Abington Heights headed home Friday night knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that it had been in a football game. The Comets hung a 42-20 loss on previously unbeaten Paupack, but they could do little to slow down Joey DeFebo. The Buckhorn tailback shredded Abington for 210 yards and a pair of TDs.
“One game can’t define an entire season.”
That’s the message Mark Watson was trying to hammer home to his players after Friday’s loss to Abington Heights.
The Buckhorns dug themselves a 14-0 hole after Eric Ofcharsky scorched them for a pair of first quarter touchdowns. And, despite another stellar outing from Joey DeFebo, Paupack never recovered en route to a 42-20 setback.
“We played about as bad as we could possibly play,” Dr. Watson told TWI Sports. “We’re going to take a look at the tape, make some adjustments and move on. Starting Monday, we forget about this game and focus on the next one.”
This defeat was the first of the season for Paupack, which had opened the ‘08 campaign with four straight wins. Next up on the Buckhorn agenda is a Division One battle against Scranton. The Knights are 4-1 overall and coming off a 27-7 thrashing of archrival West Scranton. Opening kick-off for this contest is slated for 7:00 p.m. Friday on the shores of The Big Lake.
Paupack won the coin toss, but deferred its choice to the second half. Abington didn’t hesitate with its decision: the Comets wanted the ball and elected to receive.
That decision proved to be the beginning of the end for the Buckhorns. Why? Because Eric Ofcharsky took the opening kick-off, made a couple of quick moves and was off to the races. Eighty-one yards later, Abington’s shifty scatback was celebrating a TD just 15 seconds into the ballgame.
“That kind of shocked us a little bit,” Paupack senior Eric Garcia said. “It knocked us back on our heels.”
Ofcharsky struck again before the first quarter expired. The underrated Comet bounced his way to a 4-yard TD at the 3:27 mark. When Charlie Armetta banged home the second of his five extra points, Abington had itself a 14-0 bulge.
Just as the Paupack faithful were starting to sink into their seats, Joey DeFebo brought them to their feet with yet another spectacular run.
DeFebo is far & away the LFC’s top running back this fall. Entering Friday’s contest, he’s already passed the 1,000-yard barrier...just four games into the season. Joey also had 18 TDs to his credit and was primed to tack on a few more.
With a little over two minutes left in the first quarter, DeFebo delivered a roundhouse blow to Abington’s defense. Joey took a hand-off from quarterback Ryan Dodt. He hit the hole hard, broke a pair of arm tackles and turned on the jets.
No one in the Comet secondary could catch DeFebo as he rocketed 69-yards to paydirt. Colton Plum split the uprights with his conversion try and suddenly Abington’s lead was cut in half, 14-7.
“The holes were there and I ran as hard as I could,” DeFebo said afterward. “I don’t think I could have done anything different. Abington is probably the best team we’ve seen so far, but I think we could’ve taken them if we played better.”
Garcia agreed with DeFebo’s assessment. Eric turned in a stellar individual performance of his own, running back a kick-off 82 yards for a TD. However, he also felt that the Buckhorns made too many mental errors to win.
“Scoring a touchdown like that felt great, but I’d trade it any day for a win,” Garcia said. “We made so many mistakes it isn’t even funny. If we had played the way we’re capable of playing, we absolutely would’ve won.”
By the Numbers
DeFebo finished his night with 210 yards on 27 carries. He added the 20th touchdown of his season after intermission, breaking loose on a 19-yard scamper.
Unfortunately for the big home crowd, Abington had an answer each time Paupack crept back within striking distance. Ofcharsky sliced his way through the Buckhorns’ defense for a 52-yard TD with 2:21 left in the third quarter.
Paul Gallagher gave the Comets some breathing room with a 2-yard rumble midway through the final stanza. Abington shredded Paupack’s front seven for 332 yards on 43 carries (7.7 ypc).
“There was way too much arm-tackling out there tonight,” said an exasperated Dr. Watson. “I don’t know what happened. We’ve never really had that problem before. We’ll address it this week in practice.”
Another facet of Paupack’s game that coaches will address is the aerial attack. Dodt completed just 3-of-10 passes for 27 yards. He also threw an interception that Abington ran back 30 yards for a TD.
Score by Quarters...
WAL 7 0 7 6 - 20
AH 14 0 7 7 - 42