McDonald brings end to Mineral Ridge streak
The Blue Devils handed the Rams their first loss in five years in the series, 21-11.
By DOUG CHAPIN
McDONALD -- McDonald High ended Mineral Ridge's four-game winning streak Friday in this fiercely-contested neighborhood rivalry, beating the Rams, 21-11.
"Our seniors were determined they were not going to go out not having beaten Mineral Ridge," McDonald coach Dan Williams said. "And they didn't win just for this year's teams but for the previous four classes, too."
First-year Mineral Ridge coach Dominic Leone said, "I really got a taste of what this rivalry is like. Our kids actually are pretty upbeat despite losing.
"Sometimes you know when you've been whupped, but we know we competed and had a chance to win," Leone said.
The Blue Devils (2-1) used big plays to put its three scores on board while Ridge (also 2-1) moved the ball well, but came up empty on three trips inside scoring range.
Firment scores twice
Matt Firment ran for touchdowns of 59 and 58 yards in the first quarter, and an 80-yard pass play from Matt Krumpak to Scott Sentner set up a Blue Devils' second-quarter touchdown.
"That was an inside trap play Firment ran and we blocked it well and got him into the open field," Williams said about the two long scoring plays.
Firment finished with 126 yards on just 10 carries.
David Dugan was the McDonald workhorse, carrying 15 times for 53 yards.
Mineral Ridge's A.J. Zitello defined workhorse, though, carrying 32 times for 196 yards.
"We moved the ball well," Leone said. "I've said from day one we have some studs on the O-line and they blocked well tonight."
Ridge takes lead
Firment's first touchdown came on the first possession of the game, but Zitello's 25-yard touchdown run with 3:19 remaining in the first quarter, and the conversion run by Nick Dominic gave Ridge its only lead, 8-7.
Firment broke loose on the ensuing possession for his second touchdown.
Ridge then put together a 15-yard drive, moving the ball from its 15 to the McDonald six and using eight minutes of the clock. Unfortunately, the 15th play was an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal.
"In a game like this we know we can't come up empty," Leone said. "We wanted to kick a field goal but Nick [Dominic] was hurt at the time, so we went for it. We thought we'd still have field position."
Blue Devils big play
However, Krumpak and Sentner changed the field position situation on the next play, hooking up on a streak pattern down the right sideline.
Near midfield, Sentner cut back to the middle of the field to avoid a Mineral Ridge defender who had an angle on Sentner. The senior receiver finally was hauled down at the Rams 15.
"We saw on film that they liked to press the outside receivers in coverage so we wanted to try a few passes downfield," Williams said. "We figured we would take a shot in that spot, the worst it could be was incomplete."
An 8-yard run by Josh Joynes put the ball inside the 10 and Krumpak hit Joe Witkoski on a swing pass from six yards out a play later. The TD came with 3:29 remaining in the first half and put McDonald ahead 21-8.
Mineral Ridge put together a nine-play drive to start the second half, but got only three points out of it when Dominic made a 32-yard field goal.
In the fourth quarter, the Rams used a couple of big plays themselves.
Quarterback Joey Miller hooked up with Dominic on a 34-yard pass play and Zitello ripped off 21 yards to put the ball at the McDonald 20. But the drive stalled at the 18 and Dominic's 36-yard field goal attempt at the 4:46 mark was ruled wide left.
Krumpak was seven-of-11 passing for 165 yards, while Miller was five-of-15 for the Rams for 59 yards.