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.
CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS
FT. LeBOEUF 0 0 0 7 7
HICKORY 14 42 0 0 56
H — Pryts, 66 punt ret. (Wombacker kick)
H — Pryts, 27 run (Wombacker kick)
H — Lewis, 13 pass from Voytik (Wombacker kick)
H — Voytik, 36 run (Wombacker kick)
H — Derloni, 29 run (Wombacker kick)
H — A. Cannone, 40 pass from Voytik (Wombacker kick)
H — Derloni, 34 run (Wombacker kick)
H — A. Cannone, 14 pass from Voytik (Wombacker kick)
FL — Carroll, 17 run (Dombkowski kick)
FT. LeBOEUF HICKORY
8 First downs 13
155 Rushing yards 189
7 Passing yards 165
8-2-0 Att-comp-int 11-8-0
162 Total yards 356
0-0 Fumbles-lost 2-1
5-25 Penalties-yards lost 3-25
Rushing: FT. LeBOEUF — Carroll 28-114, Kula 4-6, Galvin 1-(-7), Fish 8-38, Falk 4; HICKORY — Derloni 4-93, Voytik 4-53, Pryts 1-27, Carr 6-15, Sellers 2-(-1), DeJulia 1-1.
Passing: FT. LeBOEUF — Galvin 6-2-0-7, Falk 2-0-0-0; HICKORY — Voytik 9-8-0-165, N. Cannone 2-0-0-0.
Receiving: FT. LeBOEUF — Carroll 1-9, Fish 1-(-2); HICKORY — A. Cannone 5-118, Dejulia 1-26, Lewis 1-13, Derloni 8.
FAIRVIEW 7 17 0 6 30
GREENVILLE 6 7 6 14 33
F — Jackson, 1 run (Martone kick)
G — Black, 1 run (Gladysz kick)
F — Martone, 25 field goal
G — A.Jones, 55 pass from M.Jones (kick failed)
F — McCloy, 1 run (Martone kick)
F — Jackson, 2 run (Martone kick)
G — M.Jones, 1 run (pass failed)
G — VanAken, 20 run (Houpt run)
G — Fattman, 18 run (run failed)
F — Jackson, 13 pass from McCloy (kick failed)
15 First downs 20
278 Rushing yards 193
32 Passing yards 145
6-4-0 Att-comp-int 19-8-0
310 Total yards 338
3-1 Fumbles-lost 2-1
6-49 Penalties-yards lost 4-40
Rushing: FAIRVIEW — Jackson 46-263, Paden 2-9, Martone 4-7, McCloy 2-0; GREENVILLE — Fattman 6-63, M.Jones 8-54, VanAken 12-48, Black 7-22, Houpt 5-7.
Passing: FAIRVIEW — McCloy 5-3-0, 15; Jackson 1-1-0, 17; GREENVILLE — M.Jones 19-8-1, 145.
Receiving: FAIRVIEW — Jackson 2-11, Martone 1-17, Klemm 1-4; GREENVILLE — A.Jones 3-112, Houpt 2-(-4), Ingersheim 1-18, Fattman 1-12, VanAken 1-7.
GROVE CITY 0 0 0 7 7
N’WESTERN 14 0 14 0 28
NW — Panko, 24 pass from Clinger (Tewell kick)
NW— Reiser, 26 run (Tewell kick)
NW — Reiser, 6 run (Tewell kick)
NW — Noe, 61 run (Tewell kick)
GC — Sample, 4 run (Nelson kick)
GROVE CITY N’WESTERN
9 First downs 13
174 Rushing yards 256
5 Passing yards 64
13-3-1 Att-comp-int 8-5-2
179 Total yards 320
2-2 Fumbles-lost 2-2
7-46 Penalties-yards lost 6-51
Rushing: GROVE CITY — Reznor 19-103, Graham 9-38, Lucido 7-18, Sample 7-13, Skibinski 2-2; NORTHWESTERN — Reiser 23-168, Noe 6-74, Diehl 1-14, Clinger 4-2, team 1-0, Panko 1-(-2).
Passing: GROVE CITY — Graham 13-3-1-5; NORTHWESTERN — Clinger 8-5-2-64.
Receiving: GROVE CITY — Maine 1-6, Sample 1-3, Reznor 1-(-4); NORTHWESTERN — Panko 3-38, Reiser 2-26.
Hickory and Greenville notched wins on Saturday to advance to the District 10 semifinals while Grove City was ousted with a loss to Northwestern.
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.
WRESTLING NOTEBOOK: It's a young group of county matmen headed to state
THERE’S definitely a youth movement in Mercer County wrestling as demonstrated by the group of 11 matmen who are advancing to the PIAA State Class AA Championships on Thursday.
Eight of the locals are underclassmen. The only seniors are Lakeview’s Sam Breese (285), Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145) and Jamestown’s Mohamed Messai (182).
Breese and Stoyer are the only returning state place-winners. Breese, who has verbally committed to Kent State University to wrestle next season, won the heavyweight class and is seeking a second gold medal. Stoyer placed 7th at 145 and wants to climb much higher on the medals stand.
Kennedy boys forfeit win, are out of playoffs
The PIAA basketball playoffs do not begin until Friday, but Mercer County already lost a team.
Kennedy Catholic High disclosed Monday the discovery of an academically-ineligible player, who competed in last Friday’s District 10 Class A consolation contest.
Kennedy Catholic edged Eisenhower in double-OT, 66-62, earning a berth in the statewide tournament. The Golden Eagles were to meet District 9 champion Ridgway Friday at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium in the opening round; instead, Eisenhower will represent D-10 as its 3rd-place team.
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