FLINTON – Leading Glendale 18-0 at halftime, Tussey Mountain looked to be on its way to an easy win.
The Vikings had other ideas, though.
Glendale came to life in the second half, scoring 16 straight points to pull within two of the undefeated Titans midway through the fourth quarter.
The Vikings needed one more stop to get the ball back with a chance to win. Tussey responded with a quick 3-play TD drive and 2-point conversion to go up 10, however, and held on for a 26-23 win Friday at Dr. Roy F. Baker Field.
“The kids have high expectations. They took it upon themselves at halftime to come out and play better,” Glendale coach Spank Trexler said. “It’s another step in learning to overcome adversity. They all know how to do it individually, but as a group, they’re learning how to pick each other up. That’s the kind of team we’re evolving into. We’re not big on moral victories, but we’re making strides.”
After the Vikings were limited to just 47 yards and three first downs in the first half, Seth Dudurich got Glendale on the scoreboard with a 19-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter to make it an 18-7 game..
The Vikings defense forced a turnover on downs and put together a 15-play drive. With Dudurich doing most of the damage running out of the wildcat, Glendale had a 1st-and-goal from the 4 at one point.
Tristan Rutter and Dudurich lost a combined 15 yards on back-to-back plays, however, and the Vikings had to settle for an Ethan Cavalet 37-yard field goal to make it an 18-10 game.
Glendale struck more quickly on its next possession. After Garret Misiura hit Blaine Seilhamer for 37 yards, Cory Johnston ripped off a 25-yard TD run.
The 2-point conversion attempt to tie the game failed, however. Dudurich’s jump pass in traffic to Seilhamer fell incomplete.
Tussey got the ball near midfield on the ensuing kickoff, and Kaden Lucko ripped off a 40-yard run up the middle on the Titans’ first play. Two plays later, quarterback Matthew Leonard faked to Lucko up th middle then scampered around left end untouched for a 5-yard score.
Colton Bishop ran in the 2-point conversion to make it a two-score game.
After Dudurich hit Misiura on a 64-yard catch and run, Johnston scored on a 3-yard run to pull Glendale within a field goal. Tussey ran the final seven plays of the game, getting a pair of first downs to run out the clock.
“We had turnovers and penalties in both the first half and second half. We haven’t done that all year,” TM coach Anthony Sottasante said. “Honestly, we didn’t have a good week of practice, and I think it spilled over into the game. We did what we had to do at the end. You have to give them a lot of credit. They’re 5-2 for a reason, and I think they’re getting better every week.”
Tussey lost three fumbles and turned the ball over on downs twice.
Dudurich finished the game with 130 yards rushing and a touchdown on 23 carries after gaining just 26 yards in the first half.
“Seth has really good vision. Running from the wildcat allowed him to pick and choose where he wanted to run,” Trexler said. “I think that played to our strength a little. Our line was able to get better leverage on the blocks. He really took over in the second half.”
Johnston added 75 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
The Vikings struggled to contain Tussey’s triple option attack, particularly in the first half when the Titans outgained Glendale 228 to 47.
“I’m a big fan of that offense. You can’t replicate that speed in practice,” Trexler said. “They run it really well. It’s all about maintaining your assignments, and we had a couple breakdowns.”
Tussey improves to 8-0. Glendale falls to 5-3. The Vikings host Juniata Valley Friday in its final regular season home game.