Old Forge may be the No. 1-ranked team Class A football team in the state, according to PennLive.com, but that has not given the Blue Devils any breaks on the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association playoff road.
The Blue Devils got through a meeting of two of the state’s top six teams in the Round of 16 Friday night to set up Saturday’s No 1-vs.-No. 2 showdown in the quarterfinals.
Quarterback James Sobol accounted for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns, Angelo Fumanti led the defense and the Blue Devils pulled away late for a 26-7 victory over District 11 champion Williams Valley in a first-round state game at Dunmore’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Old Forge moves into Saturday’s battle of unbeatens with District 4 champion Canton, a 32-27 winner over defending state champion Steelton-Highspire at 1 p.m. at Danville.
The Blue Devils scored twice in the final 4:04 to break open a one-score game against sixth-ranked Williams Valley.
Sobol was 8-for-13 for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns while carrying 13 times for 92 yards and another score. He led a 38-carry, 257-yard ground game.
Josh Spindler added 72 yards on 10 carries, Casey Holzman ran for 59 yards and 1 of his 2 touchdowns on 5 carries and John Greenfield ran for 43 yards on 5 carries.
Sobol hit Holzman with a 36-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter to open the scoring, but Williams Valley tied the game at 7-7 by the end of the quarter.
The Blue Devils took a 13-7 lead 7:34 before halftime on a 43-yard run by Sobol, but neither team scored again for 27½ minutes.
Holzman gave Old Forge breathing room with a 4-yard touchdown and Sobol found Mario Samony for a 38-yard touchdown pass with 1:54 remaining.
Fumanti had a sack and forced a fumble, which he recovered. He led the defense with nine tackles while Greenfield made eight. Nick Rasmus, who had two tackles for losses, and Holzman finished with seven tackles each.
Holzman’s all-around effort also included a 33-yard kickoff return and a 7-yard punt return.
Old Forge, the Lackawanna Football Conference Division 4 and District 2 Class A champion, finished with statistical leads of 16-7 in first downs, 257-63 in rushing yards and 397-190 in total offense.
PHOTO CREDIT: Casey Holzman, who scored two touchdowns for Old Forge in the first round of the state playoffs, in action earlier this season. (Tim Drewes Photo)