PHILIPSBURG — The Philipsburg-Osceola football team finished their season on Friday night much the way it began, with a loss.
The Mounties (1-9) hung with Forest Hills for the entire first half, but three second half touchdowns from the Rangers sent P-O to a 34-7 defeat.
“They make plays,” Mounties head coach Jeff Vroman said of Forest Hills. “They have playmakers, and I thought that was a huge difference in the ballgame in the second half. Their kids made some plays, and we struggled there at times.
“We had some untimely penalties and whatnot. But, when you play a team with some athletes, that’s what you have, and it’s tough.”
The Rangers scored two first-quarter touchdowns on a 1-yard run from quarterback Joe Donoughe and a 12-pass from Donoughe to Evan Deflauro, and looked to go up big.
But an injury to Donoughe and starting running back Jared Krug slowed Forest Hills down, allowing P-O chance to even things up.
The Mounties struggled on its first four offensive possessions, including a fumble on their second play from scrimmage.
But P-O started moving the ball with short pass plays in the second quarter.
The Mounties moved from their own 24 down to the Forest Hills 44, before getting stymied on a fourth-and-8. Matkso threw the ball up to Aaron Mason, who was brought down by a Forest Hills defender and a flag was thrown.
The pass interference penalty gave Philipsburg-Osceola a first down, which it used to keep its drive alive.
Mason Pryde took in a 4-yard score to cut the Rangers’ lead to 14-7.
Pryde finished the game with a team-high 38 yards on 13 carries.
Neither team could get back on the board before halftime, as the Rangers’ drive stalled at the PO 15 with 13 seconds left.
P-O was plagued by penalties in the second half, racking up two illegal procedures that almost stopped a drive in Forest Hills territory.
The Mounties ended up turning the ball over on downs, and Forest Hills needed just three plays to punch in another touchdown, this time a 35-yard run from Shareef Blough.
“Whenever we would get something going, we’d shoot ourselves in the foot,” said Vroman. “That happens. We had to rebound from them and we didn’t.
“The one play we had down here, they didn’t know what we ran. But you still have to make plays, and we didn’t.”
The Rangers put the game away with two big plays in the fourth quarter, as Blough scored on a 28-yard run. Two plays later, he picked off a Caleb Belinda pass and took it back 75 yards for the touchdown. Jeff Leach added two PATs to set the final at 34-7.
“They played hard,” Vroman said of his kids. “You can’t fault effort. We have to take experiences from high school football and now use them in life. That’s the bottom line.
“We said a lot of things there and, hopefully, they take. That’s where we are at right now. Hopefully, they can grow from this experience.”
Dustin Shuey finished with seven catches for 40 yards, while Curtis Matsko completed 12 of his 24 passes for 56 yards.
Forest Hills improved to 6-4 and awaits news of its place in the District 6 Class AA playoffs.