. I give Mid Valley a lot of credit. We just made a few more plays.” While there were plenty of big offensive plays, it was the four turnovers Carbondale Area forced that made an impact. Fumble recoveries late in the first quarter and early in the fourth by the Chargers were particularly damaging for Mid Valley (1-9, 0-4). “Turnovers always hurt you,” Mid Valley head coach Dave Rebar said. “And penalties, especially penalties at crucial moments.” Carbondale Area sophomore quarterback Ray Ofner had his best game since taking over the signal-calling duties midway through the season. He went 6 for 9 for 141 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also ran four times for 44 yards, including a 40-yard scoring scramble that put the game away early in the fourth. “We looked at what we were good at and we felt we had three senior running backs who could carry the ball and Ray, who has a good arm,” Gabriel said. “We switched to the wing-T and Ray has done some good things at quarterback. We’re excited to see what he can do in the future.” Marino DePalma, one of those senior running backs, helped Ofner by carrying 13 times for 80 yards and three scores. Nick Vadella, another senior, had 78 yards on 18 carries while senior Adam Rossetti had three receptions for 75 yards, including a 35-yard score, and added 37 yards on five rushes. Mid Valley racked up 320 yards of offense while riding the legs of senior Colin Hazelton. Playing his final game, Hazelton ran for 194 yards and two scores on 25 carries, and had a 79-yard kickoff return for a score in the second quarter. Add his one reception for 17 yards and he finished with 290 total yards. “He’s a great player and did a great job carrying the ball tonight,” Rebar said. “He’s just a fabulous football player and he had a great night.” Contact the writer: sports@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9125; @sportsTT on Twitter