CLARKS SUMMIT — Abington Heights needed someone to jump start its running game to energize its offense.
Michael Pusateri accepted the challenge.
Making the move from offensive line to fullback, Pusateri ran for 100 yards on 13 carries and had a 51-yard touchdown run as Abington Heights defeated Honesdale, 16-0, beneath sunny skies Saturday at Comets Stadium in a Lackawanna Football Conference crossover game.
“We have been working really hard to get this win,” Pusateri said. “The offensive line did a great job creating holes and the coaches did a great job of putting us in good positions to win.
“My philosophy was just to get the ball and run as hard as I could.”
Abington Heights had minus-26 yards rushing last week in a loss to Scranton.
Robby Horvath, normally a wide receiver who is now at running back, put the Comets in the positive on the first play of the game with an 8-yard run.
From there, Abington Heights ran the ball nine more times, Pusateri had 15 yards and Julian Blanco had a 12-yard run before quarterback Michael Show hit Dante DeRiggi for a 20-yard touchdown on fourth down for a 7-0 advantage with 4:12 left in the first quarter.
Abington Heights (1-5) had its first lead since Week 3 against Scranton Prep and scored its first touchdown on offense since Week 2 against Valley View.
“That was huge for us,” DeRiggi said. “We came out this week with a lot to prove. We had a lot of frustration. We worked hard this week and it’s good to see the results on the field.
“I saw some room, it was a good throw and I made a play on it.”
A failed pass attempt on a fake punt by Honesdale set up Abington Heights with a minute to play in the quarter.
Then, Pusateri broke a tackle and sprinted for a 51-yard touchdown that pushed the margin to 13-0.
“I remember my first carry on Junior Comets as a fullback was the same exact play,” Pusateri said. “It was a 30 dive and I broke it outside and I just kept running.
“I can’t believe I got there that far without someone tackling me.”
Both teams struggled for much of the second and third quarters.
Abington Heights had a pair of lost fumbles and only 45 yards of total offense on its next 26 plays.
Honesdale (0-6), which fumbled six times — but lost only one — and had an interception, had only 55 yards rushing through three quarters.
Early in the fourth, Honesdale manufactured its best drive. Jacob Orrick had a 43-yard run through the middle of the Abington Heights defense and Connor Schmitt had runs of 15 and 11 yards.
The Hornets were stopped short of the goal line, however, on a fourth-down completion to Schmitt.
Abington Heights followed with its most productive possession.
Show had a 24-yard completion to Corey Perkins and a 56-yard completion to Jimmy Lefchak to finish with 129 yards passing. Those completions led to a 24-yard field goal by Lefchak to secure the Comets’ win that snapped an eight-game losing streak.
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