PHILIPSBURG — An opportunistic Line Mountain team took advantage of six Philipsburg-Osceola turnovers and ruined the injury-plagued Mounties season opener with a 56-0 romp on Friday night.
The Mounties fumbled the football four times three on kickoffs and added two interceptions to ease the way for the visiting Eagles, who turned two of the fumbles into touchdowns and ran one of the interceptions back for a score.
We took advantage of turnovers and they didnt, said Line Mountain Coach Rodney Knock, who was making his coaching debut. And our defense played well.
The teams traded turnovers in the first quarter before Cole Rickert picked off a Caleb Pepperday pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown at the 4:47 mark. The Mounties blocked the extra point.
P-O then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Line Mountain recovered it at the Mounties 25, and four plays later, Dillan Michael went nine yards for the score. Rickert then hit Erik Smeltz for the two-point conversion to make it 14-0 with 2:58 left in the quarter.
When the momentum changed in the last four minutes of the first quarter, it snowballed, said Mountie coach Jeff Vroman, who was without three two-way starters up front due to injuries and illness.
We had the interception returned for a touchdown and then we fumbled the kickoff. We preached to them all summer about how you have to be resilient, how you have to have a short memory. So I was surprised we did that. But with a young team, that often happens.
The Eagles blew the game wide open with five touchdowns in the second quarter, as Austin Snyder capped a 38-yard drive with a one-yard run, Rickert circled the left side for a 46-yard score, Michael went 18 yards for a TD after a P-O fumbled kickoff at their own 23. Cory Warford scored the fourth from 27 yards out following a short P-O punt, as Eagle back-up quarterback Codi Morris scored from two yards out with 57 seconds left in the half to go up 49-0.
At halftime we talked to the guys about being resilient, to take pride in what theyre doing, Vroman added.
But we had a predicament because we have a JV game tomorrow (today) at 10 a.m., so we had to be careful.
But the bottom line is they took it to us in all facets of the game. With four minutes left in the first quarter, you wondered if anyone was going to take over the game. They decided to do it and we let them.
Line Mountain scored on its only possession in the third quarter when Rickert hit Michael from 13 yards out to cap the scoring with 42 seconds left in the quarter.
We certainly werent expecting this, Knock said. Before the game started, we were expecting a tough battle. But then we got some momentum going. We got over the first-game jitters and the kids responded well. We talked about taking care of the football and not having any penalties and we came out and had a couple of penalties and turned the ball over. But once the kids got over that first hit, they calmed down and settled in.
P-O entertains Bald Eagle Area at 7 p.m. on Friday.