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ICL Lowellville rolls to 3-0 mark



Published: Sat, September 7, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Powered by Mike Palumbo and Andy Peterson, the Rockets blanked Brookfield 28-0.

By GREG GULAS

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

BROOKFIELD -- Mike Palumbo rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown, Andy Peterson added 106 yards and two scores and the Lowellville High football team coasted to a 28-0 victory over Brookfield on Friday.

"We watched plenty of film on Brookfield all week and felt that we needed to contain their offense," Lowellville coach John Protopapa said. "They have two breakaway threats and we felt that we had to hold them in check in order to have a chance."

Lowellville (3-0) rolled to its third consecutive win by rolling up 377 yards of total offense (312 coming on the ground), while the stingy Rocket defense held the Warriors (1-2) to just 113 total yards, 59 on the ground and 54 through the air.

Outstanding defense

"Their defense played great, preventing us from getting into any type of rhythm when we had the ball," Brookfield coach Toby Gibson said. "We shot ourselves in the foot more than once with missed tackles and blocks.

"We also did a poor job of tackling, but all of that considered, we still were just a play away from striking distance the first three quarters."

After a scoreless first period and a near stalemate in the second frame, it looked as if the teams would enter intermission trying to revamp their game plans with the hope of generating more offense.

Palumbo, however, changed all of that when he engineered a nine play, 89-yard drive that culminated when Peterson scored the first of his two touchdowns from 4 yards out to give the Rockets a 7-0 lead.

Defense delivers

While neither team could get untracked offensively, the Rocket defense asserted itself when it had to, and the result was just 45 total offensive yards on 21 plays, just a little over 2 yards per play in the first half.

"We went to an unbalanced line tonight and then had to make adjustments at halftime," Protopapa noted. "They shut our trap down early, but credit our coaching staff as they made the necessary changes for us entering the second half of play.

"Palumbo's play was superior in that he didn't make a bad read all night. Both Andy and Jeff Peterson deserve credit as well as they are extremely hard workers who made a big difference tonight."

Three touchdowns

Palumbo's 1-yard run with 29 seconds remaining in the third period increased the Rocket lead to 14-0. Then Peterson, who also had two interceptions, gave Lowellville a 21-0 margin just 31 seconds into the final period when he scored on a 3-yard run.

Dan Riccottilli then closed out the scoring with 2:24 remaining when he scampered into the end zone almost untouched from 9 yards out.

"Despite tonight's loss, we feel good about ourselves heading into league play next week," Gibson noted. "By no means is our season over. We feel it is just beginning."

The Rockets had 19 first downs to the Warriors' six but found themselves penalized six times, once a costly motion call that nullified a touchdown in the second half.

Lou Scudere was Brookfield's leading rusher with 46 hard fought yards on 13 carries.




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