Sharon, Hickory and Grove City advanced to the District 10 Class 3A semifinals with wins on Saturday.
The Tigers rolled past Girard, 48-14; the Hornets routed North East, 56-0, and the Eagles defeated Mercyhurst Prep, 28-17. Slippery Rock fell to Harbor Creek, 26-17.
In the Class 2A semifinals, Greenville advanced to play Wilmington for the D-10 championship with a 14-10 win over Northwestern.
Following are staff reports:
Class 3A Quarterfinals
• Sharon 48, Girard 14 – At Wilmington Saturday afternoon, the Sharon Tigers began their quest for a District 10 three-peat in impressive style.
Led by Mercer County’s all-time leading passer Lane Voytik, the Tigers scored on their first four possessions of the game and were on their way to an easy playoff opener.
But coming in was Sharon Coach Jason McElhaney worried about a two-week layoff since their last game?
“No, I was confident that we were ready to go,” he said. “The first bye week the kids weren’t too focused, but we had an awesome week of practice this last week.”
That carried over to the game that Sharon (7-3) controlled on both sides of the ball.
Along the way, the senior slinger Voytik passed for 325 yards on 17-of-26 and two TD passes to Ty Eilam good for 14 and 54 yards, while carried on a 1-yard score as well. Eilam finished with 140 yards receiving on 5 catches.
Eilam’s long TD catch came on the first play of the second half and gave Sharon a 42-7 lead and set the mercy rule into effect.
Voytik became only the second District 10 quarterback to throw for more than 2,000 yards for three straight seasons. Franklin’s Ian Haynes achieved the feat as well this year.
Other Tigers’ scores came on runs by Brady Ortiz (3 and 4 yards) and Tyvell Richardson (3 and 22 yards). Jake Auchter converted on 6-of-7 extra point kicks.
But while Voytik was firing strikes, the receivers Eilam, Ja-on Phillips, Trey Jones and Marcel Smith-Austin were making some terrific catch-and-runs none of it would have been possible without the strong line play up front.
“Coming into the year we were really concerned because we lost four of our five starters up front,” said McElhaney. “But we have had the same 5 guys (Noah Weese, Aaron Allenbaugh, Thomas Dawson, Bryce Carroll and Andrew Price) all year long and they have really done the job.”
Defensively, the front wall of Aidan Buck, Corte Williams, Dawson and Allenbaugh helped shut down the Girard run game, along with linebackers Doron Johnson, Noah Kubyako and Nick Dignall.
“We challenged the defense,” said McElhaney. “We didn’t play that well in our last game against Fort LeBoeuf and they were a Wing-T team like Girard.”
The one downside during the game for McElhaney and the Tiger faithful was the number of penalties, 12 for 124 yards.
“We earned some of those, but I can’t see everything that (the refs) can, so they made the calls,” said McElhaney. “We have to clean that up. We’ve been good all season about penalties, so I’m hoping that was just an anomaly.”
Sharon moved on to the D-10 semifinals against Harbor Creek. – By Herald Sports Editor Lynn Saternow.
• Harbor Creek 26, Slippery Rock 17 – At Veterans Stadium in Erie, the season came to an end for the Rockets (4-6) as they dropped a hard-fought contest to the unbeaten Huskies (10-0).
Harbor Creek took a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter on a 35-yard TD pass from Casey Smith to Ryan Whitman. The Rockets cut the lead to 6-3 on a 22-yard field goal by Nathaniel Willison.
The Huskies went up 13-3 with under a minute to play in the 1st quarter on an 18-yard TD pass from Smith to Marrick Bauer. Scott Stanyard tacked on the extra-point kick.
Harbor Creek kept the 13-3 lead at halftime as Willison missed a 48-yard field goal attempt just before the break.
The Huskies went up 20-3 in the 3rd quarter on a 37-yard TD pass from Smith to Bauer and Stanyard’s PAT. The Rockets cut the lead to 20-10 with 56 seconds left in the 3rd on a 3-yard touchdown run by QB Vito Pilosi and Willison’s kick.
