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2004 Saturday Game Report

Saturday Game Report #2


Johnstown 30, Central 0

Central received the opening kickoff last night and went to the air right away. This time, however, it was not quarterback Colby Hazenstab but a halfback pass for a big gain that had the Trojan defense on their heels. Rather than stay in the air, Central Coach A.J. Hoenstine decided to use the stall strategy. He had his quarterback stand at the line of scrimmage and wait for the back judge to give the “five seconds to go” signal. The flaw in this strategy is that your defense has to make some stops for it to work. While the Scarlet Dragon defense (actually both units) played tough, they could not keep the high-powered JHS offense out of the end zone. In the end, the strategy worked just about as well as it did for Penn Cambria last year against the Trojans (JHS 28, Penn Cambria 0)

Do not let the score fool you though because the Trojans were less than impressive, mainly giving up a lot of yardage by way of penalties (including 3 consecutive illegal procedure calls during one series). A bright spot though was the passing game and senior quarterback Devin Carosi. Carosi’s throwing has very much improved since the 2003 season. He had one touchdown pass, a 40-yard pass to Reggie Farrior, and one touchdown called back in the first drive (what would have been a 54-yard score to Josh Miller).

Although LaRod Stephens has his customary stat night, he did it in workman like fashion. He gained 186 yards and 3 touchdowns on 31 carries. He carried the ball every play but one, a third-and-one conversion that went to fullback Terrill Simms, on a drive which beautifully set-up the play action on Carosi’s strike to Farrior.

Stephens night gives him 352 yards on 37 carries with seven rushing touchdowns (he also has one receiving) thus far on the season. A never-say-die Dragon defense, obviously not intimidated by the star, made some nice stops on him though and can take gratitude in lowering his yards-per-carry to under 10 (9.51). Although he did go untouched on two of his scores thanks to gaping holes by an unsung offensive line, the Dragons keep Stephens under five yards on quite a few rushes and even stopped for a loss a few times.

The Trojan defense showed some let-downs but all-in-all one cannot be displeased with a shutout, their first of the year. Late in the third quarter they forced Hazenstab to intentionally ground the ball in the end zone for a safety.

Sophomore Ben Landis was a 4-for-4 on PAT attempts, keeping him perfect on the season. His punt, which was downed deep in Central territory, helped set-up the Trojan safety.

The Trojans will host Westmont next Friday while Central is back home against Cambria Heights.

Doug Keklak can be reached at




Saturday Game Report #4


Johnstown 33, Richland 0

Sink holes and field conditions were not the problem last night at Herlinger Field as they had been in the past. It was power. A power outage in the first half knocked out the lights in the press box, the scoreboard and about half of the bulbs in the individual stadium light towers. After a very short delay it was announced that official time would be kept on the field by the back judge and that the game would go on.

Of course that is not the only power that was an issue Friday night. The power of the Johnstown High offense was just as prevalent. An offense that has gotten more balanced each week came to play against the outclassed Rams. It is no secret that LaRod Stephens is one of the best, if not the best, running back in the area. In order for the Trojans to truly be successful they need some weapons to keep the pressure of him. They got that Friday in the name of quarterback Devon Carosi who was 6-for-10 passing for 185 yards and one touchdown. He also added a touchdown on the ground.

The Trojans wasted no time getting on the board. After a 44-yard Carosi to Xavier Thomas completion the Trojans went to their workhorse. LaRod Stephens took the second play of the drive to the house, scampering for a 29 yard touchdown. Ben Landis added the first of his 3 PATs to make the score 7-0.

For the second score the Trojans went back to the air, to the Carosi to Thomas combination once again. This time, the completion was for 84 yards and a score. Although it appeared that a Richland defender would catch Thomas from behind, Thomas was not to be denied. Landis added the point after to make it 14-0 Trojans.

It was back to the bread and butter for the third score as Stephens made a nice run for 44 yards for the score. Landis again added the PAT to make it 21-0 JHS. Stephens ended the night with 10 carries for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns in only one half of work as Bob Arcurio went to the JV squad for most of the second half.

Carosi capped off yet another nice, balanced drive for the Trojans with a one-yard sneak. This time the kick failed and it was Johnstown 27, Richland 0.

Johnstown’s first half scoring was finished by the defense as Josh Miller intercepted a pass from freshman Marco Pecora and returned it for the “pick six” 37 yards down the sideline. Landis’ kick did not make it over the crossbar so the score was set at Johnstown 33, Richland 0.

