It was time for the Penns Valley Rams to open up the offense.
Through the ground or the air, it didn’t matter — just get the ball moving.
“It was a case of taking what we had,” coach Martin Tobias said. “We try to stay balanced in what we do. ... It was by design to attack the defense with what we thought would work.”
There were no complaints Friday night in a decisive 48-24 Homecoming win over Philipsburg-Osceola.
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After senior Justin Sands and sophomore Aaron Tobias had shared time at quarterback through the season’s first five weeks, Tobias got the keys to the offense for the entire night. He was 16 of 25 for 187 yards and three touchdowns.
That accompanied a 244-yard effort by the team on the ground, led by Ryan Ripka’s 23 carries for 115 yards and a score, giving the team 431 total yards of offense.
“It felt great to have the offense moving like that,” Aaron Tobias said. “It was crazy awesome.”
The balance was a surprise to the Mounties.
“We mainly focused on their run all week in practice,” P-O coach Mike Mann said. “We knew they had a decent back and quarterback, but we weren’t expecting the passing like they did. They somewhat surprised us with the passing they had tonight.”
The sophomore signal-caller had two hot targets, with Cole Breon grabbing nine passes for 119 yards and a 25-yard touchdown and Nic Kubalak adding six receptions for 65 yards and a 30-yard score.
“We knew their defense plays off a lot,” Aaron Tobias said. “So we said, ‘Hit the quick stuff. Get the easy stuff, then the deep stuff will open up.’ The line did a great job blocking and our receivers got open.”
Breon also helped on the other side of the ball with a pair of first-half interceptions, the second setting up a touchdown.
“That gave us a big boost to get out on offense and score those touchdowns,” Breon said.
Daniel Slogosky was 12 of 23 passing for 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Mounties (1-5), who lost their fifth straight. Brandon Anderson scored a touchdown on the ground and Slogosky had aerial connections to Matt Johnson and Josh Hubler.
The biggest score for P-O came in the final minute of the first half, when Anderson ran up the middle for a 24-8 deficit at halftime.
But the Rams marched down the field in just over three minutes to begin the second half, capped by Ripka’s 16-yard run, and the game was all but decided.
“We thought we could build on that and score a little bit more,” Mann said. “It didn’t work that way. It was just the same old thing: missed tackles, no blocking up front, things like that, the same fundamental things we have to work on week after week.”
Sands scored from the 1 for the game’s first score before Tobias hit TD strikes to Breon and Kubalak. Logan Snyder snared a three-yard scoring pass in the third quarter, and Trent Heckman took over in the Ram backfield in the second half for 64 yards and a nine-yard score.
The other Penns Valley defensive highlight was turned in by Sands, along with Sean McGowan, when they stuffed Keagan Perks in the end zone for a safety.
It delivered an enjoyable night for the Rams, and a chance to ring their victory bell for the first time since the season opener.
“It was a good week of practice,” Martin Tobias said, “and it was good to see the result for the kids.”