With 3:35 left in the 4th quarter, Slippery Rock scored again on a 3-yard TD run by Nathan Hyatt and Willison’s kick to cut the lead to 20-17.
Harbor Creek put the game away with 1:08 left on the clock when Tyler East scored on a 21-yard touchdown run.
Pilosi was 4-of-16 for 28 yards with 3 interceptions and rushed for 170 yards on 25 carries. Hyatt had 89 rushing yards (14 carries) while David Duffalo ran for 73 yards on 14 carries. Ethan Plesakov caught 2 passes for 19 yards.
Smith was 9-of-10 for 169 yards for Harbor Creek. East (18-68) was the Huskies’ leading rusher while Bauer caught 3 passes for 66 yards.
Harbor Creek advances to the semifinals to battle Sharon.
• Hickory 56, North East 0 – At Greyhounds Stadium, New Wilmington, the Hornets channeled their 1989 predecessors. Hickory harvested the 1989 PIAA Class AA crown, and the 2019 Hornets’ edition took its first step to that end.
“Coach (Guy) Gibbs came in and talked to the team in preseason and he said, ‘Your goal is to be practicing on Thanksgiving, and that’s been our goal the whole season, so we’re one step closer,” related 1st-year Hornets’ Head Coach Bill Dungee.
Michael Henwood heaved himself into history. The slender signal-caller compiled a 17-for-18, 389-yard, 6-touchdown passing performance. Henwood hit a half-dozen different receivers with scoring strikes, including Ramarion Whitehead (50), Rocco Iacino (38), Nathan Richards (35), Kam Fisher (48), Matt Cannone (33) and Matthew Harris (25).
“I had no clue. I was doing what we do – do my job, do what coach asks: Help a teammate,” Henwood humbly explained.
Also for Region 5 regular-season champion Hickory (7-3), Hunter Stoots and Braelin Stewart sprinted for respective 75- and 41-yard scores. Stewart’s game-high 9-carry, 139-yard rushing performance helped Hickory hurdle the 600-total yard plateau (618).
The offensive front of center Michael Trinchese, guards Sammy Mancino and Cole Myers, tackles Dalton Beatty and Joey Fazzone, and tight end Iacino grappled with and pushed the Grapepickers off the line of scrimmage.
Henwood hit his first 7 throws, and related, “It started out, good confidence, good first pass, and after that, keep going and keep going, and it just kept rollin’ and ended up how it did,” he explained.
“Just efficient. Just a phenomenal kid,” Dungee declared regarding Henwood. “He just works, he works. I told him after the Conneaut game (a 38-12 Week-4 loss in Linesville), ‘These are the things you need to get better at,’ and every day he’s workin’ on gettin’ better at those, and I saw it last week in practice. He’s gettin’ the confidence. It’s a new offense, and he’s now ten games in, he’s understanding what I’m lookin’ for, and he’s seein’ the field wonderfully. I’m so proud of him.”
Not to be outdone, Coordinator Ed Roberson’s defense pitched its initial shutout of the season, Tai-Zhean Cameron, Cannone, Harris and Whitehead pilfered passes, and Bailey Phillips and Jackson Pryts posted quarterback sacks, while Phillips and Iacino shared one and Beatty and Myers another.
Hickory had a 1-week hiatus following its regular-season finale, and Dungee related, “ ... Last week, I wanted to get better, and I thought we got better, workin’ on different things we were deficient in, and then just comin’ out here and tryin’ to make a statement and get ready for Grove City.”
Hickory and Grove City will meet in next weekend’s semifinals – the 2nd time this season as the Hornets snapped Grove City’s 23-game regular-season win skein with a 21-19 Week-6 win at Hornet Stadium. Saturday night, Grove City eliminated Mercyhurst Prep (28-17).
Dungee succinctly summarized his Hornets’ performance: “It was a good first start to the playoffs, and honestly? I think we’re playin’ our best football right now.”
North East ended 3-8 on the season. – By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
• Grove City 28, Mercyhurst Prep 17 – At Ft. LeBoeuf’s Carm Bonito Field, Grove City’s defense came up big when their team needed them the most.