With mostly backups in the game for JHS during the second half the scoring was over. However the JV defense should be commended for holding off the Rams offense at the end of the game. Richland had the ball first and goal and had four opportunities to put points on the board but all four of their attempts fell incomplete. The Trojans second offense came on the field and in the victory formation took a knee and the game was over. It is the second time this year that the Trojans have shut out their opponent.

Johnstown improves to 3-1 and is at Somerset next Friday whereas Richland falls to 0-4 and plays Bishop McCort back at Herlinger Field for their homecoming.

Doug Keklak can be reached at


Johnstown 42, Somerset 7

Total domination. There are no two other words to describe the Johnstown Trojans’ performance against the Somerset Golden Eagles last night at Somerset High School stadium. The Trojans scored early and often, especially in the first half as they amassed a 42-0 lead at the half. For the second week in a row, JHS got all the scoring it needed against its opponent in the first half.

A long touchdown pass on the first drive was called back by a penalty but that was just a slight delay of the inevitable. The Trojans continued to drive and scored on a LaRod Stephens 14-yard touchdown. The senior finished the game 131 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and 80 yards and 1 touchdown receiving. Sophomore Ben Landis, who was perfect on the night, added the extra point to make it 7-0 Trojans.

The next Trojans’ drive, which mixed the pass and run well, ended in another Stephens touchdown, this one from 5 yards out. 14-0 Trojans.

The next Stephens touchdown was quite impressive. With the Trojans deep in there own territory the offense rolled to the right and Devin Carosi threw a screen pass against the grain. LaRod did the rest, cutting his way up the left sideline for the 80-yard touchdown, Carosi’s first of two TD passes on the evening. 21-0 Trojans.

Moving to the second quarter, yet another strong JHS drive on offense ended in a 30-yard touchdown from Stephens who made a beautiful cut. While running left he literally stopped and cut to the right to reach the pylon on that side. 28-0 Trojans.

The “X” factor got in the end zone next as Xavier Thomas pulled in a pass in the corner of the end zone. It was Carosi’s second touchdown pass of the game. Thomas ran a nice route, made a great move to get separation from the cornerback and came back to the ball for the score. 35-0 Trojans.

The defense, stingy as usual all night, got in the act and closed out the scoring for JHS. Reggie Farrior, back from missing a few games with injuries, returned an interception 40 yards for the “pick six”. Landis capped of his perfect night, making it a “pick seven”! 42-0 Trojans.

The Trojans were unable to preserve the shutout as Milton Earensty scored on a 15-yard run at the end of the game, Clay Walker added the extra point and that closed out the scoring and set the final at JHS 42, Somerset 7.

Carosi ended the night 9-for-12 with 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is the second win for the Trojans in section play as they improve to 4-1 overall. Somerset falls to 2-3 and have yet to beat a LHAC Section 2 opponent. This is the third year in a row that the Trojans have put 40 or more points on the Golden Eagles. Likewise, the Trojans’ defense held the Golden Eagles to one score or less for the third year in a row.

The Trojans will have their first true test next week. It is homecoming and the Bishop Carroll Huskies will be in town. They will be looking for the “City Sweep” at Trojan Stadium as they beat Bishop McCort at JHS’ home field a week ago. Somerset will look to rebound against Richland at home next week.

Doug Keklak can be reached at

Johnstown 35, Bishop Carroll 0

I have to apologize for those of you that read my “Tale of the Tape” column yesterday. It seems my computer did not register a keystroke when I typed the prediction. Therefore, it only read “Trojans by 3”. (And if you believe that, I have some swamp land I am looking to unload!) Yes, that score is not a misprint, the Trojans triumphed over the Bishop Carroll Huskies in front of a large crowd at Trojan Stadium on homecoming night.

The fireworks happened early and often as JHS dominated line-play on both sides of the ball. The Trojans dominated every aspect of the game and looked to be avenging their one-point loss to the Huskies a year ago. They did it in convincing fashion.

The Trojans won the toss and elected to receive. On the third play from scrimmage LaRod Stephens took the handoff and ran 47 yards for the first of his three scores on the evening. Ben Landis’ extra-point attempt sailed wide and set off groans of what that meant a year ago.

However, the Trojans would make up for that botched PAT in the second quarter as Devin Carosi hit homecoming king Josh Miller with a 19-yard pass for a touchdown. Carosi then hit Reggie Farrior on a beautiful pass and catch to convert the two points and put the Trojans up 14-0.

