TYRONE - The 2010 edition of Blair County's high school football Backyard Brawl didn't turn out to be much of a fight.
After relinquishing the "Brawl" trophy to neighboring archrival Bellwood-Antis last fall, Tyrone reclaimed it with a vengeance in the season opener at Gray-Veterans' Memorial Field Friday night.
Junior quarterback Steve Franco completed 11 of 15 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, and junior wideout Nick Patton caught the three scoring passes among his seven receptions for 164 yards, as Tyrone rolled to a 36-0 halftime lead en route to a 36-13 victory.
"I was pleased with our passing game,'' Tyrone coach John Franco said. "Our passing game opened up our running game, and our offense really clicked pretty well.''
Both John Franco and Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes credited Tyrone's offensive line - tackles Jared Templeton and Walter Russell, guards Courtland Pannebaker and Kyle Ripka, center Maverick Mills, and tight end Ian Murray - for that.
"They did a great job running [pass] patterns, and they had lots of time to throw the ball,'' Hayes said. "It's hard to defend against [Tyrone's] speed when they have that much time to throw the football.''
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Tyrone’s Nick Patton races past B-A’s Travis Taylor for one of his three TDs.
Patton, a sprinting star on Tyrone's track and field team, showed off his speed and dexterity in space throughout the entire first half. He grabbed a 26-yard Steve Franco scoring pass across the middle of the field on Tyrone's first offensive possession, polishing off the Golden Eagles' 55-yard, 12-play scoring drive.
Patton also caught a 23-yard Franco scoring pass with 20 seconds left in the first half, but his 58-yard run-and-catch for a touchdown with 6:43 remaining in the second quarter was the most shining example of why this was going to be all Tyrone's night.
A Bellwood-Antis defender had position on the play, but Patton wrestled the ball out of his opponent's hands near the B-A 25 and proceeded to race untouched to the end zone, giving the Golden Eagles a 27-0 lead.
"We both pretty much caught it at the same time, but I was able to get a better grip on it, and rip it out,'' Patton said. "I was just lucky.''
Luck had nothing to do with Tyrone's second touchdown of the game, an 80-yard punt return by 5-foot-4, 125-pound senior Derrick Emigh with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter. Emigh picked up a good block from a teammate in the middle of the field, cut to the left, and was off to the races, giving Tyrone a 13-0 lead.
"The blockers did an outstanding job,'' Emigh said. "Without them, I wouldn't have been able to turn it.''
Tyrone, which also got a 1-yard touchdown burst from Christian Getz in the second quarter and a 26-yard field goal from Templeton in the second quarter, had the luxury of getting its reserve players plenty of field time in the second half.
Bellwood, which was limited to just 34 total first-half yards, scored both of its touchdowns in the second half.
Anthony DeGol returned a Tyrone punt 90 yards for the first score as time elapsed in the third quarter. Fullback Tyler Beech accounted for Bellwood's second score with a 3-yard run with 1:38 remaining in the game.
"Our offensive and defensive lines set the tone tonight,'' John Franco said. "We played really hard.''
Emigh seconded that notion.
"A lot of people doubted us [going into this year],'' he said. "But we worked our tails off, and we wanted this game really bad.''
Game notes: Tyrone, which got an interception from linebacker Corbin Nevling-Ray, hosts Lewistown next Friday night, while Bellwood-Antis hosts Everett ... The Golden Eagles' win last night gives Tyrone a 50-26-1 lead in its all-time football series with Bellwood. The series began back in 1934, and the schools have played continually since 1939.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis0 0 7 6 - 13
Tyrone13 23 0 0 - 36
T-Patton 26 pass from Franco (kick failed), 5:04.
T-Emigh 80 punt return (Templeton kick), 2:43.
T-Getz 1 run (Templeton kick), 8:44.
T-Patton 58 pass from Franco (Templeton kick), 6:43.
T-Templeton 26 FG, 4:44.
T-Patton 23 pass from Franco (kick failed), :20.
BA-DeGol 90 punt return (Shaw kick), 0:00.
BA-Beech 3 run (kick failed), 1:38.
RUSHING: Bellwood-Antis-Taylor 11-37, Beech 7-23, Evans 3-9, DeGol 1-2, Noye 1-(-4). Tyrone-Getz 15-42, Wilson 3-16, Burke 5-10, Gearhart 2-11, Romano 3-7, Franco 3-3, Snyder 1-2.
PASSING: Bellwood-Antis-Evans 4-13-1-49. Tyrone-Franco 11-15-0-228.
RECEIVING: Bellwood-Antis-Minori 2-31, Denny 1-14, Noye 1-4. Tyrone-Patton 7-164, Getz 2-45, Emigh 1-12, Romano 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS: Tyrone 1-Nevling-Ray.