Philipsburg-Osceola put together a nice balanced offensive attack on Friday night against host Line Mountain.
But an even more potent attack by Eagles running back Cory Warford proved to be the Mounties downfall as Line Mountain went on to win 37-27.
Warford rushed for 198 yards on 18 carries and scored three offensive touchdowns. Warford also returned an interception for a score.
“We told the kids if we didn’t tackle Warford he would cause problems and he did,” said P-O coach Jeff Vroman. “He ran hard, and we let him attack us. They didn’t hurt us with the pass. But, we knew if we didn’t tackle him it was going to end up being a long night and that’s what it was.”
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The Eagles scored first, driving straight down the field on their first possession. The drive was capped off by a 43-yard pass from Ryan Reed to Justin Michael. The extra point was blocked.
P-O answered with a score of its own, as quarterback Curtis Matsko ran in a 1-yard keeper. A Nick Boumerhi kick gave P-O a 7-6 lead with 3:05 to go in the first quarter.
Matsko finished the game with 96 yards on 18 carries.
Line Mountain scored at the start of the second quarter as Warford took in a 5-yard run. The conversion attempt failed, putting the score at 12-7.
The Mounties looked to move down the field again, but on a third-and-long from their own 5, Matsko was picked off and Warford ran it back 14 yards for a touchdown as the the Eagles took an 18-7 lead with 10:15 to play. Line Mountain scored once more before halftime on a 7-yard run from Hunter Hojnacki. The pass failed and P-O found itself trailing 24-7 before the half.
The Mounties did manage to get on the scoreboard before the buzzer, as Boumerhi booted a 42-yard field goal. P-O almost scored again, but Matsko was picked off in the end zone after a pass intended for Tanner Lamb was tipped.
“I thought our offense line played pretty well,” Vroman said. “I thought they did a nice job. Our backs had some nice runs. Curtis did a nice job back there at quarterback. We missed some open receivers that we would’ve like to hit, but we have to work on that.
“Overall from a offensive standpoint, I was pretty happy with our effort. You’d like to stay away from turnovers and that one before halftime hurt on the tipped pass. We didn’t get a field goal out of that, which could have made this more interesting at the end.”
Warford scored twice more in the second half, but the momentum seemed to be in the Mounties’ favor.
P-O was moving the ball well and scored on a 28-yard pass from Matsko to Nick Patrick that set the final at 37-27. Matsko completed 11 of his 19 passes for 154 yards.
Aaron Mason was the Mounties’ leading receiver with five receptions for 88 yards.
“We got to get better,” said Vroman. “We have improved. I saw a lot from our kids (tonight). I know they are upset and they want to win, but Line Mountain is a pretty good football team and with a kid like (Warford) you have to stop him before he gets going. We didn’t do that. It’s something we have to improve on.”
Philipsburg-Osceola returns to action next week, traveling to Bald Eagle Area.