HOLLIDAYSBURG - Coming off two straight losses in which the Hollidaysburg football team did not score a point, Tigers coach John Barton was not thinking about the past as much as he was thinking about the pass going into Friday night's matchup with Derry.
"We wanted to throw the ball better and I saw that it was better than it had been," said Barton following his club's 49-16 victory over the Derry Trojans on alumni night at Tiger Stadium. "We went into this with a mindset of we need to throw. Whether it was good, bad or ugly, we were going to throw. The only way we are going to get where we want to go, we have to be able to throw in these kind of situations."
Tigers quarterback Brian Urban was efficient, completing 9 of 17 passes for 136 yards, a touchdown, and more importantly, no picks. The team's first score was a 72-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kaleb Springer on the second drive of the game. Eric Miller kicked the first of seven PATs for a 7-0 advantage.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Hollidaysburg’s Eli Hargis is tackled by Josh Wannamaker.
"It was meant for us to get a first down," said Barton of the third-and-8 play. "That was [Springer] making a play."
Urban, who rushed for 125 yards on 12 carries and three scores, had nothing but praise for his offensive line.
"They really opened things up for me ... you really can't give them enough credit," Urban said of Reid Brinkhoff, Matt Barton, Zach Simpson, Pat Ollinger and Eric Grassmyer. "It was a team effort but they led it every step of the way."
Touchdown runs by Brian Dinges and Reid Miller in the second quarter helped the Tigers (3-2) build a 28-0 lead. However, the Trojans (1-4) scored 10 points in the final 2:37 of the first half to make it interesting at the break.
"We didn't play well in the first quarter. We gave up too many big plays on defense," Derry coach Al Gaiardo said. "We played well in parts of the second and in the third quarter, but our kids have to learn that you have do that for 48 minutes, not half a game."
Derry got a 37-yard field goal from Tyler Matusak, a Division I kicker who has received interest from Virginia, Maryland and Pitt, and a 41-yard touchdown pass from Robbie Hebenthal to Matusak.
Urban admitted that Derry "caught the Tigers off guard."
"But we were confident that if we just executed the way we were capable of, we would do good things," he said.
The Tigers were held in check in the third quarter until Urban broke through on a 34-yard touchdown run to make it 35-10 late in the quarter. Another Urban touchdown early in the fourth put the Tigers up 42-16, but Hebenthal came back with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Josh Wannamaker with 8:25 to go in the game to make it 42-16.
The Trojans threw the ball 29 times in a game in which they were held to 28 yards rushing on 34 carries.
"Because of a number of injuries, last week we started two sophomores and a freshman on the offensive line," Gaiardo said. "Hopefully, we will be able to run the ball better and not have to throw it 30 to 40 times a game."
The Tigers' final score came on defense when Hebenthal was sacked on a third-and-13 play, fumbled the ball, and then watched as Simpson, the Tigers' defensive tackle, scooped up the ball and rumbled 44 yards for a touchdown.
"That is one of those things every lineman dreams of. I was very happy for him. He's a great kid," Barton said.
Game notes: Derry turned the ball over four times to just one by the Tigers. ... Honored on Alumni Night were former football players Matt Cobler, Scott Harrington, Joe Irvin, Troy Gardner, Ron Walters, Brian Schmitt, Tim Clapper, B.J. Fahr, Mark Walter, Bert Criste, Scott Ritchey, Dave Heim Jr. and athletic director Dean Rossi. ... The Tigers host Hampton next Friday night on Homecoming.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Derry0 10 0 6 - 16
Hollidaysburg14 14 7 14 - 49
H-Springer 72 pass from Urban (E. Miller kick), 5:46
H-Urban 13 run (E. Miller kick), 1:56
H-Dinges 18 run (E. Miller kick), 10:48
H-R. Miller 6 run (E. Miller kick), 6:14
D-Matusak 37 FG, 2:37
D-Matusak 41 pass from Hebenthal (Matusak kick), :03
H-Urban 34 run (E. Miller kick), 1:59
H-Urban 6 run (E. Miller kick) 10:42
D-Wannamaker 42 pass from Hebenthal (pass failed), 8:25
H-Simpson 44 fumble return (E. Miller kick), 6:47
RUSHING: Derry-Wannamaker 7-6, Dorazio 5-0, Hebenthal 10-(-8), Balega 3-2, Stevens 1-3, Flack 7-25, Chinchock 1-0. Hollidaysburg-R. Miller 8-55, Urban 12-125, Dinges 7-26, Brunner 3-4, Hargis 2-16, Parnell 1-(-2), Weaver 1-8, Crawford 1-44, TEAM 1-(-1).
PASSING: Derry-Hebenthal 10-24-1-155, Wannamaker 3-5-1-31. Hollidaysburg-Urban 9-17-0-136.
RECEIVING: Derry-Matusak 2-54, Brezo 4-27, Elmer 1-12, Clayton 1-6, Balega 1-9, Wannamaker 4-78. Hollidaysburg-Springer 3-106, R. Miller 3-12, Davis 3-18.
INTERCEPTIONS: Hollidaysburg-Fleck, Ventura.