After spotting the Lakers a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter, the Eagles defense clamped down and allowed just 7 more points over the final 28:51 to ‘upset’ Region 6 second-seed Mercyhurst Prep (7-4)
“That first half, they controlled the clock running the ball,” Grove City coach Sam Mowrey said. “Our defense did a fantastic job of not giving them the big play and the easy score there in the first half. (The Grove City defense was) able to force a turnover. They just stepped up all night, especially in the first half when we didn’t kick the field goal and turned it over on downs near midfield.”
With the win, Grove City (8-2) earns a rematch with Region 5 champion Hickory – a 56-0 winner over North East – on November 9 at a site and time to be determined.
“As I told the kids, we’re just happy to practice another week,” Mowrey said. “We’re excited for the opportunity to play in Round 2 of the playoffs and we’ll see what we can do.”
With linebackers Curtis Hovis, Zack Martin, Colby Nelson, Jake Reddick and Daiveon Say leading the way, Grove City made District 10’s second leading rusher Steve Smith earn every single one of his 238 yards rushing on 29 carries. Smith entered the contest with 1,755 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground.
“Every time he touches the ball, you’re just holding your breath,” Mowrey said. “He has speed that you just don’t see. With a kid like that, you’re not going to shut him down totally. You just can’t give up big plays. He broke one and scored on that, but other than that we were able to contain him for the rest of the night. That’s a great job by our kids and our defensive staff.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Mercyhurst Prep took a 3-0 lead on a Sutton Rowland 31-yard field goal just 52 seconds into the second frame and extended its lead to 10-0 on a Smith 74-yard scamper. One Grove City offensive play later, Logan Breese found an open Jake Reddick and the senior speedster did the rest, racing 83 yards for the touchdown to pull the Eagles to within 10-7.
After forcing the Lakers to punt on their next possession, Grove City went into hurry-up mode, sprinting 78 yards in 39.3 seconds and scoring on Colby Nelson’s 17-yard reception from Breese.
“That drive right before the half – to get down the field in what 30 seconds – was just huge,” Mowrey said. “Colby was able to snake one in there and get in the endzone. (The coaches) were yelling to get out of bounds, but he was able to get into the endzone. That was just a huge play.”
Mercyhurst Prep took its final lead of the evening (17-14) on Iyan Baker’s 20-yard run midway through the third quarter. Grove City countered with an 8-play, 71-yard drive and captured a 21-17 lead on an 8-yard Nelson burst with 1:49 to play in the third quarter.
After forcing the Lakers to punt around the 6:32 mark of the fourth quarter, the Eagles chewed up clock on the back of their senior workhorse, chewing up nearly 5 minutes of clock and put the game away on Nelson’s 2-yard jump pass to Martin out of the wildcat for the 28-17 lead.
“That was something Coach Lettie saw up in the box,” Mowrey said. “Their linebackers were flying down and we had the opportunity. It was something we’ve worked on in practice and it doesn’t always look good in practice. I told Colby if you can get in get in. If you can’t just plop it over to Zack if he’s open. That was a great call from up in the box. That was the last thing they’d be expecting. Colby made a great decision and Zack made a great play.”
Nelson led the way for Grove City with 130 yards and a touchdown on the ground, 2 catches for 22 yards and another score through the air and completed his lone pass for a third touchdown. Classmate Jake Reddick grabbed 3 passes for a game-high 120 yards and a score, while Logan Breese completed 10-of-16 passes for 289 yards and 2 scores. Martin had 3 receptions for 55 yards, while Say had two catches for 62 yards.
“All year, (Breese) has kept on improving each week,” Mowrey said. “He’s doing a great job of finding things to work on each week in terms of decision making and tonight, I was watching him work through some things and put the ball in places where our kids could make plays on them.”Sayyid and Daiveon made some great catches. Reddick was able to break one. That was a team effort. It wasn’t just one guy. It was all 46 of us. They did just a fantastic job.” – Information submitted by Herald Sports Correspondent Corey J. Corbin.
Class 2A Semifinals
• Greenville 14, Northwestern 10 – At Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium, Coach Brian Herrick’s Trojans (8-3) scored late to beat Northwestern (7-4) and advance to the District 10 championship game.
