Mounties fall short of Bearcats|
Saturday, October 20, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
PHILIPSBURG - The Philipsburg-Osceola football team had the momentum for the first time this season on Friday against Huntingdon.
Erik Smith's 27-yard touchdown run gave the Mounties their first lead of the season in the first quarter, while teammate Nick Gray's 1-yard plunge late in the first half tied the score at 13 heading into the locker room.
To top things off, P-O received the opening kickoff to begin the third quarter.
The Mounties rode that momentum the whole way to the Bearcat 15, converting a pair of third downs along the way, when disaster found its way into P-O's huddle once again and the momentum permanently swung in Huntingdon's favor for the remainder of the game.
The Bearcat defense forced one of five Mountie turnovers in the contest and Rhett Stetchock raced 72 yards to paydirt three plays later, as Huntingdon escaped Memorial Field with a 34-13 win - the 650th victory in program history.
"That's what killed us," said P-O head coach Jeff Vroman of the fumble. "We drove down the field to the 15 and we fumble the ball. You can't win. We probably moved the ball better than they did, but you can't turn the ball over.
"That's been typical of our season. It hasn't changed and it probably isn't going to."
After Smith's scamper, which came on a reverse with 6:59 left on the first quarter clock, the Bearcat defense forced the first turnover of the contest in the waning seconds of the frame.
Huntingdon's Devon Claar stepped in front of a Curtis Matsko pass and raced 57 yards for a touchdown to put his team ahead, 7-6. It got even better for the Bearcats on the ensuing kickoff, as the Mounties lost the first of three fumbles in the contest.
The turnover set up the Huntingdon offense on the P-O 33, and Josh Foster capped a 7-play drive with a 2-yard plunge with 9:25 left until halftime.
Claar's PAT was wide to make the score 13-6.
"We started how we wanted to, but then we come out and get another drive going and we turn the ball over the next two plays," Vroman said. "They intercept a ball and run it back for a touchdown and then we fumble the kickoff.
"That's been since Game 1 what we've done. When you shoot yourself in the foot, you're not going to be successful. That's just the way it is, and anyone that watches football knows that."
The second Matsko interception actually worked in the Mounties' favor, as Foster was brought down inside the Bearcat 10-yard line and Huntingdon punted three plays later.
Skyler Shuey returned the punt 23 yards to the Bearcat 25, where P-O made quick work in getting back even.
Matsko hit Smith on a 17-yard completion to highlight the drive that Gray culminated with 26.7 seconds left until halftime.
Nick Boumerhi's PAT made it 13-all at the break.
Matsko and Smith hooked up again for 15 yards on third-and-13 on the first drive of the second half, which also saw the Mountie QB connect with Dustin Shuey for 21 on third-and-long to give P-O a first down at the Huntingdon 16.
The next snap changed the momentum, however, as the Bearcats pounced on a fumble and Stetchock ran for 72 of his game-high 123 yards a few plays later.
"(The fumble recovery) changed the dynamic of the game," said Huntingdon head coach Mike Hudy. "I just kept thinking, ‘they're converting, they're converting.' Turnovers are high school ball. It's all about ball security and field position.
"I feel wonderful and I'm happy for our players. We've overcome a lot of adversity. We evaluated what we had been doing defensively, and we just got back to the fundamentals the last month and a half and it finally paid off."
The Bearcat defense forced a three-and-out, and Claar added to the lead with a 4-yard run late in the third quarter.
Foster found Dakota Peters from 20 yards out on fourth-and-17 in the fourth to set the final.
After the lost fumble to open the second half, P-O's offense gained just 14 yards the remainder of the contest.
"I thought, at times, our offensive line played pretty well," Vroman said. "We made some decent decisions in the passing game for the most part, but it's still the turnovers that end up being our demise. It's just the way high school football goes.
"We've created three turnovers for the year. In terms of plus-and-minus, we have to be somewhere around minus-30. You can't win. You aren't going to win doing that against the teams that we play."
P-O (0-8) travels to Clearfield in search of its first win of the season on Friday.
EXTRA POINTS: The teams combined to fumble the ball 11 times in the contest. P-O lost three of its seven, while Huntingdon recovered all four of its fumbles. ... Claar added 87 yards on 18 carries for the Bearcats, while Dustin Shuey had a team-high 56 yards for P-O. Gray and Smith finished with 46 and 30, respectively. ... Matsko completed five passes for 75 yards. ... Boumerhi boomed a 55-yard punt in the third quarter. ... After Smith's touchdown, the Bearcats had an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown wiped out by a block-in-the-back penalty. ... Huntingdon (1-7) hosts Central on Friday.
Huntingdon 34, Philipsburg-Osceola 13
Score By Quarters
Huntingdon 7 6 14 7-34
P-O 6 7 0 0-13
PO-Smith 27 run, (kick blocked), 6:59.
H-Claar 57 interception return, (Claar kick), :52.3.
H-Foster 2 run, (kick failed), 9:25.
PO-Gray 1 run, (Boumerhi kick), :26.7.
H-Stetchock 72 run, (Claar kick), 6:27.
H-Claar 4 run, (Claar kick), 1:17.
H-Peters 20 pass from Foster, (Claar kick), 5:41.
Total First Downs 14 11
Rushes-Yards 38-214 39-132
Comp-Att-Int 2-11-1 5-14-2
Passing Yards 34 75
Total Plays-Yards 49-248 53-207
Fumbles-Lost 4-0 7-3
Punts-Avg 3-39.7 3-40.7
Penalties-Yards 4-40 6-59
Huntingdon-Stetchock 13-123, Claar 18-87, Speck 1-18, Bell 2-4, Foster 2-3, Team 2-(-21).
Philipsburg-Osceola-D. Shuey 6-54, Gray 15-46, Smith 6-30, Hawkins 1-2, Matsko 11-0.
Huntingdon-Foster 2-of-7, 34 yds., TD; Claar 0-of-4, Int.
Philipsburg-Osceola-Matsko 5-of-14, 75 yds., 2 Int.
Huntingdon-Peters 1-20, Bell 1-14.
Philipsburg-Osceola-D. Shuey 2-35, Smith 2-32, Johnson 1-8.