TYRONE - If you've got a horse, ride him, and the Tyrone Golden Eagles have one of the region's top stallions in James Oliver.
The area's leading rusher and scorer, Oliver ran for 178 yards Friday and went over the 3,000 mark for his career as Tyrone blanked Bald Eagle Area, 14-0, in a Mountain League game at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
Oliver carried the ball 29 times - Tyrone ran it 45 as a team - and had only three runs of more than 13 yards. But, he continually moved the sticks and scored the Eagles' second touchdown on a 13-yard run on the final play of the third quarter.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Tyrone running back James Oliver breaks off a long run against BEA.
Tyrone coach Steve Guthoff praised his 5-foot-10, 185-pound tailback, saying he's got strength and speed and great drive, all of the assets needed to be a top running back.
"Physically, he's probably superior to everybody else on the field, including the other teams," Guthoff said. "He's the strongest guy on our team, he wants the ball and is a fierce competitor.
"It wasn't easy going for him tonight," Guthoff said. "In the last few weeks, he's carried maybe 12-14 times a game, so we like to rest him because there's going to be games like this when he's going to get his carries."
BEA's defense played well overall.
"We didn't have the [offensive] balance we wanted, but I give [BEA] a lot of credit," Guthoff said. "They were big and physical up front and packed it in, making it tough sledding for us most of the game."
Tyrone marched 80 yards in 11 plays for the game's first score, a 5-yard pass from Erik Wagner to Jacob Makdad. Wagner rolled right, then scrambled to his left and found Makdad alone in the end zone.
"He created and made a big play on that one," Guthoff said of Wagner. "The design play was either covered or the protection broke down, I'm not sure. He did what a senior quarterback does - creates and finds something."
Late in the third quarter, on a third-and-10 situation, Wagner and Silas Crawford teamed up for a 33-yard connection to the BEA 13 and Oliver took it in on the next play.
"He juggled it," Guthoff said of Crawford's clutch catch with a defender in his face. "It was a nice ball and a nice read. Erik executed when he had to and we made some nice catches when we had to.
"It wasn't pretty, but usually when it isn't pretty, it's because of the opponent."
The game, perhaps lower scoring than expected, was dominated by defenses - Tyrone's in particular. The Golden Eagles held BEA to 152 yards and were tough against the run, limiting the visitors to only 39 yards on the ground.
"Our defense has done a really good job," Guthoff said. "Coach Wilson [defensive coordinator Jason Wilson] has done a good job game-planning and our guys understand that Tyrone, over the years, is defense first."
BEA coach Jack Tobias was pleased with the job his team did on Oliver.
"He's a quality tailback," Tobias said. "Overall, we did a pretty good job defensively. We were able to slow him down a little.
"I thought we played an outstanding game defensively," Tobias said, "but we've got to make some catches and cut down on our mistakes."
Game notes: It was the fourth straight win for Tyrone, now 5-1. ... BEA fell to 3-3. ... Tyrone travels to unbeaten Clearfield (6-0) next Friday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bald Eagle Area0 0 0 0 - 0
Tyrone0 7 7 0- 14
T-Makdad 5 pass from Wagner (Umholtz kick), 10:11.
T-Oliver 13 run (Umholtz kick), 0:00.
RUSHING: BEA-Bartley 14-35, Weaver 5-14, Struble 1-9, Bryan Greene 3-(-5), Jones 4 (-14). Tyrone-Oliver 29-178, Sleeth 7-32, Wagner 5-11, Hunter 3-10, Muir 1-2, TEAM 1-(-2).
PASSING: BEA-Jones 10-20-1-113, Bartley 0-1-0-0. Tyrone-Wagner 9-19-1-111.
RECEIVING: BEA-Bryan Greene 5-72, Bartley 4-31, Struble 1-10. Tyrone-Getz 4-23, Crawford 2-48, Oliver 2-35, Makdad 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS: BEA-Bryan Greene. Tyrone-Bakhsheshe.