Call it the zone option ... the spread ... the read option ...
How ’bout the speed option.
With Matt Voytik orchestrating the offense for Hickory High’s football team, there’s no more accurate description.
Voytik victimized Sharon for 460 total yards Friday night, as the visiting Hornets humbled the Tigers, 38-7, in Region 3-AA.
After allowing a 21-0 margin at intermission dissipate into a 22-21 defeat to Greenville, Hickory (4-1, 5-1) has won 4 consecutive conquests by a composite 187-33 differential.
The ‘Stingers stunned Sharon for 595 total yards — that, considering Hickory had a trio of turnovers and a dozen penalties for 104 lost yards.
“It definitely put everything in perspective,” Voytik replied regarding the loss to Greenville. “You can’t take teams lightly, you’ve gotta go to practice every day and work hard, which we have been, and take the coaching. Do everything you need to do, bond together and succeed.”
Voytik ran for 5- and 1-yard scores to commence the 1st- and 2nd-half scoring, sandwiching a 62-yard touchdown toss to De’quan Lewis, part of a 12-for-19, 309-yard passing performance.
Lewis later sprinted 58 yards for the final score on a jet sweep around left end, while Lou Derloni dashed a dozen yards for a 4th-frame score. Jordan Wombacker went 5-for-5 on PATs and also added a 28-yard field goal.
“ ... We’ve all gotten quicker,” Voytik understated, later relating,
“That was Coach (Jason) McElhaney’s plan from the beginning: throw the ball, run the ball, zone option, outsize zone, all that stuff, and we’ve got the guys to do it.
“As long as we keep doin’ it, we’re gonna be unstoppable.”
In addition, it was a virtual shut out of Sharon for the ’Stingers. Hickory permitted only 153 total yards, sacked Sharon signal-caller Andrew Tomko a handful of times (Austin Aikins 1 1/2, Daulton Linton 1 1/2, and Wombacker and Zach Cirillo 1 apiece), and pilfered a pair of his passes (Andrew Pryts and Kenny Ezi-Ashi).
The lone score for Sharon (3-2, 3-3) was Curtis Seay’s 85-yard return of Voytik’s 2nd-stanza fumble. At the time it tied the tilt at 7 with 5:43 remaining to intermission.
From that juncture Hickory had its way.
“ ... Our team speed really showed up (Friday) night,” began Hickory head coach Bill Brest. “I think Matt Voytik did a great job orchestrating the offense, and he has a lot of weapons.
“I think (Sharon head coach Jim Wildman) said he was gonna try to stop most of the weapons, but not all the weapons.
“I’m proud of every, single one of them,” Brest continued. “There was a little bit of adversity that we went through this week (senior Davon Tindall was dismissed from the team, owing to a legal situation), but I’m proud of them, and it’s all about those kids right there.
“I think because (Sharon) is an emotional game, I think it got the best of us,” continued Brest, regarding the plethora of penalties. “We preach fundamentals and I’m not happy about (penalties) — that comes back to me, but other than that ... boy, oh boy!
“The physicality of our kids playing defensively, Technically that was a shutout defensively ... the offensive line’s jelling together ... special teams — it was just a total team effort.”
While Wildman was impressed with Hickory — Pryts pulled in a handful of passes for 155 yards, while Lewis lent a trio of catches for 105 and Anthony Cannone caught 3 more for 39 — though not pleased with his club’s performance.
“I said beforehand, and I’ll say now: Matt Voytik runs the show, he’s a great athlete — he’s proven that in track and last year during football season. He can run the ball, he can get out of trouble, he can throw the ball. If you’re wearing red and white, he’s an exciting guy to watch. ... He’s got escapabilityy, good head on his shoulders obviously.
“He wasn’t a one-man show, but he directs the show.”
“We’re in the hunt, and that’s gotta be the theme for the next four weeks,” Wildman continued. “The first goal is five-hundred (won-loss record) and the second goal is getting into the playoffs.
“We’re hopin’ to have a place at the table, and that’s what we’re working for,” Wildman concluded.
“We like where we’re at. We feel we control our destiny, and we’re very comfortable with where we at right now,” Brest said. “One of the biggest things we learned — and (Greenville’s) a very good football team — in week two was we didn’t finish. I think we’ve learned how to finish. I think the last couple games ... I think you saw the second-half team that we are. We’ve really been playing well in the second half.”
Note: Regarding Tindall, Brest said, “We defer everything to superintendent Dr. Dan Bell. But we love the kid, we miss him, we hope he does well.”
HICKORY 7 7 10 14 38
SHARON 0 7 0 0 7
H — Voytik, 5 run (Wombacker kick)
S — Seay, 85 fumble return (Gill kick)
H — Lewis, 62 pass from Voytik (Wombacker kick)
H — Voytik, 1 run (Wombacker kick)
H — Wombacker, 28 field goal
H — Derloni, 12 run (Wombacker kick)
H — Lewis, 58 run (Wombacker kick)
22 First downs 9
286 Rushing yards 56
309 Passing yards 97
19-12-0 Att-comp-int 16-10-2
595 Total yards 153
12-104 Fumbles-lost 0-0
4-3 Penalties-yards lost 4-34
Rushing: HICKORY — Voytik 20-151, Lewis 4-68, Derloni 10-60, Carr 3-7; SHARON — Johnson 9-48, Hawkins 12-22, Thompson 2-7, Rudolph 1-6, Tomko 6-(-27).
Passing: HICKORY — Voytik 19-12-0, 309; SHARON — Tomko 16-10-2, 97.