Greenville took a 7-0 lead over Northwestern in the 1st quarter on a 28-yard touchdown run by Isaac Sasala and Justin Stuyvesant’s extra-point kick.
Northwestern tied the game at 7-all in the 3rd quarter on a 6-yard TD run by Logan Scott and Preston Runser’s kick.
The Wildcats pulled ahead 10-7 midway through the 4th quarter on a 36-yard field goal by Runser.
The Trojans scored with 5 minutes left in the game on a 1-yard run by Sasala. Stuyvesant tacked on the PAT and the Trojans hung on for the win.
Sasala rushed for 86 yards on 17 carries. Trojans’ QB Jon King was 2-of-6 for 78 yards. Sasala had 1 catch for 57 yards to lead the receivers.
The Trojans beat Northwestern, 21-0, in both teams’ season-opener Aug. 23 in Greenville.
The Trojans advance to play Wilmington for the District 10 title at a site and time TBA. The Hounds beat Greenville 45-0 on Sept. 27 in New Wilmington.
DISTRICT 10 CLASS 3A
GIRARD 7 0 0 7 14
SHARON 21 14 13 0 48
S — Ortiz, 3 run (Auchter kick)
S — Richardson, 3 run (Auchter kick)
G — Essman, 64 pass from Barrett (Gibbons kick)
S — Richardson, 22 run (Auchter kick)
S — Eilam, 14 pass from Voytik (Auchter kick)
S — Voytik, 1 run (Auchter kick)
S — Eilam, 54 pass from Voytik (Auchter kick)
S — Ortiz, 4 run (Auchter kick)
G — Barnett, 21 run (Gibbons kick)
11 First downs 16
60 Rushing yards 140
160 Passing yards 325
12-8-0 Att-comp-int 26-17-0
220 Total yards 465
1-1 Fumbles-lost 2-1
6-41 Penalties-yards lost 12-124
Rushing: GIRARD — Barrett 13-60, Essman 11-18, Lowe 1-5, Roesh 3-(-2), Gibbons 3-(-4), Team 1-(-17); SHARON — Ortiz 7-67, Richardson 6-59, Robinson 3-23, Voytik 1-1, Rodriquez 1(-10)
Passing: GIRARD — Barrett 8-12-0-110; SHARON — Voytik 17-26-0-325.
Receiving: GIRARD — Essman 2-85, Lowe 4-42, Jons 1-21, Tramontano 1-12; SHARON — Eilam 5-140, Phillips 4-90, Jones 5-68, Smith-Austin 4-27.
SLIPP. ROCK 3 0 7 7 17
HAR. CREEK 13 0 7 6 26
HC — Whitman, 35 pass from Ca. Smith (kick failed)
SR — Willison, 22 field goal
HC — Bauer, 18 pass from Ca. Smith (Stanyard kick)
HC — Bauer, 37 pass from Ca. Smith (Stanyard kick)
SR — Pilosi, 3 run (Willison kick)
SR — Hyatt, 3 run (Willison kick)
HC — East, 21 run (kick failed)
S. ROCK H. CREEK
17 First downs 9
332 Rushing yards 111
28 Passing yards 169
16-4-3 Att-comp-int 11-9-1
360 Total yards 280
1-1 Fumbles-lost 4-2
2-20 Penalties-yards lost 5-51
Rushing: SLIPPERY ROCK — Pilosi 25-170, Hyatt 14-89, Duffalo 14-73; HARBOR CREEK — East 18-68, Williamson 6-19, Bauer 2-13, Ca. Smith 5-6, Whitman 1-2, Habursky 2-2, Charlton 1-1.
Passing: SLIPPERY ROCK — Pilosi 16-4-3-28; HARBOR CREEK — Ca. Smith 10-9-0-169, Williamson 1-0-1-0.
Receiving: SLIPPERY ROCK — Plesakov 2-19, Earl 2-9; HARBOR CREEK — Bauer 3-66, Co. Smith 4-56, Whitman 2-47.
