PHILIPSBURG — It was one of those, You wont believe this, situations that leaves you scratching your head.
Consider: In the third quarter of Friday nights Bald Eagle Area-Philipsburg-Osceola football game, the Mounties had the football for 11:14 of the third quarter, during which they ran 25 plays in succession, gained 127 yards and scored one touchdown.
The Eagles, on the other hand, didnt snap the ball during that time and still matched the P-O touchdown, thanks to an 81-yard interception return by Bryan Greene that put BEA up 20-0.
As it turned out, that was the momentum-changer that propelled BEA to a 27-7 win at Memorial Field in a game that was delayed 55 minutes due to lightning.
To have them come out and possess the ball for seven-plus minutes, push the ball down the field and then have us get a pick that was returned for a touchdown was a huge accomplishment, said Eagle Coach Jack Tobias. The guys in front of Bryan locked on to their guys downfield and he made an outstanding return. That was a huge momentum swing.
To set the stage, P-O took the second-half kickoff trailing 13-0 and, following a penalty, began driving from its own 12. Staying completely on the ground, it drove to the BEA 36, where on fourth-and-17, went to the air.
Caleb Pepperdays pass was tipped by linebacker Hunter Clark and Greene grabbed the rebound and began threading his way down the sideline before finally outrunning the pursuit for the score. Tyler Schall kicked the PAT with 5:20 showing on the clock.
I had gotten burned on a couple of balls and Coach kept telling me to be sure and get back, Greene said. On that play Hunter (Clark) tipped the ball and I just grabbed it and my teammates made a couple of good blocks and I just took it to the house.
At the same time, it took away a chance for the Mounties to close the gap and make it a one-score game.
They had a couple of big plays that hurt us, said P-O coach Jeff Vroman. They had that long run (Dakota Bartleys 34-yarder in the second quarter that put the ball on the P-O 9) and then that pick.
You just cant do that. You cant turn the ball over and have them run it back for a touchdown.
But the Mounties absorbed the hit and went right back to moving the football, taking the ensuing kickoff and driving from their own 25 to the BEA 13, where Dustin Shuey circled the right side to score P-Os first touchdown of the year with just over 46 seconds left in the third quarter.
BEA needed only 1:11 to counter that, moving 65 yards in five plays, the big one being Dion Barnards 39-yard burst that put the ball on the P-O 11. One play later, Barnard scored from the 10 at the 11:03 mark of the fourth quarter to set the final score.
Ill take 14 seconds (possession) and a touchdown any time, Tobias said of the third quarter. Our defense did a great job of bending but not breaking. We rotated a lot of guys in there because that third quarter really zapped our defense.
BEA opened the game by driving 60 yards for a score as Cole Long hit Bartley for a 15-yard touchdown pass at the 5:56 mark. Schalls PAT attempt was blocked.
A couple of big plays set up BEAs next score deep in the second quarter, as the Eagles got the ball on their own 35 and got big plays from Long, who hit Jordan Kobularcik for 23 yards, and then Bartley broke the 34-yarder to put the ball on the Mountie 9. Two plays later, Bartley scored from the 5 to make it 13-0 with 42 seconds to go in the half.
We talked about starting out fast, Tobias said. We talked to the kids about adversity, and we had it with a rainstorm at practice on the first day of school, then having (fullback Nate) Sharkey and (wide receiver Dylan) Womer out for this game. But we had guys step up and fill those roles. I was happy with our tailbacks tonight.
Dion (Barnard) does a great job of setting up his blockers and Dakota (Bartley) just goes 100 miles-an-hour all the time. And our guys did a nice job of setting the edge, they blocked well. And Cole did a nice job throwing the ball. We didnt throw down-field a lot tonight.
Long was 7 for 7 for 90 yards and a touchdown passing for the Eagles. Barnard gained 74 yards on six carries and Bartley chipped in with 58 yards on nine carries to balance out the offense.
The Mounties got 190 yards from their ground game, as Shuey picked up 123 on 23 carries and Nick Gray added 44 tough inside yards on 12 attempts.
I thought our kids played pretty hard and I was impressed with our running game, Vroman said. We had more consistency up front. Our offensive line and Nick Gray did a great job executing our offense. They ran it like you draw it up.
But we have to get our passing game to be more consistent. And we had some penalties that put us in bad situations. But I saw progress tonight. Were getting better.