Receiving: HICKORY — Pryts 5-155, Lewis 3-105, Cannone 3-39, Derloni 1-10; SHARON — Austin 5-81, Hawkins 2-(-4), Johnson 1-8, Moseley 1-6, Vanderslice 1-6.
Call it the zone option ... the spread ... the read option ...
Farrell ousts Uniontown in overtime, 86-72
PENN HILLS — Five decades did nothing to diminish the intensity of the Farrell-Uniontown boys basketball rivalry. What transpired back in the 1960’s reverberated as recently as Tuesday night during the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
And just as it did approximately a half-century ago, Farrell forged past Uniontown, this time 86-72 in overtime at Penn Hills High.
LOCALS ELSEWHERE: Spon, Cianci, Trudo, Giroski in the news
Several former athletes or coaches from Mercer County are making news in sports elsewhere. Following are their stories:
Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships
HERSHEY, Pa. — Move over Rod Wright!
Lakeview senior heavyweight star Sam Breese had a goal coming into the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships this weekend at Hershey Giant Center — besides winning a second state crown, that is.
WM knocks off Neshannock in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — The notion of Trey Staunch sneaking up on opposing teams is laughable. At 6-foot-3 and approximately 225 pounds, the stout Staunch is not sneaking up on anyone.
However after posting a game-high 31-point, 18-rebound performance in West Middlesex High basketball team’s 76-66 PIAA Class AA playoffs opening-round win over Neshannock Saturday night, Staunch said opponents may have been overlooking the Big Reds.
Hickory girls 26-0, oust Johnstown
SLIPPERY ROCK — At Morrow Field House Saturday evening, the Hickory Lady Hornets kept the perfect season alive with a 63-37 state playoff first round win over the Greater Johnstown Trojans from District 6.
“It feels great to get the win (Saturday),” said veterans Hickory coach Jeanette Whitehead. “We’ve been at this place over the last few years and we’ve been sent home in the first round so it was a huge win for us. I’m very proud of our team effort."
KC girls roll past California in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball team was in the ’hood Saturday afternoon.
Led by senior Taylor Hood, the Lady Golden Eagles eased past California, 53-34, in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
Lakeview's Breese to defend PIAA title
HERSHEY, Pa. — If you are Major League Baseball player, a .333 batting average is great. But in wrestling at the state tournament — not so much!
Out of the dozen wrestlers that Mercer County sent to Hershey for the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships, only four (.333) will reach the medal stand today — led by Lakeview senior Sam Breese who shoots for a second straight gold medal.
Farrell edges Montour, 60-57, in PIAA opener
Montour High boys’ basketball coach Adam Kaufman lamented another season-ending setback. However there are several hundred coaches across the Commonwealth who envy his program’s recent success and would trade places with him in a heartbeat.
But during Friday night’s PIAA Class AAA playoff opener, Kaufman & Co. could not overcome those streaky Steelers ... those survivin’ Steelers.
“ ... Hey, survive and move on,” summarized Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse following Farrell’s 60-57 win at Sharon High.
GCC ousts Mercer in 1st round of PIAAs
The Mercer Lady Mustangs were outscored 16-4 in the final quarter of the first round of the state playoffs by the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions, ending their season Friday night 56-31 at Sharon High School.
Senior Lexie Arkwright had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double performance for the Lady M’s. She also snagged three steals. Adelyn Cook and Haylie Glass each added 4 points for Mercer.
5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey
HERSHEY — Mercer County matmen had mixed results on the opening day of action in the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Only 5 of the county’s dozen entries — led by defending state champ Sam Breese of Lakeview (285) — won their preliminary matches to move into the tournament quarterfinals which begin at 9 a.m. today. However the other 7 lost their first matches, although 3 are still alive in the consolations heading into this morning’s action.
Coach Chad Mild's Big Reds are road warriors
West Middlesex High boys basketball team did not play its first home game until after the first of the year, but competing at New Castle, Farrell and Youngstown’s Covelli Centre has served it well.
Witness West Middlesex’s 55-54 win over Fairview in last weekend’s District 10 Class AA championship game — at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Boys PIAA basketball preview boxes
Who: Farrell (22-3) vs. Montour (16-8).
What: Opening round.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: Sharon High’s Tiger Gymnasium.
Hickory, Mercer, KC girls PIAA playoff boxes
Who: Hickory (25-0) vs. Greater Johnstown (11-14).
What: PIAA Playoffs, 1st round.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Shannonhouse's Steelers set for statewide stage
With the approaching spring, a young man’s fancy turns to ... what else? The PIAA playoffs. And when Shenango Valley scholastic basketball aficionados think of the postseason they think of Farrell.
Recently at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the banners above were blowing in the breeze — ’52 ... ’54 ... ’56 ... ’59 ... ’60 ... ’69 ... ’72 — swaying as sprinting players created a vacuum of air rising from the floor. Melodramatic maybe, but there’s a feeling at Farrell that harkens back to the heyday when playoff success was a rite of passage.
Breese eyes repeat at state mat tourney
There is no doubt that winning a state championship in wrestling is a difficult thing to do. Winning two is even tougher.
“There’s a target on your chest,” pointed out Lakeview High coach Tom Tingley in preseason this year, referring to his star wrestler Sam Breese who won a state heavyweight crown as a junior last year.
Obviously that target hasn’t bothered the Sailors big man who is a perfect 32-0 this season as he attempts to become only the 12th Mercer County matman to win multiple titles.
- More Sports Headlines
- Farrell ousts Uniontown in overtime, 86-72