Tigers’ chances dwindle
MARS – While Mars further solidified its dominance as the WPIAL playoffs get closer with a 69-14 win on Friday night, Hollidaysburg has lost by a combined 102 points in its last two games.
Mars’ offense scored on all but two of its drives and didn’t pass the ball once.
Matt Parrish ignited Mars’ running game on the second play from scrimmage, going 63 yards down the right sideline to set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Joshua Schultheis on the next play.
“We talked about being physical, and we wanted to start the game with the ball and run it,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer said. “Our kids did a great job up front blocking for our running backs, and that’s what we asked them to do today.”
Schultheis, a junior who eclipsed the 3,000-career rushing yard mark last week, rushed for 149 yards in the first quarter against Hollidaysburg to lead the Planets to an early 35-0 lead. He finished the game with 182 rushing yards and four touchdowns, one of which came off a 24-yard interception return in the first quarter.
Mars had eight rushes of 30 yards or more, four of them were for more than 60 yards, and six of its players combined for nine rushing touchdowns.
“People can key on Josh if they want to, but you can see a number of our kids can run the ball physically,” Heinauer said.
Down 21-0 in the first quarter, Hollidaysburg faced a fourth and 1 from its 41-yard line. The Golden Tigers attempted to draw the Fighting Planets offside but took their second timeout of the half and decided to punt.
“It’s 21-0, not 51-0, so we’re trying to flip the field and pin them in their end,” Hollidaysburg coach Homer DeLattre said.
Mars’ Jason Lozzi ran for a 76-yard touchdown on the next play.
Hollidaysburg’s two scores came on consecutive drives, at the end of the first half and at the beginning of the second half. Its first score came with 30 seconds left to play in the second quarter when Caleb Parnell connected with Seth Aungst on a deep go route down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown that ended an 80-yard drive.
The Golden Tigers then ran 11 run plays and one pass play to begin the second half. The drive was led by Colton Ruggery, who ran the ball seven times for 57 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run. Ruggery led the Golden Tigers with 110 yards rushing.
“We’re a resilient team, and they didn’t give up, and that says a lot about their attitude and character,” DeLattre said. “We told the kids this is all about how many opportunities you have left. For some of them it may have only been one-and-a-half games left, so we want them to take advantage of these opportunities.”
Mars forced Hollidaysburg to punt or turn the ball over on 10 of its 12 drives and held the Tigers to just 3.6 yards per play.
“Mars is a great team, and we told the kids that they’re the most well disciplined team we’ve seen on video this season, so we knew what they were capable of,” DeLattre said.
While Mars (7-1 overall, 6-1 league) is in a three-way tie for first place in the Greater Allegheny Conference, Hollidaysburg (3-5, 3-4) is now in a three-way tie for fourth place with Hampton and Indiana. A win next week against Indiana would clinch a playoff spot for Hollidaysburg.
“Next week is a must-win for us, and we’re going to talk about taking care of ourselves,” DeLattre said.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hollidaysburg0 7 7 0 – 14
Mars35 21 7 6 – 69
M-Schultheis 6 run (kick), 10:45
M-Schultheis 10 run (kick), 7:21
M-Schultheis 24 interception (kick), 6:55
M-Lozzi 76 run (kick), 3:06
M-Nearhoof 1 run (kick), 0:10
M-Schultheis 9 run (kick), 9:41
M-Rinaman 65 run (kick), 7:29
M-Lozzi 43 run, 3:45
H-Aungst 43 pass from Parnell (kick), 0:30
H-Ruggery 1 run (kick), 6:40
M-Mincer 5 run (kick), 3:08
M-Astbury 1 run (kick failed), 7:24
RUSHING: Hollidaysburg-Ruggery 25-110, Parnell 5-33, Weaver 8-24, Kovak 2-5, Adams 5-5, Beinich 1-2, Hilling 1-0, Augustine 1-(-2), Worley 2-(-4). Mars-Schultheis 16-182, Lozzi 3-124, Rinaman 1-65, Parrish 1-63, Mincer 6-63, Brooks 3-22, Nearhoof 3-9, Astbury 5-14, Sablowski 3-(-5)
PASSING: Hollidaysburg-Parnell 2-12-1-58, Augustine 1-2-0-9, Adams 1-2-0-1. Mars-None.
RECEIVING: Hollidaysburg-Aungst 1-43, Waltz 1-15, Merritts 1-9, Hilling 1-1. Mars-None.
INTERCEPTIONS: Hollidaysburg-None. Mars-Schultheis 1-24.