SPRING MILLS — The Tyrone Golden Eagles relied on an unlikely source in their 42-14 victory that put a damper on Penns Valley’s senior night, ended the Rams’ four-game winning streak and may have also dashed their slim playoff hopes.
In last week’s 14-13 loss to Clearfield, Tyrone quarterback Erik Wagner, completed just one pass for 14 yards. But, Friday night against the Rams, Wagner threw for 137 yards on 9 of 12 passing and three touchdowns.
Former Penn State University quarterback and receivers coach, Mike McQueary, paid a visit to Eagles’ practice earlier this week to visit with his former coach and give some tips to the staff and team.
“You know, it was more psychological [than anything],” Guthoff said. “Because he didn’t really do anything. I brought him down just to take a look at what we were doing.”
McQueary played for Guthoff on the State College Little Lions.
“I joked around with him and told him he was more quality control than anything,” Guthoff said.
With Penns Valley’s focus on shutting down the Eagle’s prolific rushing attack, the Tyrone passing game needed to be effective.
“We really were geared up to try and stop the run,” said Rams’ head coach Martin Tobias. “And they had to go to other things because that’s what we were giving them and they took advantage of some of those things.”
The Eagles’ featured running back, James Wagner, came into the game averaging over 10 yards per rush but was stymied most of the night, accumulating just 58 yards on 11 carries. That kind of defensive performance, the Rams thought, would give them a great chance to win.
“It stinks,” said Rams’ senior running back and defensive lineman Dom Hook. “Losing always stinks it doesn’t matter who you lose to but losing to a team you know you had a shot to win against is even worse.”
The Rams were aggressive early, forcing Tyrone to punt on their first possession after Oliver was stacked up at the line of scrimmage on a third and short.
On their ensuing possession, Penns Valley quarterback Cameron Tobias rumbled for a 40-yard gain down the left sideline. The drive stalled but the Rams’ continued to put pressure on Tyrone.
Rams’ linebacker, Wyatt Sharp, recovered a Wagner fumble, stopping the Eagles’ next drive with just a few minutes remaining in the first quarter. It was a play that could have given the Rams momentum, but their next drive lasted just four plays and lost four yards.
From there Tyrone dominated, scoring on their next five possessions, including a 65 yard touchdown pass from Wagner to a streaking Charles Wilson-Adams with just 12 seconds left in the half that gave Tyrone a 22-0 halftime lead.
“That was the back breaker,” Tobias said. “You come in 15-0 nothing and we’re getting the ball to start the second half, you’re thinking you can keep it close but they beat us over the top. It happens”
Wagner’s’ last touchdown pass to Hayden Zook gave the Eagles a 36-0 lead and triggered the running-clock “mercy rule,” with around six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Cameron Tobias and Taylor Collison scored rushing touchdowns for late, but the game had already slipped away from Penns Valley, and their playoff chances might have followed.
The top eight teams in the conference make the playoffs and the Rams entered the contest tied for ninth. But earlier this week Tobias said it was nice to be in the playoff conversation because wins the last few seasons have been scarce. But he’s not ready to give up yet.
“We have a chance to finish this season off on a nice note,” Tobias said. “We told the kids we’re fortunate because we have another week. We get to go out and put on one more performance and…let’s give ourselves the opportunity to get one more win and maybe slide on in.”