NORTH EAST 0 0 0 0 0
HICKORY 7 21 14 14 56
H — Whitehead, 50 pass from Henwood (Allen kick)
H — Iacino, 38 pass from Henwood (Allen kick)
H — Stoots, 75 run (Allen kick)
H — Richards, 35 pass from Henwood (Allen kick)
H — Stewart, 41 run (Allen kick)
H — Fisher, 48 pass from Henwood (Allen kick)
H — Cannone, 33 pass from Henwood (Allen kick)
H — Harris, 25 pass from Henwood (Allen kick)
NORTH EAST HICKORY
9 First downs 20
80 Rushing yards 229
111 Passing yards 389
21-9-4 Att-comp-int 18-17-1
191 Total yards 618
1-0 Fumbles-lost 1-0
3-15 Penalties-yards lost 5-40
Rushing: NORTH EAST — Swabik 11-26, Shrekla 18-25, Sayers 3-24, Kemp 1-5; HICKORY — Stewart 9-139, Stoots 3-95, Henwood 1-(-5).
Passing: NORTH EAST — Shrekla 20-9-3, 111; Sayers 1-0-1. HICKORY — Henwood 18-17-1, 389.
Receiving: NORTH EAST — Sayers 4-23, Craig 3-36 Swabik 1-41, Perez 1-11; HICKORY — Fisher 5-75, Cannone 4-65, Whitehead 3-111, Iacino 2-62, Harris 2-42, Richards 1-35.
GROVE CITY 0 14 7 7 28
MERCY. PREP 0 10 7 0 17
MP –– Rowland, 31 field goal
MP –– Smith, 74 run (Rowland kick)
GC –– Reddick, 83 pass from Breese (Hake kick)
GC –– Nelson, 17 pass from Breese (Hake kick)
MP –– Baker, 20 run (Rowland kick)
GC –– Nelson, 8 run (Hake kick)
GC –– Martin, 2 pass from Nelson (Hake kick)
GROVE CITY M. PREP
14 First downs 18
134 Rushing yards 280
291 Passing yards 124
17-11-0 Att-comp-int 13-6-0
425 Total yards 404
1-0 Fumbles-lost 4-1
3-36 Penalties-yards lost 2-10
Rushing: GROVE CITY –– Nelson 30-130, Say 2-13, Breese 3-(-9); MERCYHURST PREP –– Smith 29-238, Campbell 5-28, Baker 7-20, Leigl 3-3, Luce 2-(-9).
Passing: GROVE CITY –– Logan Breese 10-16-0 289, Colby Nelson 1-1-0 2; MERCYHURST PREP –– Matt Luce 6-13-0 124.
Receiving: GROVE CITY –– Reddick 3-120, Martin 3-55, Say 2-62, Nelson 3-55, Muhammad 1-32; MERCYHURST PREP –– Smith 2-55, Leigl 2-37, Helsley 2-32.
DISTRICT 10 CLASS 2A
GREENVILLE 7 0 0 7 14
N’WESTERN 0 0 7 3 10
G — Sasala, 28 run (Stuyvesant kick)
NW — Scott, 6 run (Runser kick)
NW — Runser, 36 field goal
G — Sasala, 1 run (Stuyvesant kick)
10 First downs 12
186 Rushing yards 77
78 Passing yards 106
6-2-0 Att-comp-int 15-7-2
264 Total yards 183
1-1 Fumbles-lost 1-0
4-45 Penalties-yards lost 0-0
Rushing: GREENVILLE — Sasala 17-86, Swartz 12-64, King 7-24, Achuff 2-14, Robertson 1-(-2); NORTHWESTERN — Scott 9-30, Albert 12-29, Swift 9-15, Fenstermacher 1-6, Valletta 3-4, Tewell 3-(-7).
Passing: GREENVILLE — King 6-2-0-78; NORTHWESTERN — Tewell 5-4-1-67, Albert 10-3-1-39.
Receiving: GREENVILLE — Sasala 1-57, Ritzert 1-21; NORTHWESTERN — Scott 2-36, Kelley 1-33, Swift 1-17, Sumner 1-6.