When Tyrone invaded Alumni Stadium for its annual battle with Bald Eagle Area on Friday night, it was a matchup of two teams headed in opposite directions.
After splitting their first two games, the Eagles had dropped three in a row while on the other side of the field, the Golden Eagles, after a couple of narrow wins over Bellwood-Antis (18-14) and Central (20-13), had ambushed Huntingdon (52-21), Philipsburg-Osceola (42-3) and Bellefonte (47-7).
After 48 minutes of Mountain League football, those trends continued as the Golden Eagles overwhelmed the Eagles 42-6 to extend its unbeaten mark to 6-0.
“They are just a strong football team all over. They really have no weak areas,” said BEA head coach Ron Hoover of Tyrone. “We watched and broke down three tapes, and they are just sound in all aspects of the game and they are also very athletic.”
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Turnovers and mistakes have been big parts of some of the BEA losses this season. However on Friday night, the Eagles only turned the ball over once but they also gave up a big special teams play that resulted in a Tyrone touchdown.
“The fumble early and not fielding the kickoff really hurt us,” Hoover said. “We can’t start our offense inside our 10-yard line, especially against a good team. I thought we did much better on focus and concentration in cleaning up our penalties and with the exception of the one handoff, we held on to the ball much better. We made some improvements, but unfortunately, they weren’t good enough to beat a team like Tyrone.”
Despite the inability to get anything going offensively, the Eagles did show some gutsy play by putting pressure on quarterback Garrett Hunter early in the game.
“Early in the game, I thought we slugged (it out) with them pretty good,” said Hoover. “We were right with them until that one big mistake that changed the momentum. Once they had that lead (21-0), they didn’t have to worry about throwing the ball with the exception of that quick stuff.”
Already up 21-0, the Golden Eagles put together a nifty two-minute drill that resulted in a touchdown with a mere 14 seconds left before halftime.
“That always hurts,” said Hoover about the late touchdown just before halftime. “Not just the scoring, but it really hurts in the momentum of the game. You know you have the ball coming out (for the second half) and what they did was nothing fancy. We knew they were going to send verticals down the field on us and we practiced against that all week. We didn’t get any kind of shot on that guy going down the field and he caught the ball right in stride.”
With only the final score to be determined, the Eagles put together a nice drive for their only score, a march that covered 57 yards on seven plays culminated by a two-yard TD toss from quarterback Jason Jones to wideout Cody Scholl.
“We haven’t been effective on offense for most of the season,” said Hoover. “The fumbles and penalties have killed us for the most part. We needed some momentum and the kids got that with the score. I told them it didn’t matter if Tyrone had some of their “twos” mixed in with their “ones”, it was just a good feeling to see them do that. Even though the game was out of hand, it provided an upbeat moment for our kids.”
Now 1-5, it doesn’t get any easier for the Eagles, who face Huntingdon, Clearfield and Jersey Shore before closing out the season with a battle against backyard rival Bellefonte.
“I told people in the preseason that there is no easy week on the schedule,” said Hoover. “You can’t look on the schedule and say that this is a win and that is a win because there are none of those on the schedule. There is good football played in this area so you are going to face good teams every week. There are no easy games.”