TYRONE - Tyrone beat Johnstown, 20-9, trailed for just 22 seconds, wrapped up a home playoff game against an opponent it has already beaten, but Golden Eagles coach Steve Guthoff was furious after Friday's game at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
Guthoff gathered his players in a huddle after the final seconds clicked off the clock and told them if they played the way they did Friday next week, their season would be over.
"We were unhappy with our execution on both sides of the ball," Guthoff said. "Despite the fact that we talk about focusing on each game, to some extend we didn't focus tonight, and a lot of that has to do with Johnstown playing a good football game.
"We have to do a better job up front offensively and defensively."
Tyrone finished the regular season 8-2 and will host fifth-seeded Bald Eagle Area Saturday as the No. 4 seed in the District 6 Class AA playoffs. The Golden Eagles beat BEA, 14-0, earlier this season in Tyrone.
Johnstown fell to 3-7 but qualified as the fourth seed in the Class AAA playoffs and will travel to top-seeded Clearfield next week.
Despite the lopsided records, the game was played even closer than the score.
Tyrone's Erik Wagner picked off Johnstown quarterback Jeremy Updyke twice in the end zone, the Trojans missed a 33-yard field goal just before halftime and also lost a fumble deep inside Golden Eagle territory. Johnstown outgained Tyrone, 370-317, and had 17 first downs to the Golden Eagles' 12.
"We weren't consistent," Guthoff said. "No one walked away feeling like that was a really good performance tonight, because it wasn't. We weren't all on the same page, and we won't be going beyond next week unless we get better quick."
James Oliver, playing in his final regular season home game, was a big factor both offensively and defensively. The Golden Eagle running back, who led the area in rushing coming into week 10, ran 87 yards for a score on his first carry of the game after Johnstown had taken a 3-0 lead. With Tyrone still holding its 7-3 lead just before halftime, Updyke connected with Karim Gibson on a 55-yard catch that he nearly broke for a score. But with 4.3 seconds left, Oliver caught Gibson from behind, and Johnstown missed a field goal.
"The run was really big, because we started off slow on both sides, and we needed something to get us going," Oliver said. "The line provided me with a great hole. We're happy to get this win, but we definitely could have played better. We lucked out a little bit."
The Golden Eagles expanded their lead when Wagner connected with Elijah Sleeth on a 26-yard screen pass for a score on Tyrone's first possession of the second half.
Johnstown looked as though it would answer the score, but an Updyke apparent completion to the 2-yard line was waved off as incomplete. On the next play, Wagner came down with his first interception of the night.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Johnstown3 0 0 6 - 9
Tyrone7 0 6 6 - 20
J-Litvin 33 FG, 3:32.
T-Oliver 87 run (Umholtz kick), 3:10.
T-Sleeth 26 pass from Wagner (kick failed), 9:35.
T-Oliver 11 run (Umholtz kick), 10:44.
J-Andrews 45 pass from Updyke (kick failed), 8:25.
RUSHING: Johnstown-Braxton 12-66, Miller 7-32, Updyke 3-28, Te. Jones 7-18, Gibson 1-12, Wilson 1-5, Ta. Jones 2-0. Tyrone-Oliver 13-128, Wagner 7-33, Sleeth 5-29, TEAM 1-(-7).
PASSING: Johnstown-Updyke 12-33-3-209, TEAM 0-2-0-0. Tyrone-Wagner 7-19-1-134.
RECEIVING: Johnstown-Andrews 4-97, Gibson 3-67, Robinson 2-16, Te. Jones 1-12, Ta. Jones 1-9, Brenton 1-8. Tyrone-Hunter 4-89, Boone 2-19, Sleeth 1-26.
INTERCEPTIONS: Johnstown-Mayo. Tyrone-Wagner 2, Getz.