Football drops disappointing 35–38 decision to Allegheny at home

Sophomore running back Chris Garcia eyes an Allegheny defender as he tries to move the ball up the field. Sophomore running back Chris Garcia eyes an Allegheny defender as he tries to move the ball up the field.

The Tartan football team played against the Allegheny Gators this past Saturday at Gesling Stadium. They battled for just under three hours and forced the Gators to play their best. Despite their diligent efforts, the Tartans fell just short of victory with a final score of 38–35. Their season record stands at 4–2.

After just about 10 minutes, Allegheny had already taken the lead with a 63-yard drive and a subsequent 32-yard field goal by the Gators’ kicker Ryan Zipf. But the Cardinal and Gray struck back immediately. Two senior Tartans, Phil Pantelone and Brendan Howe, came up clutch with an 81-yard drive and a 3-yard touchdown followed up by junior Elliot Carnevale’s extra point, making the score 7–3 just before the end of the first quarter.

As the second quarter came to a close, the Tartans were able to hold on to the 14–10 lead over the Gators after a touchdown by first-year Jake Nardone and a rival touchdown by Allegheny quarterback T.J. Salopek.

The Tartans and Gators battled closely in the second half, struggling back and forth to keep the lead. The Gators came out of the gate ready to score after halftime. They capitalized on a Tartan fumble, making a 17-yard run to score another 6 points, followed by a successful field goal.

The Gators followed it up with some challenging defense shutting down the Tartans with a three-and-out. With the ball in the hands of the Gators again, the Tartans were unable to stop the 17-yard run by Brian Tambulin causing them to slide further from the lead at a score of 24–14.

But the diligent Tartans fought on, led by Howe, who caught a glimpse of sophomore running back Chris Garcia, and got the ball to him from 62 yards away. This narrowed the gap for the Cardinal and Gray to 24–21. This was not the end of the roll for the Tartans. After a tough defensive stop against the Gators, Pantelone found another sophomore for an 8-yard touchdown — this time in Zach Gallup — to take the lead back for the first time since the first quarter, at 28–24. But the Tartan lead didn’t last long, as the Gators scored another touchdown just five minutes later, making the score 31–28.

Again, the lead went further in the favor of the Gators due to a Tartan fumble, making the score of the game 38–28. The duo of Pantelone and Gallup connected again to keep the hope of the Tartans alive, making the score 38–35 with 3:35 to play. After a Tartan unsuccessful onside kick and a quick fumble recovered by the Tartan sophomore Ray Johnson, the Tartans were set for victory on the 27 yard line. However, the Gator defense was just too tough, sacking Pantelone twice and maintaining their lead to shut the Tartans down with a final score of 38–35.

The Tartans suffered a loss, but played a great game.

“It was pretty disappointing, and I thought we didn’t do a good job of controlling the ball. We could have pulled it out at the end, but we didn’t do a good job of protecting the quarterback,” junior wide receiver John Staso said. “We have a real tough game ahead of us against a good team, and we need to stay focused.”

In two weeks, the Tartans will travel to play Wittenburg in Springfield, Ohio.