By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
WILKES-BARRE – Nanticoke coach Ron Bruza called 63 straight running plays Saturday night.
Considering, that the first 59 gained yardage, Bruza had no reason to consider anything different.
Nor, did he have reason to stop feeding the ball to sophomore tailback Zach Fox, who carried 40 times for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Trojans defeated Holy Redeemer, 46-14, in a Wyoming Valley Conference Class 3A Division football game at King’s College’s McCarthy Stadium.
By the time Nanticoke was finally stopped for its first loss, Fox was done for the night and the Trojans were nursing their 30-point lead with three minutes left.
Fox surpassed 100 yards in the first quarter and 200 by halftime.
When the Trojans defense joined in during the second half, Nanticoke broke away for its third win in the last four games. The Trojans (3-5) had started 0-4 and scored 42 points in the first six games before piling up 96 in wins during the last two weeks.
Holy Redeemer, which allowed at least 46 points for the fourth straight game, slipped to 1-7.
Fox led a Nanticoke ground game that produced 481 yards on 63 carries. Alex Fine added 99 yards on 12 carries.
Nanticoke scored on a 3-yard Peyton Keep run with 1:14 left in the second quarter for a 24-14 halftime lead. The Trojans then held the Royals without a first down and to minus-28 yards rushing and minus-3 yards total offense in the second half.
Justice Shoats put Holy Redeemer in Nanticoke territory twice in the second half with a 22-yard punt return and a 39-yard kickoff return.
The first time, the Royals wound up punting on fourth-and-41. The next time, they gave the ball up on downs at the 25, ending their best threat of the half.
Nanticoke added three touchdowns to its lead in the second half.
Even before the defense kicked in during the third and fourth quarters, the Trojans were controlling the clock. Nanticoke built a 28:19-19:41 advantage in time of possession, while working their way back from an early deficit.
Zach Perta broke a sweep 52 yards for the game’s first touchdown and a 6-0 Holy Redeemer lead with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
Nanticoke came back with a nine-play, 69-yard drive for an 8-6 lead after one quarter.
Fox was 7-for-61 in the drive, which he completed with an 18-yard run and the first of his four runs for two-point conversions.
A short punt led to a short field and the Trojans covered 30 yards in 4 plays to score on Fox’s 3-yard touchdown and conversion run for a 16-6 lead.
Holy Redeemer answered with a nine-play, 66-yard drive.
Jacob Hunter ran to convert a fourth-and-two, then threw for a 17-yard touchdown when Shoats went over a defender in the end zone. The same two connected for two points to reduce the Nanticoke lead to 16-14 midway through the second.
Nanticoke scored for the third straight possession. The Trojans overcame 30 yards in penalties and Fox ran for two third-down conversions to set up Kepp’s touchdown.
Aidan Jaskulski’s 42-yard run set up Kepp’s 4-yard run for his second touchdown and a 32-14 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Trojans again overcame 20 yards in penalties in the 70-yard scoring drive.
The game was plagued by penalties. Each team was penalized 16 times with it costing Nanticoke 141 yards and Holy Redeemer 111.
Fox had a 22-yard run in a drive that led to his 11-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. When Fox fumbled on the two-point try, Ryan Wiaterowski, one of the key blockers throughout the game, fell on the ball in the end zone for two points.
With Holy Redeemer down 26 and forced to gamble, Wiaterowski came up with a fourth-down tackle for a loss to set up the Trojans at the Royals 28.
Braden Zaremba, another of the key blockers in the win, got his chance to handle the ball and score points. The 330-pound senior moved into the backfield and scored the game’s last points from the 1 with 5:05 left.