Northern's Romagnoli has Devils' number

September 25, 2004|by CURT HORNBECKER/Staff Correspondent

GREENCASTLE, Pa - Chuck Tinninis referred to him as No. 32, his teammates might have called him the touchdown machine and the Greencastle football team should probably call him Sir.

And why not? All Drew Romagnoli did was score four touchdowns - including three TD receptions - in Northern's 52-28 drubbing of the No. 7 Blue Devils Friday night.

"The difference in the game was No. 32," said Tinninis. "I don't expect to see another receiver as good as number 32 this year. We put what we thought was our best match-up on him, and it didn't work. The kid's a heck of a ball player."

It was Romagnoli - along with quarterback Colby Betz - who put Greencastle (2-2) in an early hole by connecting on a 69-yard touchdown pass on the game's third play from scrimmage. Less than three minutes later, that tandem hooked up for a 49-yard score for a 14-0 lead.


At that point, Tinninis abandoned his game plan for Romagnoli and used two players to keep the Polar Bears' receiver in check.

"We doubled him after the second touchdown, and nobody else made plays," said Tinninis. "The only play the rest of the night we didn't double him, they checked off and hit him for his third touchdown."

Prior to that play, the Devils had pulled to within 24-14 on runs of 20 and 10 yards by Tyreek Thrush, who finished with three of Greencastle's four scores, as well as 100 yards on 16 carries.

But Romagnoli's third score - with just 91 seconds left in the half - was followed by his fourth TD, a 38-yard interception return, less than 40 seconds later to give the Bears a commanding 38-14 advantage at the half.

After scoring four of their first five touchdowns on big plays, the Bears used a sustained march (16 plays, 78 yards) to extend the margin to 45-14 early in the fourth quarter, with Scottie Davies running in from the 6.

Greencastle added two scores in the final six minutes on Blake Border's 1-yard sneak and a 9-yard Thrush scamper. However, those scores were sandwiched around a 47-yard kickoff return by the Bears' Keith Kunkle.

"I thought the kids played hard until the end," said Tinninis, "and I'm pleased about that. I thought our offensive line really stepped it up, and we ran the ball pretty effectively."

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