ERIE — District 10 was destined for a Class AA championship game between reigning 2-time titlist Hickory and Greenville.
But no one informed the Girard High football team of the plans.
“ … This is pretty cool … I’m pretty fired up about it,” admitted 4th-year Yellow Jackets’ head coach Jim Funk after Girard jolted Greenville, 16-14.
At Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Yellow Jackets (10-2) enjoyed their 9th consecutive conquest after a 1-2 season’s start. Conversely, the best Greenville grid campaign in head coach Brian Herrick’s 8-year Trojans’ tenure concluded at 11-1.
However Herrick’s hurtful post-game expression told a tale of Trojans’ turnovers and missed opportunities.
“You can’t do that,” Herrick said regarding 4 Trojans’ turnovers during the 1st half and 11 total penalties for 90 lost yards. “We’ve talked about that. We’ve put ourselves in a hole a lot all year, but managed to dig ourselves out. It just didn’t happen (Saturday) night, and we ran out of time.”
The teams traded 4th frame scores and the lead.
Greenville’s Tyler Fattman flew for a 41-yard scoring sprint with 7:35 remaining, and Matt Jones’ 2-point conversion toss to Luke Houpt gave Greenville a 14-10 lead.
But Girard’s Kel Barnes broke a 26-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Jackets midfield position at their own 43-yard line. A half-dozen plays later quarterback Joe Dunn delivered the eventual game-winner by optioning up the middle and plunging into the end zone to complete a 33-yard touchdown.
In spite of a botched PAT, that gave Girard a 16-14 lead with 3:38 left.
The Yellow Jackets appeared to have secured the win with 2:11 left when Jones’ 3rd- and 4th-down passes fell incomplete at Greenville’s 36. But on a 2nd-and-8 play out of shotgun formation, the center snap sailed over Dunn’s head, and the resulting 21-yard fumble was recovered by Houpt at Girard’s 45 with 2 minutes left.
Trey VanAken’s 18-yard run on a delay-draw got Greenville to Girard’s 27 with 1:41 to play. VanAken’s subsequent 3-yard run and a 5-yard Jones-to-Houpt hook-up had the Trojans at the 16 with 49.5 seconds. But Jones’ final 3 pass attempts – including a 4th-and-13 fade to the right corner intended for Houpt, defensed by Dunn – fell incomplete.
“I don’t know what to say,” the youthful-looking, 30-year-old Funk admitted when asked if his Jackets’ win would be considered an upset. “Mike Zona, our defensive coordinator, he schemed (Greenville) fantastically, and our kids just played hard.”
The win was the 2nd in 6 days for Girard, which edged Sharon (22-19) in an emotional game postponed 2 days by a tragic auto accident involving 4 Sharon football players.
“It’s been kind’ve a surreal week,” Funk admitted. “That Sharon game – it was such a tragedy – but it was neat to see how everybody came together to make that (game) happen. And I was proud of how our kids played. And coming out here (Saturday) night and playing the way they did. Because this isn’t how we play; we’d been putting points on the board. Our kids just played to win, and I’m really proud of ’em.”
Nick Black burst 20 yards, giving Greenville an early 6-0 lead on the Trojans’ game-opening series following a Girard punt. However from that juncture the ’Jackets disjointed and tormented the Trojans.
Girard jolted Matt Jones with 1st-half interceptions by Nason McCall, Brenden Kohan and Cody Dinger. Sandwiching those was Kohan’s recovery of VanAken’s 1st-down fumble at his own 7-yard line with 2:38 remaining in the 1st frame. On the ensuing play Dunn delivered out of the option, and Devin Mason’s conversion kick gave Girard a 7-6 lead with 2:33 remaining in the 1st quarter.
That margin remained at intermission as Greenville’s last half-dozen drives of he half ended in a pair of punts and 4 miscues.
The lone 3rd-quarter score was Mason’s 25-yard field goal with 2:22 left, giving Giard a 10-6 lead.
“It was a great effort by the Girard kids, they played a whale of a game,” Herrick praised. Admitting, “But you can’t turn the ball over four times in a half and have as many 15-yard penalties as we had. It’s unfortunate that happened (Saturday) night.
