Crestwood scored on the ground, through the air and on special teams — all in the opening quarter — and never relinquished that cushion en route to a 42-18 over Tunkhannock Friday night in a Wyoming Valley Conference Class 4A contest at Tunkhannock Memorial Stadium.
“This was a big 4A win for us, especially when you look big picture with where we stand,” Crestwood head coach Greg Myers said. “Tunkhannock is a good football team and unfortunately their record doesn’t indicate that right now. They have some great weapons and some tough kids up front. We knew it would be a tough place to play and that it was important to get off to a good start, and the kids did that.”
Indeed, after Tunkhannock’s Billy Prebola drilled a 23-yard field goal to give the Tigers an early lead five minutes into the game, the Comets’ hurry-up offense quickly moved the ball down the field.
In fewer than three minutes, Pat Rother completed a 9-play drive with a 24-yard touchdown run to give Crestwood a 7-3 lead.
Prebola’s second field goal from the same distance on Tunkhannock’s next drive cut the score to 7-6, but the Comets again moved quickly to respond.
Quarterback Garrett Swank found Kevin Klusewitz and Brandon Brozena for gains of 17 and 18 yards down to the Tiger 27 before again looking for Brozena in the end zone.
Though Tunkhannock junior Dennie Robinson tipped the pass, the senior receiver was able to reel in the ball for the score and a 14-6 lead after the extra point.
After Crestwood’s defense then forced a quick three-and-out, Rother, who finished the night with 170 yards on the ground, again came through with a big play, this time on special teams.
The junior raced around the edge to block Prebola’s punt, then returned it 37 yards for a touchdown.
“That was huge,” Myers said. “We expected what our offense had done to that point, but that blocked put was what allowed up to control the first half.”
The Comets scored again with 1:18 left in the second quarter and headed into halftime up 28-6, but would see the Tigers battle back in the third.
After forcing a fumble, Tunkhannock used a big 49-yard passing play from junior Zach Rogers to junior Jake Stephens before senior Logan Cywinski scored from 8 yards out to make it 28-12.
Another big play, this time a 69-yard touchdown run from junior Garrett Hopkins, pulled Tunkhannock to within 10 with 33 seconds left in the third, but Swank found Klusewitz on the first play of the next drive for 68 yards and a 35-18 Crestwood lead with 18 seconds remaining in the quarter.
“We knew what they were going to try to do and practice for it all week, but it’s difficult to sometimes simulate a team’s speed,” Tunkhannock Area head coach Jan Cechak said. “Like most teams, we’re playing with some adversity, but we have to be ready to go for the rest of the season.”
The Tigers had another chance to cut the lead to 10 with 8 minutes left in the fourth, but a 60-yard drive ended when a 4th-down pass to Stephens was ruled to have hit the ground in the end zone.
Stephens finished with 126 receiving yards, while Hopkins and Cywinski both rushed for more than 100 yards.
“We can’t keep spotting teams such big leads to open the game,” Cechak said. “Credit Crestwood, they have some players and it was another close game for us. The kids kept fighting, and we’re right on the cusp of being able to blow some games open.”
The Tigers will be back in action on Friday when they travel to Wilkes-Barre to face Meyers.
Crestwood 42, Tunkhannock 18
CRE 21 7 7 7 — 42
TUN 6 0 12 0 — 18
TUN - Prebola 23 field goal, 10:06.
CRE - Rother 24 run (Swank kick), 7:48.
TUN - Prebola 23 field goal, 5:03.
CRE - Brozena 24 pass from Swank (Swank kick), 3:44.
CRE - Rother 37 punt block return (Swank kick), 2:36.
CRE - Swank 1 run (Swank kick), 1:18.
TUN - Cywinski 8 run (pass failed), 9:33.
TUN - Hopkins 69 run (run failed), 0:36.
CRE - Klusewitz 68 pass from Swank, (Swank kick), 0:18.
CRE - Rother 38 run (Swank kick), 2:53.
First Downs 20 17
Rushing-Att-Yards 43-285 42-262
Comp-Att-Int 8-13-0 6-25-1
Passing Yards 163 152
Total Yards 448 414
Punts-Average 3-36 3-34.5
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-90 3-25
Rushing: CRE - P. Rother 20-170, 2 TDs; K. Klusewitz 4-38; G. Swank 11-35, 1 TD; M. Macri 2-22; M. Tirpak 3-15; O. Grigas 1-4; J. Curry 1-1; J. Schmude 1-0. TUN - G. Hopkins 16-145, 1 TD; L. Cywinski 15-113, 1 TD; M. Ramey 3-10; Z. Rogers 8-(-6).
Passing: CRE - G. Swank 8-13-0, 163, 2 TDs. TUN - Z. Rogers 4-13-1, 96; J. Chilson 2-12, 56.
Receiving: CRE - K. Klusewitz 3-89, 1 TD; B. Brozena 3-57, 1 TD; P. Rother 1-13; J. Curry 1-4. TUN - J. Stephens 5-126; D. Robinson 1-26.
Interception: CRE - K. Klusewitz