PHILIPSBURG — There was a time when, if a student made a mistake in class, the teacher used a ruler across the knuckles to make the error a teachable moment.
On Friday night, Tyrone took Philipsburg-Osceola to school, scoring touchdowns after five Mountie mistakes in a 60-7 mercy-rule romp at Memorial Stadium.
And further reinforcing the lesson, four of those touchdowns were scored on plays of 16 yards or longer.
“This was like Week 1 again, having turnovers like that,” said P-O coach Jeff Vroman. “We snapped the ball over the punter’s head and the last time I saw that here was the 11 years ago. Tonight we had two in one game. We just had too many breakdowns.”
And for those who took solace in Tyrone’s 0-2 start, the Golden Eagles proved to be way too good to commit that many errors against and hope to survive.
“That’s the way winning teams are supposed to handle turnovers,” said Tyrone coach Steve Guthoff. “You’ve got to capitalize on them. We’re starting to get back to where Tyrone defense is supposed to be. Earlier in the year, we had eight guys in there who hadn’t played very much.”
The starters only got a half’s worth of experience Friday night, as the Golden Eagles bolted to a 54-0 lead at the break.
Tyrone established itself immediately, marching 72 yards in seven plays with fullback Cory Snyder going up the middle for 16 yards and a touchdown with 9:43 on the clock. The PAT kick was wide.
The Mounties looked as though they were going to match Tyrone’s march when they took the ball and drove to the Tyrone 46, where Caleb Pepperday’s pass was picked off by Charles Wilson-Adams at his own 44. Two plays later, Snyder burst up the middle and went 54 yards for the score and Seth Umholtz booted the PAT, making it 13-0 with 5:13 left in the quarter.
After holding P-O on downs and forcing a punt, Tyrone drove 61 yards in three plays with James Oliver ending the drive with a 41-yard dash up the middle. Umholtz made it 20-0 with 1:26 in the quarter.
In the second quarter, the game got completely out of hand as the Golden Eagles got a 22-yard run from Oliver following a Mountie fumble, which Snyder recovered; Oliver scored from the 5 at the end of a 65-yard march following a P-O fumble; Erick Wagner hit Hayden Zook for an 18-yard score after a high snap sailed over punter Nick Boumerhi’s head and Tyrone got the ball at the PO 18; Oliver went 65 yards for a score following a P-O punt; and Josh Fetters intercepted a desperate pass attempt by Boumerhi after another punt sailed over his head and returned it 27 yards for a score with 48 seconds still showing in the half.
Tyrone’s final score came by long distance in the third quarter, when reserve tailback Aleic Hunter streaked 60 yards down the left side after the Mounties turned the ball over on downs at their own 40.
The Mounties got their lone score in the fourth quarter when Nick Gray slammed in from the 3 at the end of a 14-play, 72-yard drive and Boumerhi kicked the PAT with 6:16 to play.
Tyrone passed up a chance to score again when backup quarterback Garret Hunter took a knee at the P-O 4 and turned the ball over on downs at the Mountie 5.
P-O fumbled the ball back to the Golden Eagles at the 18 and Hunter took a knee twice to run out the clock.
Guthoff said his team has learned its lessons from the losses to Bellwood-Antis and Central to open the season.
“Some of our guys still had the feeling that because we were Tyrone that people would just roll over for us,” he said. “That’s not the case. For a lot of teams, and I know from coaching against Tyrone, that beating Tyrone can make your season. We weren’t very good, we weren’t coaching very well (early in the year). It was just going to take time and a sense of urgency. Some of the better Tyrone teams I’ve been around have lost early and that creates that sense of urgency.”
For the Mounties, that sense of urgency is still elusive.
“I saw some good things tonight, but I didn’t like our effort in the second quarter,” Vroman said. “Our kids have to play with more intensity. That’s the thing we have to take from this. I saw some of that last week and there were times in the Bald Eagle game where we played with a lot of intensity. Tonight, I don’t think we did. Those (long) runs between the tackles, without even using a lead back, shouldn’t happen. That shouldn’t happen.
“But what it all came down to was turnovers and big plays. We’ve got to learn from this.”