HOUTZDALE — The Moshannon Valley Black Knights came up just short against the Tussey Mountain Titans on Friday night at CNB Bank Stadium. The Knights dropped the contest 42-34.
The Knights received the opening kickoff and started with generous field position at the Titan 47-yard line, but a fumble on fourth and inches gave the ball to the Titans. Tussey Mountain marched down the field and scored on their fifth-offensive play, a 8-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Isaiah Sosak. Titan kicker Aaron Day missed the PAT, but the Titans were able to capture the lead 6-0.
After getting the ball back at Tussey 47-yard line again to start the drive, the Knights squandered the good field position again when senior quarterback Ethan Webb threw an interception to defensive back Bryce Heath. The Titans wasted no time, and a 33-yard run from Isaiah Sosak and failed 2-point conversion gave Tussey Mountain a 12-0 advantage.
Moshannon Valley went three-and-out on their following drive, but senior linebacker David Honan was able to strip the ball on the ensuing drive from Tussey Mountain. Sophomore defensive end Sam Shipley recovered the fumble for the Knights.
The Knights punted after a 7-play drive, but the Titans were also unable to get their offense going and went three-and-out.
The Knight and Titan offenses traded three-and-out series, but on next Moshannon Valley drive, the Knights drove to the Titan 43-yard line. The Knight offense was forced to punt again, however, at the tail-end of the drive. Tussey added to the string of punts after yet another three-and-out series by the Titan offense.
The Moshannon Valley offense was finally able to hit paydirt when Ethan Webb tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Lucas Yarger with 1:21 left in the first half. The point-after attempt from kicker Cam Collins was successful, and the Knights trailed 12-7.
Tussey Mountain quarterback Landon Myers attempted to get his own drive going in the final minute of the second half but ended up throwing a costly interception to Moshannon Valley defensive back Jalen Kurten. On the very next offensive play for the Knights, Webb hit senior Nikolaus Smeal with a 30-yard strike to allow Moshannon Valley to take the lead with 52 seconds left in the half. The PAT from Collins was yet again good, and the Knights went up 14-12 to close the half.
Tussey Mountain got the ball to start the second half and went on a strong 6-play drive. Senior Matt Watkins punched in a 4-yard touchdown run for the Titans, but the 2-point conversion was yet again no good.
With Tussey now leading 18-14, the Knights were able to respond with a big drive of their own. Webb found sophomore wide receiver Micah Beish for a huge 57-yard gain and running back Levi Knuth scored on a 27-yard touchdown run on the following play. The PAT from Collins was yet again good, and the Knights were able to reclaim the lead, 21-18.
The Titans then went on a gritty 9-play drive, including huge runs from Sosak and Day, and found the endzone with yet another touchdown from Watkins, this time from 1-yard out. Myers was able to find receiver Collin Gillis in the endzone for the 2-point conversion, and the Titans were able to reclaim the lead, 26-21.
In the closing minute of the third quarter, Knuth was able to get back into the endzone for the Knights after a massive 36-yard run. Another extra point courtesy of Collins allowed the Knights to yet again go up 28-26.
The Titan defense was able to clamp up the Moshannon Valley offense on their next few drives, and got huge touchdown runs from Sosak and Day respectively. A Myers 2-point conversion to freshman Jack Stoudnour and Day 2-point conversion run extended the Titan lead to 42-28 with 1:41 left in the game.
Moshannon Valley responded on their next series with a quick 42 second drive, culminating in a 15-yard touchdown run by Ethan Webb. The extra point from Collins was blocked.
The Knight special teams unit attempted an onside kick to try and get back on the offensive, but the kick went awry, and Tussey Mountain took a few knees to seal the game, 42-34.
Knight quarterback Ethan Webb finished with 194 yards passing to go along with two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Knight running back Levi Knuth charted 99 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns of his own. Micah Beish finished with 5 receptions for 82 yards, and Dave Honan added three tackles-for-loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble.
The Titan offense was led by Isaiah Sosack and Aaron Day, with 122 and 156 rushing yards, respectively.
“We played well offensively, they ran us over in the second half,” said Moshannon Valley head coach Michael Keith of his team’s losing effort. “They just kicked our butt up front defensively, we had no answer.”
Tussey Mountain head coach Tim Lucko was proud of his team’s fight. “I thought in the second half we actually played as a team. We remained positive, fought through some adversity, and ended up on the positive side for a change.”
Moshannon Valley fell to 2-6. The Black Knights travel to Curwensville next Friday.
Tussey Mountain improved to 2-5, and host Northern Bedford next Friday.