By Spencer Decker, NEPASportsNation.com Student Journalist
SCRANTON – Charlie Thompson navigated the sloppy conditions to rush for 174 yards and score the game-winning touchdown with 8.7 seconds left Friday night while lifting Scranton over visiting Abington Heights, 23-14, in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division 1 game that wrapped up the regular season for both teams.
Scranton, which will enter the District 2 Class 6A playoffs as the fourth seed in a four-team field, finished 2-2 in the division and is 4-6 overall. The Knights play at LFC Division 1 champion Delaware Valley in the district semifinals.
Abington Heights season ends at 1-3 and 2-8.
The Comets seemed to be in good position at halftime, leading 14-6 after two rushing touchdowns by Caleb Marzolino.
Both teams had fumbles as the rain got harder and the conditions turned slippery in the second half, but Scranton was the team to take advantage.
Thompson’s late-game heroics included the touchdown and two-pointer to tie the game.
Antonio Hairston intercepted an overthrown pass to set up Thompson’s score that broke the 14-14 tie.
Abington Heights tried a series of laterals in desperation on the kickoff return, but they resulted in a fumble into the end zone and a safety as time expired.
Before finishing off the Comets, Thompson got the Knights started.
Thompson ran on 11 of 14 plays to begin the game. Arvel Chandler ran it in from the 7 to open the scoring.
The punt snap got away from Abington Heights at the end of its first possession, but Scranton could not take advantage of gaining possession at the Comets 35.
Abington Heights drove 75 yards to take the lead.
P.T. Cutrufello had consecutive runs of 19 and 12 yards, then hit Marzolino with a screen pass for 25 yards. A holding penalty forced a second-and-29, but a 15-yard penalty on Scranton helped Abington Heights escape that problem.
Marzolino scored from the 5 on the Comets’ third, third-down conversion of the drive for a 7-6 lead with 5:07 left in the half.
The Abington Heights defense forced Scranton back in a three-and-out on the next possession and the Comets took over at the Knights 35.
Cutrufello hit Mason Fedor with a 15-yard pass on third-and-five before Marzolino scored on a 2-yard run with 22.9 seconds left in the second quarter for a 14-6 halftime lead.
Scranton converted two third-down situations to reach the Abington Heights 37 on its first drive of the second half, but was unable to convert fourth-and-nine.
The rain and the fumbles increased at that point.
An exchange of fumbles, two plays apart, gave Scranton the ball at its 47.
Thompson carried on 5 of 6 plays, running for 42 yards before Abington Heights held on fourth-and-five from the 11.
Scranton used the field position to tie the game.
The Knights forced a three-and-out, then used a punt return and an Abington Heights penalty on the first play of the possession to move to the 25. Thompson scored from there, then barely reached the end zone for the tying two-pointer 3:19 left.
Hairston’s interception on the next play put the Knights at the Comets 47.
Chandler’s 22-yard pass to Billy Maloney on third-and-two with less than two minutes remaining moved the ball to the 8.
Chandler picked up three yards and Thompson four before Thompson scored the winning touchdown on third-and-goal from the 1.
MORE FRIDAY COVERAGE
Scranton Prep, Delaware Valley win LFC division championships: https://nepasportsnation.com/bulletins-cavaliers-warriors-claim-lfc-division-championships/.
Hazleton Area-Williamsport game: https://nepasportsnation.com/hazleton-area-wraps-up-division/.