There were a lot of firsts on the new turf field at Philipsburg-Osceola on Saturday.
There was the first pass, thrown by St. Joseph’s quarterback Brendan Robinson.
There was the first run, by Robinson.
There was the first touchdown scored, by P-O’s Brandon Anderson.
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But most importantly, there was the first win, by P-O, 34-14 which was doubly significant because it also snapped a burdensome 36-game losing streak.
And when it was all over, the P-O cheerleaders danced in a circle around the assembled Mounties to the Notre Dame fight song.
It was a perfect way to cap the festive atmosphere as a large crowd turned out to inaugurate the new turf, which will be the future home of P-O football.
“Words can’t describe it,” said Mountie senior running back Levi Hughes. “It seems unbelievable. I couldn’t be prouder of my team. We spent all summer working out, lifting weights. This has been an awesome year.
“People were expecting us to lose. But to win the first game on the new field, it’s the start of a new era in Mountie football.”
Anderson started the new era off right when he scored from 15 yards out on the last play of the first quarter and Keegan Soltis booted the PAT.
The Mounties went on a 74-yard march the first time they touched the ball in the second period. The big play in the drive was a 52-yard pass play from Dan Slogosky to Nick Keith that put the ball on the St. Joe’s 4. Matt Johnson scored on the next play and Soltis kicked the PAT at the 8:28 mark.
The Mounties put together a 12-play, 56-yard drive for their next score with Hughes taking it in from the 1 with 53 seconds left in the half. Soltis made it 21-0.
The third period was scoreless but the points started flying in the fourth as the Wolves got a touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Robinson to Jake Stormer on the first play of the quarter and Jared Stormer kicked the PAT with 11:52 showing on the clock.
P-O answered with a 53-yard drive that ended with Slogosky hitting Anderson from 12 yards out with 8:48 to go.
Then it was the Wolves’ turn as they went 90 yards, mainly on the strength of Robinson’s arm as he hooked up with Jake Stormer for 55 yards to move the ball from his own 7 to the P-O 38. Five plays later, Robinson found Jared Stormer in the end zone for a touchdown from the 6 and Stormer kicked the PAT.
And again P-O answered, with Hughes finishing off a 65-yard drive by scoring from the 2. The PAT try was no good, setting the final score with 3:05 to go and putting the crowd in celebration mode.
“I’m glad they ended that streak, I’m just sorry it was against us,” said Wolves coach Steve Guthoff, who once coached at P-O. “I’m glad they broke it. They play in such a tough conference. I don’t like saying it, but we’re a step down in competition for them. Last week they were playing Clearfield and today they had us.
“But I told our guys to be ready because this was going to be a heck of a tough game. They earned everything they got today. We didn’t give them anything. They played a very, very good game against us. They’ve got this beautiful new field, it was a beautiful day, everything was in their favor to do it (break the streak).”
Mountie coach Mike Mann wore the grin of a winning coach for the first time as fans and players milled around the field.
“This is big, I can’t describe it,” he said. “This is great for the kids They put it all out there on the field. They deserved this win.”