“Our kicking game put us behind the eight-ball all night … I’m the special teams coach; I didn’t do a good job,” Herrick said, adding,
“I think (the Trojans) had confidence we could come back, but credit (Dunn). We had him tackled for a two-yard gain and he strips it for a touchdown.”
Herrick has to bid adieu to seniors Cody Ingersheim, Houpt, Fattman, Jacob Rickert, VanAken, Randal Peabody, Dominic Chambers, Alex Ho, Sawyer Miller, Mitchell Kalchthaler, Garrett Stell, Pat Kozminski, Justin Reynolds and Gage Guriel.
“I told them I love them. They stuck with the program – we had to throw them in when they were freshmen, a lot had to start and play significant minutes as freshmen because we just didn’t have a lot of depth. I’m extremely proud of them, as I am of all the kids in our program.
“I can’t say enough about the character of our kids,” Herrick concluded. “As many comeback wins as we’ve had the last two years, that says a lot about their character. And they’ll bounce back from this … they’ll bounce back.”
DISTRICT 10 CLASS AA
GREENVILLE 6 0 0 8 14
GIRARD 7 0 3 6 16
GV — Black, 20 run (run failed)
Gir — Dunn, 7 run (Mason kick)
Gir — Mason, 25 FG
GV — Fattman, 41 run (Houpt pass from M. Jones)
Gir — Dunn, 33 run (run failed)
11 First downs 10
178 Rushing yards 98
14 Passing yards 35
16-3-3 Att-comp-int 15-8-1
192 Total yards 133
1-1 Fumbles-lost 3-1
11-90 Penalties-yards lost 7-60
Rushing: GREENVILLE — Fattman 9-64, Black 10-62, VanAken 14-39, Houpt 2-16, M. Jones 1-(-3); GIRARD — Dunn 17-94, Barnes 15-28, Dinger 1-(-3), team 1-(-21).
Passing: GREENVILLE — M. Jones 16-3-3-14; GIRARD — Dunn 15-8-1-35.
Receiving: GREENVILLE — Houpt 2-0, Ingersheim 1-14; GIRARD — Divido 3-11, Dinger 2-21, Barnes 2-3, Little 1-0.
ERIE — District 10 was destined for a Class AA championship game between reigning 2-time titlist Hickory and Greenville.
Hickory track coaches near finish line
While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.
SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team
WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
How’s that working out, Dan?
Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.
Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational
Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).
Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4
ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.
Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win
Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.
Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.
Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season
Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.
Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon
An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.
Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps
ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year
LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.
Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.
WM's Staunch named 2nd team All-State
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Finishing on the winning side in a championship game — or coming mighty, mighty close — scored plenty of points with the panel that selected Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball team.
Especially when it came time to choose those — whether players or coaches — who claimed the top individual awards.
Roundup: Hickory, Mercer, Reynolds, WM baseball teams earn wins
ä Hickory 12, Sharpsville 10 — At the McCullough Run Complex in South Pymatuning Twp., the visiting Hornets improved to 4-0 with the win.
Brady Leunis went 2-for-3 for Hickory with a double and 3 RBI, Tommy Cannon belted a 2-run homer, Noah Orndorff was 2-for-4, Nate Mastrian ripped an RBI-double, Ethan Davis was 2-for-4 with a double and a run driven in and Jake Andrzjewski doubled.
Roundup: WM, Wilmington, Mercer softball teams win
ä West Middlesex 11, Grove City 1 (5 inn.) — At the Richard J. Kritz Softball Complex in West Middlesex, Jordyn Allen fired a complete-game 2-hitter with 8 strikeouts and no walks as the Ms. Reds (1-1) rebounded from a tough loss to Lakeview on Monday.
Offensively, Allen doubled and ripped 2 singles for WM, Abby McAdams and Aly Andrusky doubled and singled, Macy Siefert collected 4 singles and Hannah Havens, Megan Hazlett and Oivia Slater added 2 singles each.
Hickory girls, Farrell boys win Guerino titles
The Hickory girls and Farrell boys captured championships on Saturday night at the 17th annual Buddy Guerino Underclassmen Basketball Tournament at Sharpsville High School.
The Hickory girls beat Kennedy Catholic, 41-29, for the crown while the Farrell boys topped Mercer, 76-35, for the title.
In the consolation games, Sharpsville defeated Sharon, 35-15, in girls hoops while the Sharon boys beat Hickory, 57-33.
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- Hickory track coaches near finish line