Some teams would have the red flag unfurled and be waving it frantically.
Not the Abington Heights Comets. Even an offense that hasn‚??t crossed the goal line in its last two games can‚??t get them panicked.
The reason is because winning 71 of 93 games under eighth-year coach Joe Repshis took more than one aspect of football. And when one is faltering, the others ‚?? defense and special teams ‚?? can be the savior.
That‚??s how Abington (9-2) got to the District 2 Class 3A championship game at Berwick (10-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday. The offense was quelled in the semifinals against Valley View, but the defense scored twice for a 13-6 victory.
‚??That‚??s why we stress all three phases of the game,‚?Ě Repshis said, ‚??because there may be a game where one phase of the game is struggling and the other two can pick it up. That‚??s kind of been our thing. We‚??ve gotten contributions in all three phases of the game. But obviously, we could do things better in all of them.
‚??Going into this game, especially, we‚??re going to have to play our best football all around.‚?Ě
Berwick coach George Curry isn‚??t looking at Abington‚??s recent offensive problems as a weakness.
‚??You look at the Valley View game, they shut down Valley View,‚?Ě Curry said. ‚??Valley View moved the ball more than they did, but guess what (Valley View) scored one touchdown on them. And that was a defensive play that set it up.‚?Ě
The legendary coach then referenced his team‚??s poor performance in a 33-15 loss to Wyoming Valley West on Sept. 21 for comparison‚??s sake.
‚??If anybody saw our Valley West game, they would say that‚??s the worst football team they‚??ve seen all year,‚?Ě Curry said.
Abington‚??s offense hasn‚??t scored since the third quarter of a 41-7 victory over North Pocono on Oct. 27. The Comets were shut out by undefeated Scranton 35-0 the following week, and defeated Valley View in the semifinals thanks to two interception return touchdowns by Dante Pasqualichio.
If Pasqualichio seems to have been at Abington forever, he hasn‚??t. But the surname has been a staple in the Comets‚?? success throughout the years. He is also a two-year starter at quarterback and has thrown for over 1,000 yards for a second consecutive season.
Of course, there will be a surname on the other sideline that is synonymous football glory. Two of them, in fact.
The one is Curry, who came out of retirement to take the job on an interim basis. The other is the quarterback, Curry‚??s grandson C.J. Curry. After a rough outing in Berwick‚??s only loss of the season (1-of-12, 2 ints.), the junior signal-caller has thrown for 124 or more yards in five of the last six games. He has eight touchdown passes in that span.
Toss in 1,300-yard rusher Matt Cashman, big-play receiver Jake Pecorelli and dual threat Jeff Steeber and it‚??s easy to see why the Dawgs have scored over 40 points six times. Big plays played a big part in the 28-7 semifinal victory over Dallas. Those big plays included eight sacks and a blocked field goal attempt.
‚??They are very well prepared and well coached,‚?Ě Repshis said. ‚??Offensively, they have the ability to score from anywhere on the field at any point in time. They have athletes who can make plays with the ball in their hands.
‚??Defensively, they are very quick, they are very physical up front and they move to the ball very well.‚?Ě
Abington‚??s offense was dealt a loss in week six when leading rusher Quinn Karam was lost for the season with an injury. The Comets have since relied on a stable of runners. The offense also has one of the district‚??s top athletes in wide receiver J.C. Show.
Berwick allowed seven sacks last Saturday and needs to be cognizant of Simon Patrick Williams and Paul Hubbard, who have combined for nearly 18 sacks. Pasqualichio and Nate Hollander have six interceptions each to lead the defense.
District 2 Class 2A
Lakeland at Wyoming Area
Class 4A Championship
Nazareth at Wyoming Valley West
District 2 Class 3A
Abington Heights at Berwick, 1 p.m.