Hickory and Greenville notched wins on Saturday to advance to the District 10 semifinals while Grove City was ousted with a loss to Northwestern.
Hickory routed Ft. LeBoeuf, 56-7, at Slippery Rock University; Greenville remained unbeaten with a thrilling 33-30 victory over Fairview at SRU and Northwestern topped Grove City, 28-7, at Veterans Stadium in Erie.
The Sharon (6-4) vs. Girard (8-2) game that was scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday was moved to Monday due to the tragic crash that claimed the lives of 2 players on Friday night. That game is at 7 p.m. Monday at Veterans Stadium, Erie.
Following are staff reports from Saturday’s games:
ä Hickory 56, Fort LeBoeuf 7 — The “mercy rule” was in effect for the entire second half at Slippery Rock University’s Thompson-Mihalik Stadium Saturday afternoon. But there was certainly no mercy in the first half from the powerful Hornets of Coach Bill Brest.
The Hornets built a 56-0 halftime margin and dominated every phase of the game.
“It’s all about the o- and d-lines,” said Brest, who recorded his 40th career win. “When they do the job like they did today, it lets the skill position guys to do their thing.
“It goes back to the coaches and players preparing the last two weeks. We had to get some things done in the first half. They studied the opponent hard and it was a total team effort.”
Actually they pretty much did everything they wanted in the first half, with the lines leading the way. On offense, it was Dylan Brenneman, Nate Aikins, Laron Allen, Austin Aikins, Anthony Nardone, Zack Cirillo paving the path up front. Defensively, the front line of Tyler Reardon, Jordan Wombacker, Austin Aikins and Cirillo were tightly supported by linebackers Nate Aikins, Lou Derloni and Daulton Linton.
After failing to score on their first series, the Hornets were pretty much unstoppable the rest of the half. The first score of the game came on a 66-yard punt return by Andrew Pryts, who a short time later tallied on a 27-yard sweep around end.
“We work hard on special teams,” said Brest of Pryts return. “It’s a difference maker when it comes to field position. The only game we lost this year (Greenville) was the one when we lost on field position.”
The second quarter was an unbelievable performance where the Hornets tacked on 42 points. The first 5 touchdowns all came on one-play series:
˝ a 13-yard reception by DeQuan Lewis on a pass from Matt Voytik.
˝ a 36-yard Voytik run right up the middle.
˝ a 29-yard Derloni sprint.
˝ a 40-yard pass from Voytik to Andrew Cannone.
˝ a 34-yard Derloni run.
The team had to work harder for the final score of the half, moving 28-yards in 4 plays. The final tally came on a pass from Voytik to Cannone of 14 yards with 5 seconds left before intermission.
Hickory’s phenomenal kicker Wombacker drilled all 8 PAT kicks and also drove several kickoffs into the end zone.
The defense was also stifling, allowing only 1 first down to LeBoeuf and a total of 31 yards gained.
The second half went quickly with the mercy rule in effect and the Hickory reserves playing the final two quarters. During that time the Bison did bolster their stats and managed to score on a 17-yard run by Cy Carroll and Jake Dombkowski booted the point after.
Voytik did a great job running the show at quarterback and hit 8 of 9 passes for 165 yards, connecting with Anthony Cannone on 5 for 118 yards.
“In our spread offense we don’t care how many guys get touches,” said Brest “What the defense gives us is what we do. When the line executes up front and the quarterback reads the defense and a wide receiver breaks open, we go to him.”
Hickory is now 9-1 on the year and the two-time defending District 10 champion Hornets could be headed for a rematch in the D-10 finals with Greenville, but there are more games ahead before that could become reality.
Brest used the proverbial “coach speak” when asked who he wanted to see next in the district semis, Grove City or Northwestern, who played each other Saturday night. “We just take what ever comes, one game at a time,” said Brest. “Our goal is to win every game and win the district title again.”
Notes: The deaths of the two Sharon football players hit home for everyone in Mercer County and a moment of silence was held before the game. It touched Hickory, where wide receiver Michael Steach is a cousin of Sharon’s Evan Gill. “I told Michael we would miss him but to go and be with his family,” said Brest. “Our thoughts and prayers and condolences and sympathies go out to the families of those players and the Sharon team. I was fortunate to give Coach (Jim) Wildman a call and tell him they are in our thoughts and prayers.” — By Herald Sports Editor Lynn Saternow.
ä Greenville 33, Fairview 30 — At Slippery Rock University’s Mihalik-Thompson Stadium, Shannon Jackson jolted Greenville for 30-carry, 219-yard, 1st-half rushing performance as the Tigers took a 24-13 margin at intermission.
