ROARING SPRING - Jared Templeton, Tyrone's outstanding two-way tackle and place-kicker, is lucky to be playing football this season.
"I blew my knee out [at a summer camp] and tore both my ACL and MCL, but I found a great therapy and it's a miracle that I can play," said Templeton, who opened the door for Christian Getz's 4-yard touchdown run and then kicked the game-winning extra point with 38 seconds remaining as Tyrone rallied past Central, 21-20, before a standing-room-only crowd Friday night at the Roaring Spring Athletic Field.
Despite the summer injury, the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Templeton did not require surgery and has not missed any playing time this fall. Needless to say, coach John Franco is happy about that.
Tyrone coach John Franco discusses his team's 21-20 win over Central
"I thought Jared and Walter Russell did a good job [on that last drive]," Franco said. "We kind of alternated them, but we were going behind Jared the last couple times. He's our best."
Central had taken a 20-14 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 49-yard pass-run play from Lucas Runk to Adam Kreider, but Tyrone was equal to the challenge.
A 15-yard punt return by Derrick Emigh set up the Eagles at the Central 32 with 3:19 remaining.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Tyrone’s Steve Franco dives for yardage as Central’s Trent Forshey (30) and Ben Leberfinger (51) make the tackle.
"All we had to do was stay calm, play our game, and finish out the drive," Templeton said.
And, they did.
Six running plays by Getz and a key fourth down pass from Steve Franco to Getz put the ball in the end zone with 38 seconds remaining.
Templeton split the uprights with the extra point and the unbeaten, state-ranked Eagles had their fifth victory.
"There was no pressure," Templeton said. "I've kicked hundreds of extra points. All I had to do was keep my head down and kick through it."
Running from a spread formation, Central scored on its first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead. Runk scored on a 2-yard run, then hit Jarron Knisely, who made a one-handed circus catch for an 8-yard score.
After correcting what John Franco called "technique mistakes," the Tyrone defense settled down, stopped the Dragons' offense and pulled to within 14-7 at the half on a 1-yard burst by Getz. A 56-yard strike from Steve Franco to Getz set up the TD.
Steve Franco's arm helped Tyrone tie the score in the third quarter. The Tyrone QB connected with Nick Patton for 35 yards before teaming with Emigh on a 30-yard pass-run for the equalizer.
The Runk-to-Kreider TD put Central ahead, 20-14, early in the fourth and the Dragons dodged a bullet when the Eagles fumbled at the hosts'4 with 5:31 left. However, Tyrone forced a 3-and-out and Emigh's return put them in position for the game-winning drive.
"That's what we do," John Franco said of Tyrone's final drive. That's our foundation [running game] and what we're gonna stick to it.
"It was just a great game," he said. "Both teams battled to the end and it's a shame anybody had to lose this one."
It was another disappointment for Central coach A.J. Hoenstine, whose Dragons fell to 1-4 with the Mountain League Nittany Division loss.
"We're getting after it," Hoenstine said. "Especially our seniors who are playing with their hearts because some of them are pretty beat up.
"It's 1-4 and you could say we could be 4-1," he said, "but we're not and we're going to deal with it.
"We're just a couple of plays away," Hoenstine said, "but we're probably going to have to run the table to hope to get to the playoffs."
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tyrone0 7 7 7 - 21
Central14 0 0 6 - 20
C-Runk 2 run (Kick failed), 8:25.
C-Knisely 8 pass from Runk (Keefer pass from Knisely), 3:16.
T-Getz 1 run (Templeton kick), 6:51.
T-Emigh 30 pass from Franco (Templeton kick), 2:59.
C-Kreider 49 pass from Runk (run failed), 10:31.
T-Getz 4 run (Templeton kick), :38.
RUSHING: Tyrone-Getz 21-81, Dorminy 4-13, Patton 1-(-9), Franco 5 (-17). Central-Runk 17-59, Blattenberger 8-27, Kreider 1-20, Knisely 2-9, Keefer 2-3, TEAM 1-(-1).
PASSING: Tyrone-Franco 12-17-0-194. Central-Runk 7-11-0-94, Nothstein 3-4-0-22.
RECEIVING: Tyrone-Getz 3-73, Patton 3-60, Emigh 3-57, Murray 1-5, Dorminy 2-0. Central-Kreider 4-64, Keefer 2-26, Knisely 2-18, Runk 1-15, Blattenberger 1-5.