The weather on Friday night wasn’t very passer-friendly, so one would think running would be key.
That couldn’t have been proven more right when Tyrone shut out Bellefonte 42-0 at Rogers Stadium on Senior night.
“We knew the running game was going to be tough,” Golden Eagles coach Jason Wilson said, “because they (Bellefonte) are big up front and aggressive at the linebackers. Bellefonte is a decent team.”
The Eagles finished the night with 32 carries for 209 yards. They were led by Gary Weaver, who finished with 22 carries for 89 yards and three rushing scores.
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Weaver tallied all of his scores in the second quarter. The first came with 8:07 in the quarter on a two-yard run, which were the first points of the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tyrone had a pooch kick that landed in front of a few Red Raiders. The Golden Eagles’ Michael Lewis pounced on the free ball and they were back in business.
“The crazy part was we repped it and repped it throughout the week,” Bellefonte coach Shanon Manning said. “But once it happens, we are talking about teenagers, they are little unpredictable on how things go.”
Three minutes after recovering the kickoff, Weaver finished the drive with a three-yard score. On Tyrone’s defense forced a three-and-out, Parker Mitchell, who also saw the end zone three times, took an end around for 60 yards and a score.
Weaver then helped out on defense. On Bellefonte’s next possession, he intercepted a Mark Armstrong pass and returned it to the Red Raiders’ two-yard line. On the first play of the possession, Weaver tallied his final score of the night with 1:44 remaining in the half to put the Golden Eagles ahead 27-0.
Tyrone opened the second half with the ball and went back to the ground game.
“The main thing was we just tried sticking with the running game,” Wilson said, “and continue trying to establish it. We ended up just chipping away and in the third we really chipped away.”
And chipping away they did.
The Golden Eagles saw an eight-minute opening drive get finished off with a 29-yard passing score from Drew Hunter to Mitchell. Hunter connected with Mitchell one other time for an 11-yard score.
“Tyrone did a nice job,” Manning said. “They excute and do what’s ask of them at a high level. They have such big play potential that you blink and its 21 points, its not seven. Some weeks you get away with that being seven and you get a chance and rebound but with them its 21.
“Our offense isn’t wired up to be down 21. It pushes us out of our comfort zone.”
Bellefonte moved the ball most of the night. The Red Raiders’ Austin Jackson finished with 75 yards on 13 carries.
Bellefonte threatened near the end of the first half. The Red Raiders started on their own 43. Armstrong opened with a 22-yard run and then connected with Tanner Helms for a 17-yard reception down to Tyrone’s eight-yard line. Bellefonte picked up a pass interference penalty on the final play of the half, so one untimed play would occur from the 4-yard line. However, Jackson got as close as the 2 and was tackled out of bounds.
Following the Golden Eagles’ eight-minute drive, the Red Raiders started at Tyrone’s 35 after a 30-yard kickoff return and an additional 15 yards on a Golden Eagles’ personal foul penalty. After a fumble on second down caused an eight-yard loss, Armstrong connected with Helms on a 15-yard pass the brought up fourth-and-two at Tyrone’s 12. However, Bellefonte was unable to convert. Manning though wasn’t upset with how it went he was encouraged.
“Offensively,” he said, “I saw some glimmers. I saw some nice execution at times it just wasn’t consistent.”