However during the 2nd half Greenville “ ... bottom line, just tackled better,” simply summarized Trojans’ taskmaster Brian Herrick.
Jackson was limited to 44 yards on 16 totes during the 2nd half, and, running out of a Wildcat formation, was sacked twice by Justin Reynolds.
Matt Jones orchestrated a 2nd half-opening 12-play, 68-yard, 3-minute, 5-second march, hurdling over from the 1 for the TD as Greenville got within 24-19.
In the 4th frame Tyler Fattman’s 27-yard return of Jackson’s punt set up the go-ahead score — Trey VanAken’s 20-yard jaunt on a toss-left with 7:39 remaining.
After Reynolds and Matt Crawford collaborated on a sack of Jackson to coerce a Tigers’ punt, it took the Trojans only a half-dozen plays to tally an insurance score — Fattman’s 18-yard jet sweep around right end, sprung by Nick Black’s kickout block.
The drive’s highlight, however, was Matt and Andy Jones’ connection on a 3rd-and-8 seam route for a 45-yard drive-sustaining 1st down.
Fairview (6-4) fashioned a late rally from a 33-24 deficit as Mike McCloy — subbing for concussed starting signal-caller Ben Kocan — tossed a 13-yard TD to Jackson with 57. 6 ticks to play. Reynolds blocked Joseph Martone’s conversion kick.
However Ben Reiser recovered the ensuing on-sides kick to give Greenville (11-0) its 2nd straight semifinals appearance.
“We changed our secondary coverage a little bit, to try to bring more people into the box; probably should’ve done that earlier,” Herrick admitted regarding his Trojans’ 2nd-half defensive improvement.
“We just made adjustments at halftime. There wasn’t a whole lot of yelling and screaming. We knew we could play — I mean, we had the ball twice in the first half and scored two touchdowns,” Herrick continued. “Their size gave us a problem, but I thought we got some things adjusted up front the second half, and it made a difference.”
Herrick said regarding his seniors’ sense of urgency,
“We talked about being here fifty-one weeks ago, and how bad it felt to sit in the locker room after you lose by one point (10-9 to Wilmington in double-overtime). And I just said, ‘It’s up to you now. I mean, it’s on your shoulders, and there’s not anything we can do schematically that we haven’t already done.’ I thought they responded well in the second half.”
In addition to Fattman’s team-high 63 yards rushing, VanAken added 48 and Matt Jones 54 yards rushing and an 8-for-18, 145-yard passing performance that included a trio of tosses to Andy Jones for 112 yards, including a 55-yard 2nd-stanza scoring strike.
Jackson tallied a trio of TDs, including 1- and 2-yard runs, for Fairview, and finished with a 46-carry, 263-yard performance.
Greenville will play the winner of the postponed Sharon-vs.-Girard quarterfinal-round game, next weekend at a site and time to be announced. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Northwestern 28, Grove City 7 — At Veterans Memorial Stadium in Erie, the Wildcats (9-2) rumbled for 320 yards in total offense and ousted the Eagles (5-5) in the D-10 quarterfinals.
Brandon Reiser, who has rushed for over 1,000 yards this season, had 168 yards on 23 carries and scored 2 touchdowns to lead the way for Northwestern.
The Wildcats took a 7-0 lead with 11:14 left in the 1st quarter on a 24-yard TD pass from Jay Clinger to Kyle Panko and Nathan Tewell’s PAT.
With 8:25 left in the opening quarter, Reiser broke loose for a 26-yard touchdown run for a 13-0 lead. Tewell’s extra-point kick made it 14-0.
Neither team scored in the 2nd quarter and the Wildcats led 14-0 at halftime.
NW increased its lead to 28-0 with a pair of scores in the 3rd quarter. Reiser scored on a 6-yard TD run and Tewell added the PAT and Nate Noe broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown run and Tewell tacked on the extra point.
Grove City’s lone score came with 8:34 left in the 4th quarter on a 4-yard run by Jared Sample. Dylan Nelson converted the extra-point attempt.
Clinger was 5-of-8 for 64 yards with 1 TD and 2 picks. Panko hauled in 3 catches for 38 yards and Reiser had 2 grabs for 26 yards.
Senior Foster Reznor rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries for Grove City. He closed out his career with 2,910 rushing yards. GC quarterback Jared Graham was 3-of-13 for 5 yards and 1 interception.
This was the Eagles’ 8th straight postseason appearance. — Stats submitted by Ryan Briggs, Herald sports correspondent.
Hickory and Greenville notched wins on Saturday to advance to the District 10 semifinals while Grove City was ousted with a loss to Northwestern.
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