PHILIPSBURG — The Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties fought tooth and nail for the first three quarters against the Chestnut Ridge Lions, but big plays doomed the Mounties in the fourth quarter as the Lions scored 21 unanswered points to defeat the Mounties 24-7 on Friday.
Chestnut Ridge’s Matt Wiley busted off three touchdown runs within a five-minute span that put the game away for the Lions.
“They came up with the big plays and we didn’t,” P-O coach Jeff Vroman said. “In the first half we moved the ball pretty well. In the second half I thought we struggled at times. I didn’t think we sustained the blocks like we did in the first half.”
The Mounties came out firing on their opening possession, picking up five first downs on the drive. But penalties also plagued Philipsburg-Osceola, as they picked up three false start penalties that set the Mounties back.
“We had too many costly five-yard penalties,” Vroman said. “That really shot us in the foot.”
Even with the penalties, Philipsburg-Osceola was able to get to the Lions’ 25-yard line before a pass by quarterback Curtis Matsko was intercepted by Lions cornerback Braden Hengst after it went off the hands of Mountie receiver Aaron Mason.
“You can’t have a catchable football turn into an interception on the first drive,” Vroman said.
Chestnut Ridge couldn’t get anything going on its first few possessions as the Lions traded three-and-outs with the Mounties.
With five minutes left in the second quarter, P-O got excellent field position thanks to a punt return by Tanner Lamb up to the Chestnut Ridge 37-yard line.
Five plays later on third-and-one from the 16-yard line, Matsko took a quarterback keeper and bowled over defenders for the game’s first score with 2:36 left in the half. Nick Boumerhi’s extra point gave the Mounties a 7-0 lead.
Chestnut Ridge was able to respond with a 34-yard completion from quarterback Jake Bowser to Trent Crouse that got the ball into Mounties territory. The Lions stalled out at the Mounties 17-yard line, but kicker Sean VanMeter was able to connect on a 34-yard field goal with 46.6 seconds left in the half, giving the Mounties a 7-3 halftime lead.
The score stayed 7-3 until midway through the fourth quarter.
That’s when Wiley took over for the Lions, scoring his first touchdown from 38 yards out with 6:39 left in the game. After a three-and-out by Philipsburg-Osceola, Chestnut Ridge only took another three plays before Wiley went virtually untouched up the middle for a 59-yard score with 3:49 left.
“I thought they were more aggressive than we were in parts of the third and fourth quarter,” said Vroman.
Yet another stall by the Mounties turned into Wiley’s third touchdown, this time coming from 13 yards out with only 1:53 left. VanMeter’s extra point set the final at 24-7.
Vroman was pleased with his defense for the first three quarters.
“We hung in there,” said Vroman. “We have to make plays, though. That’s what it comes down to.”
The Lions (3-2) host St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy on Friday.
Philipsburg-Osceola fell to 1-4 on the season and travels to Penns Valley on Friday.