Jarrett Samuels referenced it as “redemption.”
If that’s the case, he sure has been making up for lost time since his own Farrell High playing days.
Samuels’ Steelers sacked Sharon signal-caller Andrew Tomko 9 times Friday night, and Farrell forged a 12-0 season-opening win at Tiger Stadium.
The 68th annual Steel Bowl marked Farrell’s 5th consecutive win in the Shenango Valley rivalry, though Sharon continues to maintain a 35-26-7 all-time edge.
Farrell’s front four — Derrick Carter, Tyreke Barnett, Brandon Gavins and Tyrone Archie — spent more time in Sharon’s backfield than Tomko, Carnell Hawkins and Anthony Johnson.
Such was the Steelers’ domination that the one time Tomko gained positive yardage from scrimmage — a 4-yard 2nd-stanza run — he fumbled, and it was recovered by Barnett.
“We knew from the film study that our guys up front could handle them — not taking anything away from Sharon,” Samuels explained. “We have a veteran group, and those guys play our scheme really well.
“We were in ‘attack mode.’ Tyrone was really in ‘attack mode,’” Samuels praised.
“My key was preparation, mental preparation before the game ... get my mind right and get my team right,” related the athletic Archie, tapping his temple for emphasis.
In the 2nd stanza a scoreless stalemate was shattered with 5:54 remaining to intermission.
Seconds after gaining a 1st down owing to a Farrell personal foul, Sharon squandered the opportunity. Tomko’s 1st-down pass was tipped by Gavins, and Tionté Davis sprinted 45 yards for the touchdown.
The Steelers’ 6-0 shutout expanded to 12-0 with 6:43 remaining in the 3rd period. On a 2nd-and-16 play, RayShown Johnson jolted Sharon with a 46-yard TD toss to Austin Pickens streaking down Sharon’s sideline.
It appeared as though Sharon scored with a minute remaining in the frame. On 1st down, Tomko tossed to Dan Vanderslice, who threaded through the Steelers’ secondary to complete a 60-yard pass play. However the Tigers were too aggressive, and a block approximately 20 yards from behind Vanderslice negated the TD.
Two plays into the 4th frame the Tigers took it to Farrell’s 13-yard line. However the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Archie sacked Tomko on 1st down, Tomko’s 2nd-down pass fell incomplete, then his 3rd-down pass into the end zone was pilfered by Alex Meyers.
“Fundamentally, a very poor showing up front,” Tigers’ taskmaster Jim Wildman said. “You have to be able to run-block; if you get behind, you better be able to protect your quarterback, and I’m not sure we did a good job of either one of those.
“But my hat’s off to Farrell — they played hard,” Wildman praised. “The name of this game always is, ‘The team that makes plays always wins,’ and they made two big ones; we didn’t make one.”
Farrell finished by almost shutting out Sharon statistically. The Tigers tallied only 44 total yards on 36 plays from scrimmage. The beleaguered Tomko tossed 2 interceptions and Sharon fumbled 5 times, losing a pair.
“That was our achilles heel last year, our defense,” Samuels said. “That was what we focused on all offseason. Our D-line coaches, before the game knew they had to carry the day, and they did. I’m so proud of my guys on defense!
“Tyrone Archie is a ‘beast.’ He plays hard on every play,” Samuels said in praise of his senior, who shared in a sack and logged another by himself. Gavins garnered a pair, and Davis, Carter, and Jesse Robinson registered solos, while Robinson and Deion Saunders shared another.
“We put the big ‘doughnut’ (zero) up there on the board,” Archie said.
“To come out the first game and get this win against Coach Wildman ... this is for my classmates of ’89, the fall season, this is for you guys,” Samuels said, recalling, “That was a 6-6 tie (against Sharon), so this is redemption.”
Wildman’s return from an 11-year hiatus certainly was not what he envisioned, but he said,
“The kids played with great effort. ... I knew our kids had to play well early, to try and get over the hump of what they’ve lived with over the last four years against Farrell. But I’m not sure we did play well the first part of the game. And the longer that game went on, it was like we were waiting for something to happen, instead of making something happen.
“Certainly, playing Farrell gets your attention,” Wildman said. “l’d like to thing that Farrell’s going to be a better football team because they played us, and I know that these kids in here (Sharon locker room) will be a better football team having played (Farrell). We’ll circle the wagons and work for another week to get better.”
Note: DeWayne Burns burst for a game-high 103 yards on 26 totes for Farrell.
FARRELL 0 6 6 0 12
SHARON 0 0 0 0 0
F — Davis, 45 interception return (kick failed)
F — Pickens, 46 pass from Johnson (pass failed)
13 First downs 6
89 Rushing yards -12
93 Passing yards 56
14-6-0 Att-comp-int 10-4-2
182 Total yards 44
8-75 Fumbles-lost 5-50
3-1 Penalties-yards lost 5-2
Rushing: FARRELL — Burns 26-101, Gavins 3-21, Graham 3-1, Johnson 6-(-5), Guelledge 4-(-29); SHARON — Hawkins 11-38, Johnson 5-13, Tomko 10-(-53).
Passing: FARRELL — Guelledge 7-4-0, 35; Johnson 7-2-0, 58; SHARON — Tomko 10-4-2, 56.
Receiving: FARRELL — Burns 3-35, Pickens 2-53, Graham 1-5; SHARON — Vanderslice 2-43, Mosley 1-8, Austin 1-5.
Jarrett Samuels referenced it as “redemption.”
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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