HOLLIDAYSBURG - Homer DeLattre is hoping to get Hollidaysburg Area football to the level of Thomas Jefferson eventually.
But it's not there yet.
TJ spoiled DeLattre's home debut with Golden Tigers, scoring four touchdowns in the second quarter en route to a 45-12 victory over Hollidaysburg in a WPIAL Class AAA interconference game at Tiger Stadium on Friday night.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Thomas Jefferson’s Kyle Senich brings down Hollidaysburg’s Tyler Miller.
"We had about a 6-, 7-minute spurt there where we just made a lot of mistakes. Take away that and who knows," DeLattre said. "There are no moral victories at all."
Maybe not, but the Tigers certainly didn't leave the field acting like a team that barely averted the mercy rule in falling to 1-2.
"I definitely don't think the score [indicated] how we played at all," Hollidaysburg senior lineman and captain Reid Brinkhoff said. "We played tough. We executed. No one gave up. The third quarter, we came out strong. We didn't give up many points.
"You've got tons of people telling you, 'it's the No. 3 team [in Class AAA in the state]. We don't pay attention to that, but you know when you play tough against that team, bring out the same intensity, we're going to get out wins."
However, the Tigers can't afford to have many quarters like the second they endured against the three-time state champion Jaguars.
Hollidaysburg, which lost to TJ by 55 and 49 last season, was only down 14-0 midway in the second quarter when things the wheels came off. A snap over Tiger punter Tyler Hiott's head gave Thomas Jefferson the ball at the Hollidaysburg 10, leading to a Chase Winovich 8-yard touchdown scramble. The Tigers muffed the ensuing kickoff, giving the ball right back to the Jaguars on the 4.
Winovich hit Frankie Langan for six on the next play.
After Hollidaysburg answered on Josh Bickley's 3-yard scamper to cap a 70-yard scoring drive, the Tigers pinned TJ at its own 16 on the kickoff return. However, Christian Breisinger connected across the middle with Dalton Dietrich, who picked up a block near midfield and raced the distance on the very next play to make it 35-6 heading into halftime.
"It was just stupid mistakes. Mental mistakes. Things we have to adjust for next week," Brinkhoff said.
Breisinger had a huge game alternating at quarterback with Winovich, completing 9-of-14 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns off the bench. Dietrich had seven receptions for 163 yards and two scores after the Jaguars only threw 15 times in their first two games, both lopsided wins.
"We just executed well," Breisinger said. "I expected [Hollidaysburg] to put eight people in the box, and I'd just throw it over the top. I like just coming in and doing my job."
The Jaguar defense didn't give Hollidaysburg much of a chance to rally. Led by Michigan linebacker recruit Winovich, fellow linebacker Luke Deanovich and 255-pound defensive lineman Jake Guinn, TJ limited the Tigers to 28 yards on the ground and 121 yards in total offense.
"Our key was not to let them make the big play with the quarterback [Bickley] running or throwing to [Ryan Waltz]," Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak said. "We felt if they scored, that was how they were going to do it. They did make some plays. They really did."
Hollidaysburg's second touchdown came when Tyler Miller scooped up a fumble at the Jaguar 48 and rambled straight to the end zone.
"You've got to make plays. Big games are about making plays, and they made more plays than us," DeLattre said.
DeLattre was happy with how his team handled the adversity after the second quarter and thought it boded well for the Tigers' long-term growth.
"I learned we can be a pretty good football team if we keep getting better and we learn to play at a higher and higher level," DeLattre said. "I believe we're doing that, and we showed people that in the second half. We're capable of being pretty good, and I'm confident with the rest of our schedule."
Game notes: The Tigers host Knoch next Friday in a return to Greater Allegheny Conference play. ... Hollidaysburg converted 3-of-4 fourth down attempts and had two others result in first downs because of penalty. ... Bickley sold a beautiful fake on the jet sweep in the fourth quarter, even fooling an official who blew the play down when Jericho Hilling was tackled. ... Ruggery intercepted a pass and broke up another beautifully. The Tigers forced three turnovers.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Thomas Jefferson7 28 0 10 - 45
Hollidaysburg0 6 0 6 - 12
TJ-Talley 10 pass from Breisinger (Rothey kick), 1:17.
TJ-Dietrich 13 pass from Breisinger (Rothey kick), 11:15.
TJ-Winovich 8 run (Rothey kick), 7:49.
TJ-Langan 4 pass from Winovich (Rothey kick), 7:42.
H-Bickley 3 run (kick failed), 3:25.
TJ-Dietrich 84 pass from Breisinger (Rothey kick), 3:02.
TJ-Rothey 26 FG, 11:19.
H-T. Miller 48 fumble return (pass failed), 8:33.
TJ-Langan 9 pass from Beisinger (Rothey kick), 5:57.
RUSHING: Thomas Jefferson-Kemp 11-50, Scanlon 7-47, Daley 5-23, Winovich 3-34, Deanovich 3-11, Pahanish 2-24, Senich 2-10, Talley 1-6, Dietrich 1-(-1), TEAM 1-(-4). Hollidaysburg-Bickley 13-27, R. Miller 6-0, Ruggery 5-0, Hilling 4-10, Weaver 2-12, TEAM 1-(-21).
PASSING: Thomas Jefferson-Breisinger 9-14-1-220, Winovich 2-7-1-11. Hollidaysburg-Bickley 10-21-0-89, Parnell 1-4-1-4.
RECEIVING: Thomas Jefferson-Dietrich 7-163, Langan 2-13, Kemp 1-15, Talley 1-10. Hollidaysburg-Waltz 4-50, R. Miller 3-32, Aigner 2-7, Baker 1-5, Ruggery 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS: Thomas Jefferson-Breisinger. Hollidaysburg-Ruggery, R. Miller.