Titans storm into District 5-A championship
SAXTON – At two different points in the game, a chant rang out from the Tussey Mountain fans that stated simply, “We are the Titans, the mighty, mighty Titans!”
The chant was made famous in the movie “Remember the Titans,” and the 2013 Tussey Mountain Titans cemented their place in school history and made sure they will definitely be remembered.
Third-seeded Tussey punched its ticket to the District 5 Class A title game by scoring 41 unanswered points to ruin any upset thoughts entertained by Shade in a 41-8 victory on Saturday night at Dick L. Hess Memorial Field.
“It’s a great feeling [to make the district final],” Tussey Mountain coach Josh Smith said. “We’re not satisfied. We’re happy we won, but we know that big target is out there with Berlin. They’re a tough foe, and we have to come ready.”
The win improved the Titans to 10-2 – the first time a Tussey team has ever reached the 10-win mark. Meanwhile, the seventh-seeded Panthers, who upset second-seed Northern Bedford last week, finished 6-6.
“This is the first team to win 10 games in Tussey Mountain history,” Smith said. “So, it’s another big thing. We definitely used that this week as motivation.”
The Titans, known for their two-prong running attack of 1,000-yard rushers in Darrin Sipes (119 yards on 11 carries) and Daniel Taylor (91 on 13 tries), added Kyle Kline (69 on 10 attempts) to the mix for 334 yards on the ground.
“They [Tussey Mountain] have great team speed,” Shade coach Don Fyfe said. “We couldn’t consistently stop that running attack. They’re really good. They’re a really good football team.”
In addition to the ground attack, quarterback Quinn Barnett was efficient as he completed 6-of-8 passes for 112 yards.
The offense proved to be too much for the Panthers to stop as Tussey Mountain scored on six of its eight possessions in the game.
On defense, the Titans were a stonewall after giving up an 80-yard touchdown pass from Nash Walker to Tyler Kline at the 5:05 mark of the first quarter.
“They got one big play, and we knew we had to step up even more and shut them down,” senior lineman Brock Rhoat said. “That’s what we did.”
Sipes countered the Shade TD by racing up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown. Taylor added the two-point conversion run to knot the score with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter.
The Panthers put together a 13-play drive that had them on the doorstep of taking the lead back. However, the Titans kept them out on third and fourth downs from the 1-yard line to get the ball back on downs.
On the ensuing drive, Tussey Mountain was faced with a 3-and-11 from the half-yard line when quarterback Quinn Barnett found Sipes behind the Shade secondary for a 45-yard gain.
“We knew we had to get out of our end zone, and the passing game pulled through for us,” Quinn Barnett said. “The line did a great job of blocking.”
“I think it definitely had a big impact,” Smith said. “If they score, then it could be a shootout the whole game.”
The momentum swung entirely in the direction of the Titans and stayed in their favor for the rest of the night as Kline capped off the drive with a 5-yard run for the eventual game-winning points.
“I thought whenever they had the goal-line stand and stopped us, the guys [on my team] came over and you could see it [disappointment] in their eyes,” Fyfe said. “Then we turn around and give up the touchdown.”
On their next chance following a Panther punt, Barnett appeared to be in trouble on the Shade 23, but somehow managed to scramble away from the pressure before setting his feet and finding Taylor, who out-jumped a Shade defender, and caught the ball behind the defender’s helmet, in the end zone for a touchdown.
The Titans will play Berlin Brothersvalley next weekend at a site and time to be determined.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Shade0 0 0 0 – 8
Tussey Mountain8 13 13 7 – 41
S-T. Kline 80 pass from Walker (Walker run), 5:05.
TM-Sipes 41 run (Taylor run), 3:27.
TM-K. Kline 5 run (Wentz kick), 5:43.
TM-Taylor 23 pass from Barnett (kick failed), 1:01.
TM-Sipes 8 run (kick failed), 8:16.
TM-Sipes 14 run (Wentz kick), 1:03
TM-Black 13 run (Wentz kick), 2:27.
RUSHING: Shade-T. Kline 14-57, Glessner 8-31, Napora 8-0, Walker 10-1, Reynolds 1-10, Dunagan 1-1. Tussey Mountain-Taylor 13-91, Sipes 11-119, Q. Barnett 5-28, K. Kline 10-69, Sitch 1-6, Wentz 1-8, Black 1-13.
PASSING: Shade-Walker 5-8-0-151, Kiser 0-0-0-0. Tussey Mountain-Q. Barnett 6-8-0-112.
RECEIVING: Shade-T. Kline 2-98, Napora 1-32, Hudak 2-21. Tussey Mountain-Runk 1-14, Taylor 1-23, Sipes 2-61, K. Kline 1-6, L. Barnett 1-8.