HUNTINGDON - In a matter of 19 seconds in the second quarter, the game between Huntingdon and Philipsburg-Osceola went from tied to a two-touchdown lead for the Bearcats.
Huntingdon got a 1-yard touchdown run by Mitchell Lauer 10 seconds into the second quarter. Lauer then essentially stole the ball from Mountie kick returner Jake Anderson on the kickoff, returned the ball 30 yards to the 2 and scored on the next play when his number was called.
It was a stretch that showcased the Bearcats' ability to take advantage of their opportunities and the Mounties' sloppy ball handling (seven fumbles, two lost, one interception) in Huntingdon's 28-21 homecoming win on a cool Friday night at War Vets Field.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Philipsburg-Osceola’s Dustin Shuey leans for extra yardage during a 28-21 loss at Huntingdon on Friday night. To view more photos, go to cu.altoonamirror.com.
"The couple turnovers in the first half are what turned out to be the big key," P-O coach Jeff Vroman said. "That swayed the points and the momentum a little bit, but the kids battled. The effort was there. I thought we moved the ball more consistently than they did."
"We just kept plugging away," Huntingdon coach Mike Hudy said. "We made some mistakes, but we battled."
Huntingdon (4-4) lost a 49-47 shootout to Bald Eagle Area last week, and the P-O game started out like it was going to be another high-scoring game as both teams scored on their first possessions.
P-O sophomore Jake Anderson bolted 60 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game, and Bearcat sophomore quarterback Hudson Speck connected with tight end Logan Fisher for a 44-yard scoring pass on their fourth play.
Instead, because of turnovers and tightened up defenses, the scoring didn't get out of hand.
Lauer's impressive stretch was followed by a 16-play, 69-yard P-O scoring drive that ended with quarterback Curtis Matsko reaching the end zone from the 4 with 4:21 left in the second quarter.
Matsko recovered a fumble on the next Bearcat play at the Huntingdon 20, but Fisher picked off the P-O QB after the Mounties (1-7) had advanced to the 5.
P-O had more shot to score at the end of the first half, but Nick Boumerhi, who kicked a 43-yarder against Central, missed a 46-yarder left.
Not long after Huntingdon's Meghan Smyers was crowned homecoming queen, P-O's Caleb Belinda picked off Speck on the first play of the second half.
P-O's drive stalled, Boumerhi punted and Anderson recovered a fumble on the return at the Huntingdon 37. P-O reached the 16, but running back Mason Pryde was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1.
The Bearcats then went on an 11-play, 84-yard drive to reach the end zone, with the touchdown coming on a Speck 10-yard pass to Fisher on fourth-and-6.
"They had a single high safety, and we just sent four verticals, and we looked the safety off," Hudy said, "and it worked. It's worked for a couple weeks in a row now."
Jon Wagner had runs of 19 and 29 yards on the drive en route to a 115 yards rushing, and Speck completed all three passes.
P-O stuffed Devon Claar on a fake punt at the the Huntingdon 45, and five plays later, Dustin Shuey scored on a 1-yard run with 2:39 left in the game. P-O was aided by two Bearcat blow-to-the-head personal fouls and a 21-yard pass from Matsko to Belinda.
"First of all, a good throw from Curtis to set it up," Vroman said. "Then the sweep was open, and Shuey could basically walk in."
P-O had life, but Claar sealed the win by recovering Boumerhi's onsides kick.
"We'll take it," Hudy said. "A win is a win."
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Philipsburg-Osceola7 7 0 7 - 21
Huntingdon7 14 7 0 - 28
PO-Anderson 60 run (N. Boumerhi kick), 10:20.
H-Fisher 44 pass from Speck (Green kick), 8:56.
H-Lauer 1 run (Green kick), 11:50.
H-Lauer 2 run (Green kick), 11:31.
PO-Matsko 4 run (N. Boumerhi kick), 4:21.
H-Fisher 10 pass from Speck (Green kick), 2:15.
PO-Shuey 1 run (N. Boumerhi kick), 2:39.
RUSHING: Philipsburg-Osceola-Anderson 6-71, Shuey 13-58, Pryde 13-52, Matsko 11-28. Huntingdon-Wagner 12-115, Claar 12-51, Lauer 10-23, Speck 4-3, TEAM 2-(-2).
PASSING: Philipsburg-Osceola-Matsko 8-17-1-80. Huntingdon-Speck 5-9-1-81.
RECEIVING: Philipsburg-Osceola-Belinda 3-39, Mason 2-27, Shuey 2-10, Hummel 1-4. Huntingdon-Fisher 2-54, Lauer 2-22, Claar 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS: Philipsburg-Osceola-Belinda. Huntingdon-Fisher.