JEFFERSON HILLS - Hollidaysburg Area was making its second trip of the season to Thomas Jefferson Friday night, and the Jaguars' Zach Talley made sure it wasn't a happy return.
Talley scored on a 70-yard kickoff return and a 62-yard punt return to lead TJ's big-play blitz as the top-seeded Jaguars posted a 63-19 victory over the Golden Tigers in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs at a frosty Thomas Jefferson High School Stadium.
"That hurt," Hollidaysburg coach John Barton said. "Who'd have thought that? For us to give up two touchdowns on special teams wow. I don't think we've ever done that since I've been here. They're a really talented team."
Each of TJ's nine touchdowns on the evening was at least 25 yards.
"Both of those returns were huge for us," said Jaguars coach Bill Cherpak, whose team improved to 10-0 on the season. "It's good to move on. Whether you win by 1 or 50, it doesn't matter."
TJ, which handed Hollidaysburg a 55-0 defeat on Sept. 14, got its offense going on its first possession. Quarterback Joe Carroll capped the six-play, 60-yard drive by connecting with Jake Mascaro for a 27-yard touchdown pass. Evon Danscak added the first of his nine PAT kicks on the game to give the hosts a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
After coming up with a sack for a 10-yard loss on fourth-and-seven from its own 37 on TJ's next possession, Hollidaysburg answered.
The Tigers marched 53 yards in eight plays, converting a pair of fourth downs on the drive. Hollidaysburg got on the board when quarterback Brian Urban found Kaleb Springer in the end zone on fourth-and-4. Ryan Waltz's conversion pass failed, leaving the Tigers trailing, 7-6 with 56.4 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Talley made sure Hollidaysburg would get no closer as he returned Eric Miller's ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown.
"Hollidaysburg had a little momentum there," Cherpak said. "We were a little off, but that was a spark."
That proved to be a major spark as TJ got scoring runs from Chase Winovich (30 yards) and Luke Deanovich (25 yards) and Talley's 62-yard punt return to build a 35-6 lead at the half.
Hollidayburg's defense ended the Tigers' scoring drought when Dan Baker scooped up a fumble by Kyle Senich and rumbling in for a 7-yard touchdown.
But, the Jaguars responded with a 51-yard TD run by Byron Minous and a 41-yard scoring scamper by Deanovich to hike their lead to 49-12 at the end of three.
Jamison Opfer's 34-yard touchdown run with midway through the fourth quarter increased TJ's lead to 44 points and invoked the running clock the rest of the way.
Eli Hargis capped Hollidaysburg's scoring by breaking free on a 65-yard TD run.
Senich rounded out the scoring with a 42-yard touchdown run for the Jaguars to set the final.
The loss ended the Tigers' season at 3-7.
"When I look at this group, the thing I like about them is they stayed a team," Barton said. "They worked hard all year and never gave up. They came to TJ (last) night, and competed."
GAME NOTES: TJ will face Franklin Regional, a 44-7 winner over Elizabeth Forward last night, next Friday in the quarterfinals at a site and time to be announced The Tigers' Blake Davis and Urban each sustained right leg injuries Carroll has now thrown for 1,844 yards and 34 touchdowns this season. He has been picked off only three times.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Thomas Jefferson14211414- 63
TJ Jake Mascaro 27 pass from Joe Carroll (Evon Danscak kick), 7:22.
H Kaleb Springer 4 pass from Brian Urban (Ryan Waltz pass failed), :56.4.
TJ Zach Talley 70 kickoff return (Danscak kick), :44.7.
TJ Chase Winovich 30 run (Danscak kick), 8:55.
TJ Luke Deanovich 25 run (Danscak kick), 4:28.
TJ Talley 62 punt return (Danscak kick), 2:18.
H Dan Baker 7 fumble return (Eli Hargis run failed), 8:28.
TJ Byron Minous 51 run (Danscak kick), 4:55.
TJ Deanovich 41 run (Danscak kick), 1:35.
TJ Jamison Opfar 34 run (Danscak kick), 7:36.
H Hargis 65 run (Eric Miller kick), 3:58.
TJ Kyle Senich 42 run (Danscak kick), 1:39.
Rushing: Hollidaysburg Hargis 6-77, Urban 15-37, Colton Ruggery 7-12, Zack Weaver 6-5, Josh Bickley 3-3, Tyler Miller 2-1, Caleb Parnell 1-(-1), Team 1-(-14). Thomas Jefferson Deanovich 2-66, Senich 7-56, Minous 13-52, Opfar 2-43, Winovich 1-30, Carroll 2-(-3).
Passing: Hollidaysburg Urban 5 of 10, 68 yds., 1 TD; Bickley 2 of 2, 1 yd. Thomas Jefferson Carroll 8 of 21, 107 yds., 1 TD.
Receiving: Hollidaysburg Hargis 3-10, Springer 2-26, Blake Davis 1-34, DeAndre Mason 1-(-1). Thomas Jefferson Mascaro 3-54, Minous 2-16, Dalton Dietrich 1-14, Talley 1-12, Shane Lotis 1-11.
Fumble recoveries: Hollidaysburg Eric Grassmyer, Baker. Thomas Jefferson - Talley.