ERIE — Life goes on and so do the Sharon Tigers. But not until next season!
The Tigers played with heavy hearts Monday night in their District 10 Class AA playoff opener against Girard, delayed from Saturday after the tragic fatal crash that killed two players and left two others in the hospital. Corey Swartz and Evan Gill were killed in the accident and the Osmon twins, Greg and Craig, both hospitalized with injuries.
But school officials said the families were “adamant” that the game be played and the Tigers and coaching staff voted to play it in honor “of those who couldn’t be here.”
But even in losing a heart-breaking 22-19 game to Girard at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Tigers still came away as WINNERS in the eyes of their fans and the Shenango Valley community.
“We fought hard and I’m proud of these kids,” said Coach Jim Wildman. “This is a resilient group. And I’m especially proud of my seniors. … We’ll use this game as motivation for the future. … And this week, we’ll bury two of our own.”
The Tigers suffered a much bigger loss than a game last Friday night when four senior starters and team leaders, were involved in a tragic fatal accident. And they played it well. The Tigers were leading 19-14 with about 21 seconds to go and Girard had a 4th down and no timeouts at the 22-yard line. Quarterback Joe Dunn hit Cody Pound with a pass at the 7, and Pound broke a tackle and went in to score. A 2-point pass followed with 13 seconds left and Girard had the victory.
“We were one tackle away from winning,” said Wildman. “If we make a tackle, the game is over. But Girard is the second-ranked team from up here and some people didn’t think we belonged. But despite everything that happened over the weekend, on Sunday when we held practice, these kids were ready to play.”
Sharon held Girard on the opening series of the game and it only took slightly more than 2 minutes before the Tigers were up 7-0. Carnell Hawkins, who ripped off a brilliant 51-yard run on the drive, scored the first TD on a 5-yard burst over the right side. Andrew Tomko booted the point after.
But the Tigers’ defense was tested immediately after Yellow Jacket speedster Bryan Divido returned the ball to the Sharon 12. Four plays later, Nason McCall carried 1 yard into the end zone. A 2-point PAT run by Cody Dinger on a broken play off an attempted kick jumped Girard into an 8-7 lead.
“You can’t give up 70-yard kick returns, especially in the playoffs,” lamented Wildman.
Sharon went right back to work on offense as Hawkins ripped off a 42-yard run on the first play from the Sharon 31. Six plays later, fullback Da’mon Rudolph plowed to paydirt on an 8-yard run. A run for points after failed, but Sharon was back on top, 13-8.
With snow starting to cover the field early in the 2nd quarter, Girard marched back down the field into the lead. Dunn carried 22 yards over the left side for the score, but the PAT kick went off the upright and the margin for the Yellow Jackets was 14-13.
That score held until halftime, but it wasn’t without a tense moment.
With about 29 seconds left in the half Sharon had the ball at its own 13 and 4th down. Rather than punt into the heavy wind, “Gamblin’ Jim” Wildman called Tomko’s number on a quarterback sneak and Tomko picked up the 1st down and the Tigers ran out the clock.
At halftime, a snow-plow driver was hard at work clearing snow off the yard lines. But it was a futile effort as the white stuff continued to fall.
Sharon controlled most of the 3rd quarter and appeared to score on a 38-yard interception return by Trenton Mosley, but a penalty moved the ball back to the 20. Four plays later, Rudolph carried 3 yards for his second score. A pass for PAT failed, but Sharon was back on top, 19-14.
But late in the game, Girard pulled out the victory and will move on to face unbeaten Greenville next Saturday at a site to be determined.
Notes: Four Tigers wore the numbers of the players lost to the accident. Troy Hejazi wore 9 (Corey Swartz); Beau Dignal 67 (Evan Gill); Kendall Sheffield 73 (Craig Osmon); Jay’Quan Jackson 70 (Greg Osmon). A moment of silence was held prior to the game for Swartz and Gill as well as John Zdelar of Brookfield who was also killed in the crash.
ERIE — Life goes on and so do the Sharon Tigers. But not until next season!
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.
SPORTVIEW: Eagles' release of Jackson was a strange move
ONE OF THE strangest NFL moves I’ve seen in a long time involved the Philadelphia Eagles releasing DeSean Jackson.
Jackson is one of the top wide receivers in the league and a danger to score every time he touches the ball, including punt returns. But the big question is: Why was he just released? Couldn’t they find a trade at least to get some value back?
WM track teams go 6-1 at Big Red Duals
The West Middlesex girls and track teams both went 6-1 on Friday at the annual Big Red Relays. Both teams lost to Mohawk.
The WM boys beat A.C. Valley (129-17), Commodore Perry (120-26), Kennedy Catholic (128-18), Laurel (89-61), Sharon (108-38), Union (127-19) and lost to Mohawk (96-53).
The Ms. Reds topped A.C. Valley (128-18), Commodore Perry (120-22), Kennedy Catholic (123-14), Laurel (123-14), Laurel (89-56), Sharon 114-26, Union (107-33) and lost to Mohawk (96 1/2-48 1/2).
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