Zack Fox ended up being one of the best football players in Nanticoke history. On Saturday night, he ended his high school playing career showing why he earned that status for the Trojans.

Fox rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns, scored another touchdown with an 85-yard kickoff return and added an interception on defense to help the Miners to 42-6 win over the Pioneers in the 73rd Annual UNICO All-Star game. The performance earned Nanticoke’s all-time leading rusher the George Curry MVP Award.

“I was definitely excited to play in this game. I couldn’t sleep last night,” said Fox who is headed to Lackawanna College. When asked about how he had an influence in all three phases of the games, he replied “I’ve been doing this all year and I liked bringing it here, too. The team really came together and we had good chemistry all week”.

The Miners used a strong offensive line and running game the Pioneers had trouble stopping all night. While Fox brought a speed factor, Hazleton Area’s Brady Mizenko (11 rushes for 79 yards) and Wilkes-Barre’s Howie Shiner (6 rushes for 57 yards and a touchdown) brought the power element.

After the Pioneers opening drive stalled and were force to punt, the Miners threw a pass on their first offensive play from scrimmage and then ran the ball 13 straight times to open up the scoring. Pittston Area quarterback Drew DeLucca scored on the first play of the 2nd quarter from four yards out to cap a 14-play, 76 yard drive that ran over 9:00 minutes off the clock. Fox was stopped on the two-point conversion try to make give the Miners a 6-0 lead.

Dallas’ Lucas Tirpak was the first Miner to deliver a big play on defense as he halted a Pioneer drive with an interception of a pass attempt by Berwick’s Ethan Lear. The Miners would the go on a 7-play drive which was capped off by Fox’s 18 yard touchdown run.

On the next possession, Hazleton Area’s Peter Youngcourt forced a fumble which was recovered by Pittston Area’s Ciaran Bilbow to get the Miners the ball back.

Two plays later, Fox broke open a 44-yard run for his second touchdown of the quarter and an 18-0 lead for the Miners.

The Miners defense would get in on the scoring as Nanticok’e Jadyn Johnson sacked Lear jarring the ball loose and Youngcourt picked up the bouncing ball and raced into the end zone for an 8-yard fumble recovery touchdown. Shiner would catch as pass from DeLucca for the 2-point conversion and a Miners 26-0 lead.

The Pioneers tried to get on the scoreboard before halftime, but Fox ended that threat with an interception of Valley West’s Lucas Zdancewicz pass attempt downfield.

Nanticoke’s Zack Fox accept the George Curry MVP Trophy at the 73rd Annual UNICO All-Star Game (Photo by Jennifer Kucharski/NPF Football)

The Miners would receive the second half kickoff but had to punt for the first time in the game. The Pioneers would then embark on their first scoring drive of the game. Valley West’s Ty Makarewicz 30-yard punt return set them up in Miners territory and his Spartan teammate Isaiah Cobb would bull his way into the end zone from 1-yard out to make the score 26-6.

But Fox ended any thoughts of a comeback as he returned the ensuing kickoff 85-yards for a touchdown. Mizenko ran for the two-point conversion to make it 34-6.

The last scoring drive of the night for the Miners came in the fourth quarter and was capped off by Shiner’s 5-yard TD run and Mizenko’s two-point conversion again to finish the scoring 42-6.

Miners coach Joe DeLucca, who was just named the new Pittston Area coach earlier this year, got an early start to his coaching career and earned his first victory as a head coach.

“What I was most proud of tonight, was it was a respectable game”, said DeLucca. “Great group of kids here and it was an honor coaching them.”

When asked about coach the MVP Fox, DeLucca was expecting big things from him coming into the game.

“I was so excited to coach him, because he hurt Pittston Area a bunch of times we played him. He’s a special player and a great young man. I’m glad he was on our team tonight”.

Cobb led the Pioneers offense with 77 yards rushing and the lone touchdown.

SCORING SUMMARY

1st Quarter

None

2nd quarter

Miners — Drew DeLucca 4-yd run (Run failed) – Miners 6-0

Miners — Zack Fox 18-yd run (Pass failed) – Miners 12-0

Miners — Fox 44-yd run (Pass failed) – Miners 18-0

Miners — Peter Youngcourt 8-yd fumble return (Howie Shiner from DeLucca) – Miners 26-0

Third quarter

Pioneers — Isaiah Cobb 1 run (Run failed) – Miners 26-6

Miners — Fox 85-yd kick return (Brady Mizenko run) – Miners 34-6

Fourth quarter

Miners — Shiner 5-yd run (Mizeno run) – Miners 42-6

RUSHING
Miners
Fox 11 carries, 131 yards, 2 TDs
Mizenko 11 carries, 79 yards
Shiner 6 carries, 57 yards, TD
DeLucca 2 carries, 12 yards, TD

Pioneers
Cobb 17 carries, 77 yards, TD
Zdancewicz 7 carries, 33 yards
Makarewicz 2 carries, 3 yards
Lear 5 carries -2 yards
Kelly 1 carry, 0 yards

PASSING
Miners
DeLucca 1 for 5, 6 yards
Fox 0 for 1, 0 yards

Pioneers
Zdancewicz 2 for 5, 37 yards, INT
Lear 0 for 3, INT

RECEIVING
Miners
Lopez 1 catch, 6 yards

Pioneers
Pierce 1 catch, 27 yards
Makarewicz 1 catch, 10 yards