NEPA Sports Nation

Bibla’s defense disrupts Cougars

Magnus Bibla made six timely second-half sacks, blocked a punt and forced a fumble as Crestwood defeated host Hazleton Area, 35-14, on the way to a share of the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 lead.

Bibla’s defensive plays, crashing in from Hazleton Area’s quarterback Tyler Wolfe’s blindside, led to possession changes and set up scores.

Crestwood used the win and Berwick’s 39-22 victory over Dallas to catch Dallas in a tie for the Division 1 lead at 4-1.

Hazleton Area scored first and last, but with Bibla dominating up front, Crestwood controlled much of the game while running off 35 straight points.

Noah Schultz took care of the offense with 197 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 carries. He also intercepted a pass to finish off the Cougars.

Schultz led a ground attack that outrushed Hazleton Area, 345-70.

Hazleton Area stopped Crestwood on downs at the Cougars 35 to end the game’s first possession then scored on its fifth offensive play.

Wolfe hit Ryan Matyas with a third-and-10 pass that had already produced a first down when a Crestwood defender spun Matyas near the ground at the Comets 35. Matyas never went down, however, rolled off the defender and went the rest of the way for a 54-yard touchdown and 6-0 lead.

Crestwood got as close as the Hazleton Area 11 on the next possession, after it continued into the second quarter. A bad shotgun snap on third down and a Connor Shamany fourth-down pass break-up in the end zone stopped that threat.

Bibla’s blocked punt gave Crestwood, which was still trailing, the ball at the Hazleton Area 33 midway through the second quarter.

The Comets took the lead two plays later.

Freshman Jaden Shedlock ran 26 yards untouched through a big hole on the left side and Logan Rolles added the first of his five PAT’s for a 7-6 lead.

Hazleton Area drove to the 16 before fumbling a handoff.

Crestwood had opened the game with eight passes in the first quarter, in stark contrast to its fewer than six attempts per game coming in.

The Comets went exclusively with the ground game the rest of the way, including on an eight-play, 78-yard drive to race up the field in the last 1:45 of the half.

Robert Knight moved Crestwood across midfield with a 23-yard run.

Schultz went 25 yards around left end on third-and-five to the 7.

As officials set the chains, the Comets raced to the line for a snap and one more play rather than a spike to stop the clock.

Knight scored from the 7 with 2.8 seconds left for a 14-6 halftime lead.

Connor Kundrat returned the second-half kickoff 40 yards, but the Cougars could not move.

Bibla’s third-down sack forced a punt.

The Comets again scored with 8 straight runs, this time covering 62 yards.

Schultz opened the drive with a 16-yard run around left end. After Knight carried once, Schultz ran the next six plays, converting two third downs, then scoring from the 5.

Hazleton Area threatened, picking up three first downs before Bibla’s consecutive sacks on third and fourth down.

The Comets, who scored five times in six possessions, were stopped for the only time in the half before Bibla again came up with consecutive snaps on third and fourth downs.

The fourth-down sack gave Crestwood the ball at the Hazleton Area 25.

Schultz had one touchdown run called back before scoring from the 4 with 8:44 left.

Hazleton Area dug itself out of a third-and-30, following sacks by the Biblas, freshman Lincoln, then Magnus. The Cougars eventually lost the ball on downs and Schultz scored on a 52-yard run on the next play.

Kundrat scored for Hazleton Area on a 5-yard run with 2:49 left. Matthew Cusatis ran for the two-pointer.

Cusatis then recovered an on-side kick, but Schultz intercepted to stop the comeback threat.

Magnus Bibla made eight total tackles. Lincoln Bibla added seven, including a second tackle for a loss.

Hazleton Area lost its second straight to drop to 1-2 and 5-2.

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