Philipsburg-Osceola football coach Brian McGonigal could only shake his head at the misfortune that has befallen his team.
“We’re whittled down to nothing, “ he said.
He’s not far from being wrong.
The Mounties went into Friday night’s game with Central without two starters due to injury —quarterback Ryan Whitehead (ankle) and lineman David Weaver (Abdomen) — and two more, two-way back Chase Chapman and quarterback-safety Keith Hahn due to suspensions.
And by halftime two more starters were gone — wide receiver Hunter Weitoish and lineman Garrett Bloom.
“I’m wondering if this field isn’t built on some ancient burial ground,” McGonigal said.
It’s certainly not built on a pile of horseshoes Even Central coach Dave Baker could empathize with P-O’s situation.
“We knew they were struggling,” he said after his team‘s 49-7 mercy rule rout. “We didn’t realize they were struggling this much.”
Part of P-O’s problem was a familiar one. In their loss to Bald Eagle Area in the second game of this season, the Mounties gave up three touchdowns on fourth down plays. Against the Dragons, they gave up four more scores on fourth down, including a 30-yard TD pass on fourth-and-25.
“We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” McGonigal said. “We can’t keep having that happen.”
Central struck for a pair of scores in the first quarter when Jeff Hoenstine capped a drive by going in from the 1 with 5:43 left in the quarter.
Before the quarter was over, Braden Kitt, who scored three times in the game, scored from the 4 with 2:15 still on the clock. Central blew the game open in the third quarter with three scores to invoke the mercy rule. On fourth and five, Hoenstine found Kitt for an 18-yard score. And on the next possession, on a fourth-and-25 call, it was that same combo again, this time from 30 yards out with 5:23 left in the half.
Before the half was over, the Dragons scored again as Hoenstine hit Demetrious Harbaugh from 48 yards out with only :23 left in the half. Austin Keith’s PAT made it 35-0.
“Our secondary is just not aggressive,” McGonigal said. ”They don’t high-point the ball. They wait for the receiver to catch it.”
Central got another score in the third quarter when Hoenstine, who threw for four scores, connected with hit Hunter Klotz from 13-yards out with 4:16 still to go in the quarter.
P-O answered that with a 10-yard TD run from Jeremy Whitehead, and Aaron Park kicked the PAT with :26 left in the quarter.”
Jeremy’s a good athlete and he played well,” McGonigal said. “This was his first game where he knew he was going to play the whole game. It was his first chance to get his feet under him.”
“He’s dangerous,” Baker said of Whitehead.
Central got its final TD when Parker Gregg broke loose for a 60-yard score just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter to finish the scoring. Kaleb Stamm gained 46 rushing to lead the Mounties on the ground.
“Kaleb played with a badly hurt hand,” McGonigal said. ”We were just going to play him at linebacker but he said he wanted to go. He played with a lot of heart.”
Central 49, P-O 7
(Friday at Philipsburg)
Central 14 21 7 7 49
P-O 0 0 7 0 7
C — Hoenstine, 1-yd run; Keith (kick)5:43
C — Kitt, 4-yd run; Keith (kick), 2:15
C — Kitt, 13-yd pass from Hoenstine; Keith (kick), 10:57
C — Kitt, 30-yd pass from Hoenstine; Keith (kick) 5:23
C — Harbaugh, 48-yd pass from Hoenstine; Keith (kick)
C — Klotz, 13-yd pass from Hoestine; Keith (kick), 4:16
P — Whitehead, 10-yd run; Park (kick), :26
C — Gregg , 60 yd run; Keith (kick), 11:40
1st downs: 12 11; Total yds: 451 160; Rush/Yards: 172 121; Yards passing: 279 39; Comp/Att/Int: 23-15-0 11-5-2; Punts/Avg: 2-37 3-30; Fumbles/lost: 0-0 2-2; Penalties/yards: 9-65 1-10
Rushing: C — Gregg, 8-94, Smith, 7-23, Kitt, 3-23, Hoenstine, 3-8, Rhule, 1-14, Bettwy, 2-12, Weaver, 1- (Minus) 2; P-O — Stamm, 8-46, Whiteheead, 13-43, Hofe, 8-27, Martin, 2-5
Passing: C — Kitt, 11-6-109, Hoenstine, 12-9-170; P-O — Whitehead 7-3-30, Hofe, 4-2-17.
Receiving: C — Hoenstine, 5-60, Eicher, 2-2-41, Klotz, 2-23, Beisinger, 1-11, Gregg, 1-17, Kitt, 2-48, Harbaugh, 2-63; P-O, Stamm, 1-6, Martin, 1-6, Depto, 2-36, Webster, 1-11.
Records: Central 3-3, P-O 1-5.
Next: North Penn Mansfield at P-O Friday; Bishop Carroll at Central Friday.