The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Sports

November 9, 2013

Perfect night: Sailors, Big Reds, Devils and Mustangs to D-10 semis

- — The District 10 Class A playoffs kicked off Friday night with all four area teams advancing to the semifinals.

West Middlesex edged Cochranton, 46-32 at Hickory High; Lakeview routed Maplewood, 61-6, in New Wilmington; Mercer handed Cambridge Springs a 35-14 loss at Veterans Stadium in Erie and Sharpsville beat Eisenhower, 31-7, at Corry High School.

Four area teams return to the gridiron today in the D-10 Class AA quarterfinals. Hickory (8-1) battles Ft. LeBoeuf (7-3) at 1 p.m. at Slippery Rock University; Sharon (6-4) squares off vs. Girard (8-2) at Veterans Stadium in Erie at 1 p.m.; undefeated Greenville (10-0) faces Fairview (6-3) at 7 p.m. at SRU and Grove City (5-4) meets Northwestern (8-2) at 7 p.m. at The Vet in Erie.

Following are staff reports from Friday’s games:

ä Lakeview 61, Maplewood 6 — In the hunt for the program’s first District 10 championship, the Lakeview Sailors kicked off the first game of the playoffs with a big 61-6 win over the Maplewood Tigers at Wilmington High School.

“Overall, I think we played well,” said Lakeview head coach Dan York. “Maplewood was a little out-manned. We’re bigger than them and might be a little faster in some positions.”

Blake Reddick, Mercer County’s rushing leader, ran for 248 yards on 12 carries, scoring four touchdowns on runs of 98, 60, 32, and 3 yards to lead the Sailors. Marquis Spence had 6 carries for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

The Sailors took an early lead on the first play of the game as Reddick ran for his first touchdown of the night on a 60-yard sprint. Quarterback Zach Bigley ran in the extra two points.

Bigley intercepted a pass from Maplewood quarterback Dane Barker to get the ball back during the next series. Reddick had a short 3-yard run touchdown, quickly followed another touchdown on a 32-yard run, to give the Sailors an early lead at the end of the first. Zach VanDusen kicked both extra points and the score was 22-0.

Spence had a series of short sprints near the end zone that resulted in a 1-yard TD for him at the start of the second quarter. VanDusen picked off a Maplewood pass and returned it 28-yards for another Sailor touchdown on the next drive by the Tigers.

Conner Stankovich caught a 46-yard touchdown pass from Bigley and VanDusen tacked on the extra point to extend the Sailor lead in the second frame. Bigley connected with VanDusen on a 55-yard pass to send Lakeview into the locker rooms at the half up 48-0.

At the start of the third quarter, the Tigers were stopped with 5 yards to go in pursuit of their first touchdown of the game. The Sailor offense took over there and Reddick ran his final touchdown of the game on a 95-yard dash. Spence scored his second TD on a 70-yard run to score the final points of the game for the Sailors at the closing of the third.

Maplewood put some points on the board during their final possession of the game when the Tigers recovered a Lakeview fumble with just 7 yards to go. After a series of two plays, Barker ran in a 5-yard touchdown.

Nearing the end of the season, many players are battling minor injuries and one of the problems, York says, is knowing how much to play everyone.

“We still have to recover from some minor injuries that we’re dealing with,” said York. “(Zach) Bigley is still limping a little bit. (Hunter) Armstrong only played the first two series on offense because he’s dealing with an ankle injury. The good thing is no one got hurt any worse (Friday).”

The Sailors have been primarily a running-team this season, but York says the team will work on throwing the ball this week in practice in preparation for the next round of the district playoffs.

Lakeview’s lone loss of the season occurred in Week 4 to Mercer (19-8) and the Sailors are set to play the Mustangs next weekend in the District 10 semi-finals.

“I think we’ll be ready for Mercer,” York said. “These kids have been hungry since that game in Week 4.” — By Madeline Williams, Herald sports correspondent.

ä West Middlesex 46, Cochranton 32 — West Middlesex first-year head coach Ed Roberson barely dodged a Gatorade bath at the game’s conclusion. But he was even happier the Big Reds dodged an upset in their playoff opener.

In a wild fracas at Hickory High Hornets Stadium, the Big Reds held off the determined Cardinals (6-5) and their fantastic quarterback Chad Eisenhooth to move to the second round of the Class A playoffs.

“It’s never easy in the playoffs,” said Roberson. “My hats off to Cochranton, they are a good football team. They gave us fits all night.

“But a win is a win and the object in the playoffs is to keep advancing.”

But advancing didn’t come easy. With a makeshift offensive line because of injuries, the big guys up front — Gator Thompson, Jared George, Tommy Lewis, Austin Groenendaal and Mike Bacchetti — pulled together and opened the door for a strong running attack led by Eric Lucich.

Lucich scored four touchdowns on runs of 4, 3, 56 and 38 yards and finished the night with 165 yards on 20 carries. Chandler Tyillian, playing with a cast on his broken wrist, also cleared the century mark by gaining 111 yards on 12 carries.