On the ensuing Huskies drive, quarterback Joel Takacs looked deep but Stephens picked it off for the first of his two interceptions. Perhaps learning from the Westmont game and taking a knee into the half, Coach Bob Arcurio elected to run a play and the move paid off, as 91 yards later Stephens again hit pay dirt. Landis this time converted and set the halftime score at 21-0 JHS.

On the Trojans second drive of the second half Stephens scored his final touchdown of the night, a 51-yard scamper off right end. Landis tacked on the PAT and made it 28-0 Trojans.

JHS did not let up though, as Bishop Carroll is known as a great second half team, however, this night it was not to be as Takacs dropped back to pass and fumbled straight up in the air. “King” Miller was “Johnny on the spot” and returned the Husky mishap 15 yards for the score. Landis booted the extra-point setting the final at 35-0.

The Trojans defense did a great job of shutting down tailback Paul Forcellini who was visibly upset on the sideline for most of the second half. Takacs did pick up 124 yards on 18 carries for Craig Sponsky’s squad but it just was not enough.

The closest the Huskies got to scoring was in the second quarter, but their drive stalled at the 15 and Gary Sanderson’s 33-yard field goal attempt was no good. Sanderson’s 26-yarder lifted the Huskies over Bishop McCort at Trojan Stadium two weeks ago.

The Huskies split the “City Series” with the Johnstown area teams and fall to 4-2. They will look to get back on the winning track next week against Somerset. The Trojans improve to 5-1 and will have their hands full “on the road” against Bishop McCort next week.

Doug Keklak can be reached at




Bishop McCort 17, Johnstown 14

The only thing that got iced Friday night were the fans that had to wait an extra minute for the inevitable. Marc Domonkos kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired last night, giving Bishop McCort a 17-14 win on their homecoming night. The Trojans attempted to ice the junior, calling a timeout after the Crushers returned to the field following their timeout with four seconds on the game clock. With apologies to Stuart Scott, Domonkos was as cool as the other side of the pillow. While the other ten players went back to the sideline, he simply warmed up and went through his kicking motion. Following a good snap, placement and hold, Domonokos nailed what was a formality, a field goal just about the distance of an extra point.

The fans at Trojan Stadium got there money’s worth though. This game featured trick plays, tough defense, big special teams and an overall great atmosphere. Bishop McCort got all of its points in the fourth quarter for a great LHAC Section II win.

Both teams drove in to field goal range on their first drives however both drives stalled and both Domonkos and Ben Landis missed field goal attempts for Bishop McCort and Johnstown respectively.

Both defenses played tough in the first half, forcing punts and keeping its opponent off the scoreboard. However, Coach Bob Arcurio reached in to the Varsity Blues playbook and dusted off the hook and ladder play as Devin Carosi hit Xavier Thomas who then hit LaRod Stephens perfectly in stride with the lateral and he trucked it in from 25 yards out. Landis hit the extra point and it was 7-0 Trojans at the half.

With the Trojans getting the kickoff in the second half it seemed that the big trick play would give them momentum coming out of halftime but Bishop McCort made some adjustments. Although team scored in the third quarter, the Crushers mounted a drive at the end of the period that led to a Shawn Lewis score early in the fourth. Domonkos added the first of his two extra points, remaining perfect on the season (27-for-27) and it was a tie ballgame.

It seemed the Trojans’ defense had stifled the run up the middle so Ken Salem apparently adjusted at the half and used Lewis more around the end and it paid dividends. Crusher quarterback Mike Sheridan also had 106 yards passing including many key completions to North Carolina-bound tight end Jose Cruz.

Johnstown was forced to punt on its next series of downs and after Landis had trouble field the high snap the Crushers got great field position. Lewis scored his second touchdown of the night from 7 yards out and put McCort in the lead for the first time of the night, 14-7.

The Trojans were not finished however as they drove on a drive extended by a roughing the kicker penalty and Stephens scored his second touchdown of the night around the left end from 3 yards out and Landis booted the extra point to tie the game at 14.

But with a weapon as dangerous as Domonkos, the Crushers would not have to drive far… but they did. Sheridan hit Cruz for a big completion and Lewis rushed the ball to get even closer for Domonkos to set the final.

Lewis ended the night with 18 carries for 80 yards and the two Crusher scores. Bishop McCort’s defense was the first to hold LaRod Stephens to less than 100 yards this season. Although Stephens scored both Trojan touchdowns, he was held to only 74 yards on 12 carries.

