HUNTINGDON - When a team is facing a big offensive gun like standout Tyrone senior tailback James Oliver, it's a good idea not to provide any extra ammunition.
Huntingdon was the latest squad to get that lesson Friday night, as Oliver rushed for 172 yards on 17 carries and scored four touchdowns, including two which came after Bearcats' turnovers, to lead Tyrone to a 28-6 Mountain League victory at War Vets Field.
"We didn't quit tonight,'' Huntingdon coach Mike Hudy said. "We challenged them in the second half, but we made too many mistakes in the first half.''
The game was scoreless in the first quarter, before a fumbled Huntingdon exchange that was recovered by Tyrone sophomore lineman Richard Reader gave the Golden Eagles the ball at the Bearcats' 1.
One play later, Oliver sprinted off right tackle for the first touchdown of the game to give the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead as the first quarter ended.
Tyrone put together a 70-yard, six-play scoring drive late in the second quarter, highlighted by senior quarterback Erik Wagner's 25-yard pass to junior wideout Nicholas Getz and runs of 16 and 12 yards by Oliver that preceded Oliver's 6-yard scoring run. Wagner's 2-point conversion pass to Getz put Tyrone up, 14-0.
Getz's interception set Tyrone up at the Huntingdon 33 with 2:12 left in the first half. Six plays later, and with just 30 seconds showing on the clock, Oliver slashed into the end zone from 3 yards out to give Tyrone a 21-0 halftime lead.
Tyrone coach Steve Guthoff was happy to see his team improve to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the league, but felt that there are still some rough edges to be ironed out. The Eagles were penalized eight times for 80 yards and lost a first-half fumble.
"The bar has been set pretty high here,'' said Guthoff, who took over the Tyrone program after John Franco coached the Golden Eagles to three appearances in the PIAA Class AA state championship game, including a state title in 1999. "We still have our work cut out for us. We're a work in progress right now.''
Oliver, the 5-foot-10, 189-pound speedster, will be one of the players who will help expedite that process for Tyrone.
"We know that it is really important to get him the touches,'' Guthoff said. "Everything stems around our running game, and he's such an important part of our offense.''
Oliver showed off his athleticism and speed on a 56-yard touchdown burst with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter. He broke through the line of scrimmage, slipped several tackles in the middle of the field, and continued on for his fourth scoring run of the night to give Tyrone a 28-0 lead.
"The hole was open, the line did a great job, and I just followed my blockers and went for it there,'' Oliver said.
Huntingdon (1-2 overall, 1-1 league) got on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter, when sophomore quarterback Hudson Speck found senior tight end Logan Gallagher with a 10-yard touchdown pass.
"Defensively, we had a solid performance,'' Guthoff said. "But we have to get better across the board, on both offense and defense.''
Game notes: The Tyrone-Huntingdon football rivalry began back in 1922. Friday's outcome narrowed Huntingdon's edge in the overall series, which now spans 85 games, to 42-39-4 ... Tyrone's Elijah Sleeth intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart a Huntingdon scoring chance late in the third quarter ... Huntingdon's Leif Brown recovered a fumble ... Tyrone hosts Philipsburg-Osceola next Friday night, while Huntingdon travels to Clearfield.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tyrone7 14 7 0 - 28
Huntingdon0 0 0 6 - 6
T-Oliver 1 run (kick failed), 0:00.
T-Oliver 6 run (Getz pass from Wagner), 2:31.
T-Oliver 3 run (Umholtz kick), 0:30
T-Oliver 56 run (Umholtz kick), 5:42.
H-Gallagher 10 pass from Speck (run failed), 4:34.
T-Score (Conversion), Time.
RUSHING: Tyrone-Oliver 17-172, A. Hunter 4-28, Wagner 6-15, Sleeth 4-8, Baksheshe 1-4. Huntingdon-Lauer 13-69, Stretchock 5-29, Claar 6-11, Fisher 5-5, Whisonant 5-4, Peters 3-1, Speck 4-(-1).
PASSING: Tyrone-Wagner 5-9-0-137. Huntingdon-Speck 6-16-2-121.
RECEIVING: Tyrone-Getz 2-101, Sleeth 1-16, Crawford 1-16, Bakhsheshe 1-4. Huntingdon-Fisher 2-36, Lauer 1-60, Gallagher 1-10, Kidd 1-10, Claar 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS: Tyrone-Getz, Sleeth.