PHILIPSBURG — After the teams had gone through the traditional post-game handshake line, the Penns Valley team ran to one end of field at Veterans Memorial Stadium, circled up and began celebrating their 27-7 win over Philipsburg-Osceola instead of waiting for the usual talk from coach Martin Tobias.
It was a big win for them, Tobias said with a smile. I dont think weve won two in a row since 2007. Weve worked really hard to get to this point. And any game against any of the (Centre) county teams is important to us. And Philipsburg has been a thorn in our sides. I think weve only beaten them a couple of times since we began playing them.
By beating the Mounties here Friday night, the Rams gave themselves a winning streak as the season heads into the home stretch.
All week we talked about adding on, Tobias said. We felt if they kept doing the things that theyve been doing in practice, it would come though on the field. And weve seen that the past two weeks.
What they saw in this game was a 58-yard second-period drive end when Taylor Collison got loose on the perimeter on an option pitch and went 30 yards down the sideline for a touchdown with 7:14 left in the first half. The PAT kick was blocked.
P-O appeared to be on the verge of matching that score when the Mounties moved from their own 38 to the Penns Valley 25, thanks in large part to a 41-yard run by quarterback Curtis Matsko only to have the drive stopped by a Matsko fumble that was recovered by Wyatt Sharp and returned to the Rams 45.
From there, the Rams marched methodically down the field, mixing runs and short passes until they got to the P-O 5, where Cameron Tobias hooked up with Sam Kozer for the fourth time in the drive. The score, with :47 left on the clock, and Collisons run for the two-point conversion, gave the Rams a 14-0 cushion at the break.
They were driving with a chance to go up 7-6, Martin Tobias said. That was a big swing in momentum. It gave us a 14-point lead.
It gave Mountie head coach Jeff Vroman another look at a recurring nightmare for his team this season.
Just when were about to turn the corner, we cant finish, he said. They made the most of their opportunities and we havent done that this year. We rack up the yards but we cant do anything with it. Its painful to watch.
The Mounties cut the Rams lead in half in the third quarter when they drove 70 yards. Matsko, starting at quarterback for the first time, hit Dustin Shuey for 25 yards to the Ram 15, and one play later hit Shuey again for a 12-yard TD. Nick Boumerhis kick made it 14-7 with :20 to go in the quarter.
But Penns Valley bounced right back, taking the kickoff and moving out to its own 42.
Thats where Cameron Tobias hit Luke Weaver on a simple out pattern on the left side and Weaver went 58 yards down the sideline to score at the 10:50 mark of the fourth quarter. Andrew Deardorff kicked the PAT to make it 21-7.
The next time the Rams got the ball they scored again, this time on a 44-yard drive after taking over on downs. Collison went the last 16 yards up the middle for the score. The PAT kick was no good, setting the final score.
Matsko connected on 8 of 19 passes for 93 yards in his quarterbacking debut.
I thought he did a nice job for his first time under center, Vroman said. Well add a little more to the package this week. This was something we werent able to do earlier because of physical issues.
But we just werent consistent. At times, I was impressed with our defense tonight.
"But we just havent been consistent in all phases of the game. Thats the key factor and we just dont have the consistency. Were trying to be patient. The kids know what they need to do, they just have to do it.