Flames run out of steam against Monessen

Northgate’s Anthony Barbarino scrambles for yardage, pursued by a pack of Greyhounds, as the Flames came out hot against Monessn last Friday, but ran out of steam and handed the Greyhounds a 34-25 win. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By MEL PERKINS

The Northgate Flames were looking to get back into the win column last Friday night when they met up with the Greyhounds from Monessen. The Flames came out of the gate on fire for their homecoming game, and the pace was quick. Northgate went up 19 - 0 in the first quarter, but ran out of gas as the quarter ended. The Flames cooled and Monessen gained the momentum to hand Northgate a 34 - 25 loss, their second in a row.

The Greyhounds kicked off to start the game, and the Flames wasted no time going 68 yards in seven plays to score the first TD of the game in just 2:30 minutes. Starting on their 32, Anthony Barbarino, took a quarterback keeper across midfield before being stopped on the Monessen 48. A face mask penalty tacked on at the end of the run put the Flames on the 33.

On the next play, Chris Davin handed it off to Paul Morris, and he barreled his way down to the 11, picking up another first down. From the 11, Barbarino pounded them, and on 3rd-and-goal from the five, Barbarino blasted through the left side of the Greyhound line for a Northgate TD. The extra point was no good, but the Flames were up 6 - 0 with 9:36 left in the quarter.

The Flames' Heman Darjee kicked an onside kick, and Nate O'Mara fell on it to give Northgate the ball on the Monessen 45. Unable to take advantage of the possession, Northgate was forced to punt after going three-and-out.

The Greyhounds began on their 13 yard line, and began to establish their run game. On 2nd-and-4 from their 32, Monessen went to the run again, but Jacian Sustayta stripped the ball from the Greyhounds' runner and recovered it on the Northgate 45.

Setting up shop on their 45, Barbarino ran for three yards, and then Morris got the call, picking up four and crossing midfield to the Monessen 48. On third down, Davin hit Gary Hairston for the first down and the Flames were on the Greyhounds' 40. Then Barbarino and Morris took turns hammering the Monessen line, but the drive stalled on the 22. Looking at 4th-and-15, Darjee came in and drilled a 39-yard field goal, but the Greyhounds got hit with a roughing the kicker penalty, and the Flames had the ball on the 14.

Barbarino and Sustayta took turns carrying the ball down to the one yard line, picking up a first down on the way. And, on 1st-and-goal from the one, Barbarino ran over center for the TD to make the score 12 - 0 with 2:22 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion failed.

Again the Flames kicked off, and pinned the Greyhounds deep in their own territory, on their eight. On first down, Morris rushed the quarterback, and with the swipe of his arm, stripped the QB and fell on the ball for a Northgate TD with 2:02 left in the first quarter. Darjee's extra point kick was good, and the Flames were up 19 - 0.

The Flames kicked off after the score, and with 1:48 left in the quarter, Monessen proceeded to return the kick 85 yards for a Greyhound TD. The two-point conversion was good, and with that, momentum swung to the Monessen side, and it stayed there.

The quarter ended with the Flames up 19 - 8, and the Greyhounds would rattle off the next 26 points.

At the end of the half the Flames were still up 19 - 14, but the Greyhounds were closing in. With 3:06 left in the third quarter, Monessen took a 20 - 19 lead.
With 1:28 left in the game, the Greyhounds kicked off with a 34 - 19 lead. Morris returned the kick to the Northgate 38. On first down, Davin's pass fell incomplete. On second down, Barbarino picked up a hard two yards. Looking at a 3rd-and-8 from the 40, Davin hit Hairston for a pickup of five yards. And, with the game clock winding down, 4th-and-3 with less than a second left in the game, Davin dropped back in the pocket and hit Sustayta in a crowd of Greyhounds on the 32, and he cleared the group with a sprint to the end zone for Northgate's final score. The extra point kick was no good. The Flames had dropped a non-conference game to Monessen 34 - 25.

After the game, Coach T.J. Wiley said, “The game swung in the second quarter. Our lack of tackling and aggressiveness was really just the telling tale in the game.” The game was a non-conference game, and there are still three conference games left to be played. Wiley said, “We're such a young team going through our growing pains. But, we just have to do a better job. It's back to the drawing board.”

The Flames (2 - 3, 2 - 4) travel to Western Beaver (4 - 2, 5 -2) tomorrow for a 12:30 p.m. game.