Other touchdowns for the Big Reds were tallied by Dillon Fair on a freakish 30-yard punt return (Fair rushed in and grabbed an apparently blocked punt off the foot of Eisenhooth right out of the air and ran to paydirt.); and a 1-yard run by Trey Staunch. Ethan Thompson booted a 23-yard field goal and 3 extra points, while Lucich ran for a 2-pointer and Staunch passed to Fair for another.

Cardinals senior Eisenhooth closed out a brilliant career with a final brilliant performance. He passed for 4 touchdowns and 313 yards and ran for another score. Jesse Staudt was on the receiving end of 3 of the TD passes, good for 38, 84 and 12 yards. He totalled 6 catches for 157 yards.

Garrett Adams also pulled in a touchdown aerial for 20 yards.

Even though West Middlesex dominated the time of possession and number of plays in the first half, they were on the short end of a 12-10 score at intermission.

“I was a little surprised that we weren’t as physical as we should have been in the first half,” said Roberson. “We were much better in the second half and Dillon Fair’s punt return really got us going (for the first score of the third quarter).

“But this team plays hard all the time. We started a freshman on the line and we played three freshmen in the game. Our guys never quit. I’m very proud of these guys.”

Next up for the Big Reds (7-4) is a familiar foe — the Sharpsville Blue Devils, probably back at Hickory High’s field. “It’s going to be tough any time you face Coach (Paul) Piccirilli and the Blue Devils,” said Roberson. “It’s a big rivalry,.and we’ve got to play a good game to win.”

In the regular season meeting, Sharpsville won a 20-12.

Note: West Middlesex running back Joey Trippy suffered what appeared to be a hamstring pull in the first half on a punt return and didn’t return to action.

ä Sharpsville 31, Eisenhower 7 — At Corry High School, the Knights (7-4) took a 7-0 lead in the 1st quarter, but the Blue Devils (7-4) scored 31 unanswered points in ousting Ike from the D-10 playoffs.

Eisenhower quarterback Rob Wilston scored on a 50-yard blocked punt return and a PAT gave Ike a 7-0 lead in the opening quarter on a snowy field at Corry.

Sharpsville tied the game at 7-all on a 3-yard run by George Keck and Nathan Lutz’s PAT. The Devils took a 13-7 lead before halftime on a 2-yard TD run by Greg Popatak. The extra-point kick failed.

Keck scored on an 11-yard run in the 3rd quarter and Popatak scored from 10 yards out in the 3rd quarter as the 2-time defending D-10 champion Blue Devils went up 25-7. The 2-point conversion run attempt on Keck’s TD failed and the kick failed on Popatak’s score.

Sharpsville made it 31-7 in the 4th quarter on a 15-yard touchdown run by Ben BuCher.

Keck rushed for 146 yards on 21 carries for Sharpsville, BuCher was 12-91 and Popatak rushed for 86 yards on 18 totes. Luke Henwood went 1-of-4 for 11 yards. His lone completion was to Austan Szugye.

Paul Piccirilli has led the Blue Devils to 7 District 10 titles and the 1997 state championship.

Eisenhower came into the game after being upset by 3-win Cameron County (District 9) last week, 35-27.

Sharpsville advances to play West Middlesex in the D-10 semifinals.

There’s been talk that Piccirilli may step down following the season. Following last week’s win at Sharon, he said,

“One game at a time, one game at a time. We want to make a run outta this thing and put Sharpsville where it needs to be. We’re lookin’ to get in the finals again, some how, some way winning it and going up north.

“Oh, no, no. I’m playin’ next week, I’ll be here next week. You can ask me that question (is he retiring, has he coached  his last game at Sharpsville) next week.”

ä Mercer 35, Cambridge Springs 14 — At Veterans Memorial Stadium in Erie, Mercer junior quarterback Logan Clarke surpassed 2,000 passing yards for the season as the Mustangs (9-2) rolled past the Blue Devils (8-3) in the D-10 quarterfinals.

Mercer took a 2-0 lead early in the 1st quarter on a safety and then made it 8-0 on a 24-yard TD pass from Clarke to T.J. Peters. The PAT was blocked.

Cambridge Springs tied the score at 8-all on a 75-yard kickoff return by Zach Stafford and a 2-point conversion run by Gavin Hohn.

Mercer went up 15-8 just before the 1st quarter ended on a 4-yard run by Clarke and Chase Hoffman’s PAT.

Mercer held a 22-8 lead at halftime. The 2nd-quarter score was a 30-yard TD pass from Clarke to Jarred Davis.

Cambridge Springs made it 22-14 in the 3rd frame on a 1-yard TD run by Colton Noble. The extra-point kick by Hohn was no good.

In the 4th quarter, the Mustangs, who are seeking their 1st-ever District 10 title, scored on a 10-yard run by Clarke and Luke Leonard tacked on a 2-yard TD run.

Clarke was 9-of-16 for 192 yards and now has 2,107 yards this season. He also led the team in rushing with 75 yards on 13 carries.

Mercer advances to play Lakeview in the District 10 semifinals. — Stats reported by Ryan Briggs, Herald sports correspondent.

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