Moshannon Valley rallies to down Mount Union, 14-12|
Saturday, September 22, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
AMESVILLE - Down 12-0 and unable to move the ball, the Moshannon Valley offense got a lift late in the first half when its 2-minute drill produced 62 yards and four first downs.
And even though the Black Knights came away empty-handed on the scoreboard, the drive was just what the doctor ordered in the momentum department heading into the half.
Mo Valley quarterback Tanner Dipko threw for 109 yards in the second half, running back Caleb Campbell picked up 58 on the ground over the final two stanzas and the Black Knights rallied for a 14-12 win over Mount Union, Friday at the Moshannon Valley Athletic Complex.
The Black Knights had only one first down and were negative-28 yards on offense until the final drive of the first half when Mo Valley head coach Michael Keith went to the air.
He continued calling for Dipko and the Knights to air it out on the first possession of the second half, and the offense responded, going 61 yards in eight plays.
Dipko connected with Jake Ludwig for a 1-yard touchdown pass to cap the drive and James Stodart added the PAT to make the score, 12-7, with 9:56 left in the third.
Dipko was 5-of-6 for 52 yards on the drive. Kent Stewart had two catches, including a key 30-yarder that converted a third down. Dipko ended the contest with 171 yards passing, completing 17 of his 34 pass attempts.
"They were really stuffing our run ... completely," Keith said. "We had to do something to move the ball. The pass was there. Our quick game worked pretty well so we just continued to do it."
The Black Knights did keep moving the ball through the air over the next two drives, but both ended in Mount Union interceptions, one at the Trojan 40-yard line and the other at the visitors' 10.
However, the defense forced three-and-outs both times and Mount Union punted back to the Knights, who started at the Trojan 42-yard line after the second kick early in the fourth quarter.
"I thought the defense did a whale of a job," Mount Union head coach Corey Wertz said. "But our offense killed us, and that's on me. We go three-and-out and give them a short field, and you can't do that and expect the defense to stay on the field the whole second half."
This time, Keith turned Campbell and the running game loose.
Campbell ran the ball nine times for 30 yards during the 42-yard scoring drive, finishing things off with a 3-yard score with 5:32 left to play. Campbell ended the night with 74 yards on 22 carries.
"Our passing game is what gave us the spark," Keith said. "It emptied them out in the middle and we were able to run the ball then. And that's the one thing ... if we can get our running game going from the get-go, we're going to start cooking."
The Black Knight defense came away with a big play on the ensuing Mount Union possession as freshman Eric Sherkel picked off Trojan quarterback Trevon Walker and returned the ball to the visitors' 48-yard line.
Mo Valley punted back to Mount Union after three plays, pinning it at its own 12-yard line.
The Trojans pulled a double pass out of their bag of tricks, but Mo Valley got another big play from its secondary as Kyle O'Donnell intercepted a Kahlil Fortson pass and weaved his way through several Trojans, returning the ball all the way to the Mount Union 18-yard line.
"Our whole secondary is underclassmen," Keith said. "We have a freshman playing corner and two juniors at safety. They played well."
The double pass was one of several trick plays the Black Knights snuffed out in the second half.
Ludwig dropped Kole House for a 3-yard loss in the third quarter on a double reverse and also sacked Walker late in the fourth quarter on a flea flicker.
"Maybe I hit the panic button a little too soon and called a couple plays trying to get the momentum back with a big play instead of just trying to chip away," Wertz said. "But we didn't get anything going in the second half. Look at the scoreboard. If we can score once in the second half, we win. We didn't."
Mount Union got the ball back with less than a minute left and no timeouts after the Knights turned the ball over on downs.
But the Trojans ran out of time after completing a 20-yard pass to its own 30.
That pass accounted for over half of Mount Union's second-half offense. The Trojans picked up just two first downs and 34 total yards over the final two quarters of play. They collected just five first downs and 105 yards of offense in the game.
"Our defense, I thought, played well the whole game," Keith said. "We just gave them a couple big plays. Our defense played well, but we came out flat in the first half. I don't know why. We were a totally different team in the second half offensively."
Mount Union got on the board midway through the first quarter when Alex Varner pounced on a loose ball in the end zone at 6:03. The play capped a 31-yard drive that was set up when the Trojans forced and recovered a Mo Valley fumble.
The Trojans added to their lead early in the second quarter when Walker found Jamal Smith wide open in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass.
The scoring play was set up by a 31-yard pitch-and-catch from Walker to Bryn Brown two plays earlier.
Walker was 8-of-17 for 75 yards, while tossing the touchdown and a pick.
Mount Union went three-and-out on its next two drives as the Mo Valley defense stiffened behind the play of Austin Mital, who seemed to be in the backfield on every play.
"We moved him from nose, where he was getting double- and triple-teamed, to tackle because (Tim) Rowley went down (to an injury)," Keith said. "So we bumped him out and yeah, he said, ‘I love tackle.' They can't double-team him out there."
Mo Valley finally got the offense in gear late in the half as Dipko found Stodart three times for 62 yards to push the Black Knights down the field.
Stodart had five receptions for 80 yards in the game, while Stewart picked up 71 yards on six catches.
"With all our wideouts, we might not be the quickest, but we have some size," Keith said. "It's hard for a corner to bring somebody like Kent Stewart, James Stodart and Jake Ludwig down. They get it, it's going to take more than one d-back to bring them down."
Mo Valley finished the game with 13 first downs to the Trojans' five and outgained their opponents in total yards, 215-105.
"This is a completely different offense than they were running last year, and the kids are doing a good job picking it up, especially the passing game," Keith said.
"We have some work to do in the run game, but for them to pick up the passing game and for Tanner Dipko to be playing the way he is, I couldn't ask for anything else.
"It shows a lot of our kids. Down 12 points in the first half and coming back and winning - that shows me they care.
Mo Valley improved to 3-1 with the win and travels to Juniata Valley on Friday.
Mount Union dipped to 2-2 and visits Bellwood-Antis.
Moshannon Valley 14
Mount Union 12
Score By Quarters
Mount Union 6 6 0 0-12
Mo Valley 0 0 7 7-14
MU-Varner recovered fumble in end zone, (kick failed), 6:03.
MU-J. Smith 4 pass from Walker, (run failed), 10:46.
MV-Ludwig 1 pass from Dipko, (Stodart kick), 9:56.
MV-Campbell 3 run, (Stodart kick), 5:32.
Total First Downs 5 13
Rushes-Yards 23-30 37-44
Comp-Att-Int 8-18-2 17-34-4
Passing Yards 75 171
Total Plays-Yards 41-105 71-215
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1
Punts-Avg 7-34.3 4-34.8
Penalties-Yards 3-15 2-15
Mount Union-D. Smith 10-31, Brown 8-16, House 1 -(-3), Walker 4-(-14).
Moshannon Valley-Campbell 22-74, Ludwig 2-9, Love 3-2, Dipko 9-(-14), Team 1-(-27).
Mount Union-Walker 8-of-17, 75 yds.; TD, Int.; Fortson 0-of-1, Int.
Moshannon Valley-Dipko 17-of-34, 171 yds., TD, 4 Int.
Mount Union-Brown 2-51, J. Smith 3-14, Fortson 2-9, C. Kylor 1-1.
Moshannon Valley-Stewart 6-71, Stodart 5-80, Ludwig 3-10, Campbell 3-10.