SHARON – It's a statistic only a Grove City guy would know.
According to a post on ProfessorBriggs.com earlier this week, in a rivalry that dates back more than a century, Grove City High had won at Sharon's Tiger Stadium on just 3 prior occasions.
"That's hard to believe, to be honest with you ... that's hard to believe," admitted Grove City Head Coach Sam Mowrey.
But Mowrey's minions made it 4 successes in Sharon with Saturday night's 42-17 Region 3 taming of the Tigers.
Logan Breese brokered a 12-for-20, 267-yard, 4-touchdown passing performance. Breese collaborated with Anthony Pereira on 75-, 40- and 26-yard scoring strikes, and in the process Breese surpassed the career 3,000-yards passing milestone.
"That's cool and all, but I'm just glad we got the win. I'm gonna go and thank every lineman I can find for that.That's really cool. But it's just ... a stat. We're lookin' for wins," Breese summarized.
Sharon (0-3 region, 0-3 overall) commenced the contest with a clock-consuming 16-play drive, 7-minute, 20-second drive; however, Sharon settled for a field goal –– Jake Auchter's 25-yarder –– and Grove City gave its high-octane offense the gas.
Two plays after the Tigers tallied a game-opening score for the 3rd time this season, Breese's pop pass to Zack Martin morphed into a 67-yard TD.
The Eagles (2-1, 2-1) extended their edge to 21-10 as Breese passed to the 6-foot-4 Pereira for a pair of scores. Breese broke a busted play –– a high center snap –– for a 30-yard scoring scamper around left end. And he later completed the hat trick to Pereira with 4:18 remaining in the 3rd period as the Eagles entered the final frame leading 35-10.
Pereira played "JV ball with Logan since I was a freshman, and from the start we've been building chemistry. We'd practice every day –– Scout team –– and it's just been building every day. Games like this just really proves that stuff (work-ethic). It's really fun to play out here with Logan," Pereira praised.
With 41.2 ticks to play in the 1st half Sharon scored on a 3rd-and-goal reverse from the 5-yard line, with Ja'on Phillips finishing the play after taking Jayden Robinson's handoff. In the 4th frame, Sharon southpaw signal-caller Brett Salsgiver sent a 21-yard scoring strike to Simier Wade.
"I thought we improved this week, I really did," began Tigers' taskmaster Jason McElhaney. "I know people are gonna read that and think, 'This guy is sellin' himself a bill of goods.' But I thought we ran the ball well (Saturday) night. I just think we have certain limitations, and we're workin' to get through those and get better at those.
"We're beat up. We had a dozen guys not in uniform," McElhaney continued. " ... But everybody's dealin' with those (injuries). ... It's tough right now. But our guys are comin' to practice and gettin' ready and workin' hard for us."
Regarding the game-opening drive, McElhaney admitted, "To be honest, that's what we have to be to be competitive and try to win games. I thought we dictated tempo there and we ran it well, were executing well. It's just that the margin for error's small. ...But we're gonna keep workin' on it and keep gettin' better."
As an once outside observer who actually now resides in Sharon, mentor Mowrey admires the Tigers' tradition. Regarding Grove City's 4 wins in 104 years, he said, "It speaks a lot to the program that Sharon has, and it's not easy to come in here and win –– at any point in time."
Mowrey cited his O-line –– center Gage Dlugonski, right guard Dillon Winger, left guard Cole Hammerman, left tackle Max Myford and right tackle Nate Wadsworth: "They did a great job, givin' Logan a little bit of time; some of those (plays) take a little bit longer to develop. But we had some nice match-ups, and our receivers played a great game.
"(Pereira) has done such a great job," continued Mowrey, making eye contact with his lanky receiver. "His maturation from his sophomore to his junior year ... and he's such a laid-back, relaxed kid. It's nice to see him get out here and get a little bit of emotion, and he's starting to get a little bit of confidence and doin' a great job."
Breese and Pereira are "great friends, and they have really started to have a little bit of chemistry together," Mowrey mused. "They trust each other, and that comes from the offseason –– all the work and time they put in together. Then you see it translate to Fridays (and Saturdays), and that's nice to see."
"It's a lot of fun. All these guys play with a lot of enthusiasm," Breese said regarding Grove City's no-huddle, hurry-up Spread offense.
And while wins at Sharon the last century-plus have been sparse, Breese brought into focus the present and a more poignant point when he summarized, "We're just so happy to be out here. I mean, we didn't know if we'd be able to play this year, with COVID and everything, but we're grateful for every moment."
Notes: Anthony Nemec notched a team-high 62 rushing yards, including a 3-yard TD run for Grove City. ... Labrae Norris' 72 yards for Sharon were a game high. ... Labron Wilder picked off a pass for the Tigers, also, while Jayveeth White recovered a muffed punt. ... Tyvell Richardson had a 65-yard punt return for a TD nullified by an illegal block.
GROVE CITY 7 14 14 7 42
SHARON 3 7 0 7 17
S — Auchter, 25 field goal
GC — Martin, 67 pass from Breese (Hake kick)
GC —Pereira, 75 pass from Breese (Hake kick)
GC — Pereira, 40 pass from Breese (Hake kick)
S — Phillips, 5 run (Auchter kick)
GC — Breese, 30 run (Hake kick)
GC — Pereira, 26 pass from Breese (Hake kick)
GC — Nemec, 3 run (Hake kick)
S — Wade, 21 pass from Salsgiver (Auchter kick)
GROVE CITY SHARON
14 First downs 13
116 Rushing yards 195
267 Passing yards 45
20-12-1 Att-comp-int 16-7-0
383 Total yards 240
2-1 Fumbles-lost 4-2
8-61 Penalties-yards lost 5-47
Rushing: GROVE CITY — Nemec 10-62, Hovis 13-38, Breese 3-36, Team 1-(-20); SHARON — Norris 15-72, Robinson 8-28, Salsgiver 7-23, Richardson 5-19, Ham 3-17, Wilder 4-17, Hawkins 3-9, Phillips 2-9.
Passing: GROVE CITY — Breese 20-12-1, 267; SHARON — Salsgiver 13-5-0, 34; Ham 3-2-0, 11.
Receiving: GROVE CITY — Pereira 6-158, Martin 2-80, Lutz 2-18; Hake 2-11; SHARON — Wade 3-27, Phillips 3-10, Fromm 1-8.