The Crushers improve to 6-1 and will travel to Bedford next week to take on the undefeated Bisons in what should be an absolutely fantastic game. Johnstown drops to 5-2 and will look to rebound next week in Cresson against the Penn Cambria Panthers.

Doug Keklak can be reached at



Johnstown 27, Central Mountain 0

The Johnstown Trojans got all the scoring they needed in the first half Friday Night, as they advanced to the District 6-AAA finals next week with a 27-0 victory over the Central Mountain Wildcats. LaRod Stephens scored three times while Xavier Thomas scored once on the night as the Trojans improved to 8-2.

With the Wildcat defense keying on Stephens most of the night, this gave Devin Carosi a chance to display his goods and that is exactly what he did as two of JHS’ four touchdowns came through the air. Thomas scored on a pass from 21 yards out on a play that ended a drive that was set up on a fumble recovery by the Trojan defense deep in their territory. Stephens knocked the ball from Central Mountain running back Doug Nyman, doing his best Carnell Lake imitation from a few years back.

Stephens himself opened the scoring by catching a 15-yard pass from Carosi early in the first quarter. He also scored on runs from 2 and 3 yards out. He finished the night with 23 carries for 110 yards and his performance put him over the 1,500 yard mark for the season.

Central Mountain ends their season at .500 with a 5-5 record. Hyman led the Wildcat rushing attack with 14 carries for 151 yards but his fumble cost his team the best chance they had at scoring.

Johnstown will play Bellefonte (6-4), a 28-14 winner over Huntingdon Saturday night, in the District 6-AAA championship game next Friday at Mansion Park in Altoona. Game time is 7:00.

Doug Keklak can be reached at



Johnstown 35, Bellefonte 7

The Trojan fans that chose to travel through the foggy conditions on their way to Altoona’s Mansion Park got to witness history. They saw a Johnstown team win their first district championship in football. The Trojans, at times through the years, had been doormats of the WPIAL. Although some teams in the late 80s and early 90s had some success in the WPIAL as far as conference championships and playoff appearances, none ever won the district. No Trojan team ever got to the elusive “Championship Saturday”, which in those days was held at Three Rivers Stadium.

Although he didn’t record a touchdown on either side of the ball, Reggie Farrior was the story for JHS Friday night. He picked off three Bellefonte passes which were crucial to the Trojans’ success. He started his great night early, picking off the first pass Josh Mundy attempted. His return set up LaRod Stephens’ first touchdown of the night on a run through the right side. Ben Landis added the PAT and it was 7-0 Trojans early.

On the next Johnstown possession, fullback Terrill Simms scored on a run from 5 yards out. Landis made good on the convert and it was 14-0 Johnstown early.

You pretty much know once a game you are more than likely to get a game breaking, highlight reel type of run from Stephens. That is just what the Trojans got on their next offensive possession as Stephens took the handoff, sliced and diced and the 79 yards later it was Johnstown 20, Bellefonte 0 much to the delight of the Trojan faithful who pretty much knew they had the game sewed up by then.

The Trojans did get back on the board again until the second half. This time the defense got in the act as Mark Tisinger picked up a fumble and rumbled in from 9 yards out. Mundy was caught unprepared for a shotgun snap and the ball was snapped right past him and he was unsuccessful in diving on the loose ball. The ball took a fortuitous bounce off Mundy’s shoulder after hopping off the artificial turf and rolled toward the end zone.

As the Trojans were unsuccessful on their previous point after they elected to go for two. Bob Arcurio chose to run a trick play of sorts. Stephens lined up tight in the slot on the left side, went in motion to the right and took a tight handoff from Devin Carosi. He then throw a pass to Xavier Thomas who made one of the best catches of the year, concentrating on the tip and securing the ball and the score at 28-0.

JHS closed out their scoring in the fourth period with a one-yard run by Simms. Landis added the point after and it was 35-0.

Bellefonte avoided the shutout in garbage time. Josh Jones scored from 3 yards out and Justin Witherite added the point after to set the final score at 35-7. The Trojans held Jones, who had put some big numbers up in previous weeks, to just 58 yards on the ground.

Tom Gravish’s Red Raiders finished the 2004 campaign at 6-5 while the Trojans advance to the inter-district round of the PIAA playoffs. They will play District 4-AAA champion Selinsgrove at Selinsgrove Saturday at 1:00.

Doug Keklak can be reached at


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