PHILIPSBURG - For three quarters, it appeared Philipsburg-Osceola was going to pull off an upset of Chestnut Ridge Friday night at Memorial Field.
The Mounties had contained fleet-footed running back Matt Wiley, knocked quarterback Beau Bosch out of the game in the first half with a concussion and held a 7-3 lead entering the fourth.
But, then Wiley took over in the fourth quarter behind an offensive line, which had to contend with 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end Curtis Matsko's strong first half, that started to open holes.
Wiley scored three touchdowns in 4:46 in the fourth quarter, scoring on runs of 38, 59 and 13 yards, while the Lions played lock-down defense to stun the Mounties, 24-7.
"We just didn't have great communication with each other [in the first half]," said Wiley, who finished with 123 yards rushing on 17 carries. "But we fought back after halftime."
"It was real big," Ridge coach Max Shoemaker said of Wiley's play. "He's coming into his own as a fullback. He broke a couple tackles and has decent speed. He's one of our quicker kids, and he has nice size. I think he'll get better in time. We weren't able to establish much before that. We made a couple adjustments at halftime. Our kids had a gutty performance."
Wiley's first score came with Ridge facing a third-and-four from the P-O 38. P-O blitzed, but Wiley bolted through the line and ran untouched into the end zone with 6:39 left in the game. Sean Van Meter, who had kicked a 34-yard field goal right before the first half ended, kicked the PAT to give Ridge a 10-7 lead.
"We had one [blitz] on, and I don't know what happened there," Vroman said. "Sometimes you've got to take some chances to make things happen. They had the right play on. Defensively, we have to be pleased with the effort we had."
The Lions (3-2) forced P-O (1-4) to three plays-and-out, including two incompletions by Matsko, who was 6-of-23 for 51 yards.
Ridge faced a third-and-13 from its own 41 on the next series, and again Wiley bolted through the line, avoided defensive back Jake Anderson's desperation tackle attempt from behind and scored from 59 yards out. P-O coach Jeff Vroman wasn't surprised by Wiley's speed.
"He did the same thing to Bald Eagle last week," he said. "That was the difference in that game."
The Mounties went for a fourth-and-11 from their own 30, and Tanner College, who had a big defensive game, sacked Matsko for a 10-yard loss. Two plays later, Wiley scored on a 13-yard run with 1:53 left.
The first half was a defensive fan's dream as neither team could get anything going. Matsko, who was injured last week against Tyrone when he got spiked in the chest had a sack of Bosch and a number of tackles in the half.
"He had a much better game defensively. He would tell you that," Vroman said. "I think he caused them a lot of problems."
The game was scoreless until P-O's Tanner Lamb returned a Braden Hengst punt 19 yards to his own 37.
Following a first down, P-O faced a third-and-one at the Ridge 17, and Matsko, directing a hurry-up, no-huddle offense in the pistol formation the whole night, took a keeper 17 yards up the middle for a touchdown with 2:36 left in the half.
Ridge backup QB Jake Bowser entered the game and moved the Lions with three completions to the P-O 17, and Van Meter finished the drive with a field goal.
"I though Bowser stepped and did a very capable job given the circumstances," Shoemaker said.
"It feels great," Wiley said. "Beau got hurt, but we came back with Jake. That wasn't a letdown there. Also, our line fought hard in the second half."
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Chestnut Ridge0 3 0 21 - 24
Philipsburg-Osceola0 7 0 0 - 7
PO-Matsko 17 run (N. Boumerhi kick), 2:36.
CR-Van Meter 34 FG, :46.6.
CR-M. Wiley 38 run (Van Meter kick), 6:39.
CR-M. Wiley 59 run (Van Meter kick), 3:49.
CR-M. WIley 13 run (Van Meter kick), 1:53.
RUSHING: Chestnut Ridge-M. Wiley 17-123, Bowser 6-23, Lohr 7-22, Crouse 1-19, T. Wiley 2-5, TEAM 1-(-1), Bosch 6-(-8). Philipsburg-Osceola-Shuey 10-61, Patrick 6-32, Mason 4-30, Matsko 13-20, Pryde 3-1.
PASSING: Chestnut Ridge-Bowser 3-6-0-45, Bosch 0-3-0-0. Philipsburg-Osceola-Matsko 6-23-1-51, Lamb 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING: Chestnut Ridge-Crouse 1-34, Osman 1-8, Weyant 1-3. Philipsburg-Osceola-Lamb 3-26, Shuey 1-14, Pepperday 1-12, Hawkins 1-(-1).
INTERCEPTIONS: Chestnut Ridge-Hengst, Osman. Philipsburg-Osceola-none.