Bearcats cash in on opportunities
HUNTINGDON — In hard-fought football rivalries like the one that exists between neighboring Mountain League Conference opponents Tyrone and Huntingdon, a few plays in a game often make the difference.
Especially when those plays are turnovers.
Huntingdon converted a Tyrone fumble and interception into short touchdown drives in the second half Friday night, carving out a 26-14 victory at War Vets Field.
With Huntingdon clinging to a 14-7 lead late in the third quarter, Tyrone fumbled a Bearcats punt and Huntingdon junior Ryder Kocik recovered it at the Tyrone 26.
After Huntingdon senior running back Ian Border raced 25 yards to the 1 on the first play from scrimmage, Border slashed 1 yard for a touchdown with 3:26 left in the third period to stake Huntingdon to a 20-7 lead.
With Tyrone driving midway through the fourth quarter, Huntingdon senior safety Drew Weglarz returned an intercepted pass nearly 65 yards to the Tyrone 11, paving the way for Border’s third touchdown of the night — another 1-yard jaunt with 6:45 left in the game that put Huntingdon ahead, 26-7 and sent the ‘Cats well on their way to their third win in as many games this season and their second in two league starts.
“In any given football game, you’ll find about five things that will decide the outcome, and, just like anything else, we’ll take it,” Huntingdon coach Tom Hudy said of his team’s ability to cash in on the two open-door opportunities.
Weglarz was in the right place at the right time, playing center field on the interception, and followed a cavalry of blockers down the left sideline on his big return.
“I just saw the ball, and I tried to make a play on it — that’s what we’re coached to do,” Weglarz said. “We had a good rush from our (defensive) line, and (the return) gave our offense good field position to score that last touchdown.”
Field position was definitely a big factor in the outcome for Tyrone, which dropped to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the league.
“The fumble created a momentum swing, and the interception led to a big return that put them in good field position,” Tyrone coach Jason Wilson said.
Wilson saw a silver lining despite the loss.
“I think we were definitely very close to getting over that bump,” said Wilson, whose team opened the season with an overtime loss to archrival Bellwood-Antis and a home-field setback last week against Blair County rival Central. “We battled tonight. We played with more aggression, and our (offensive) line played very well.
“The biggest thing for us is to stick together as a team,” Wilson added. “We know that we’ve made some good strides the last couple weeks against a couple of tough opponents.”
Huntingdon burst out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead on a pair of touchdown passes by junior quarterback Andrew Hudy. Hudy hit senior end Jairus Werner with a 21-yard strike in the right corner of the end zone, then connected with Border out of the backfield on a 25-yard scoring toss to the left flank.
Tyrone responded with a 17-yard second-quarter touchdown pass from junior quarterback Denver Light to senior wideout Parker Mitchell, who also made a couple of acrobatic catches later in the game and totaled four receptions for 85 yards.
Senior running back Brandon Loose — who rushed for 84 yards on 21 carries — scored Tyrone’s second touchdown of the night on a 16-yard run with 5:42 left in the game.
Border, a Class 3A all-state selection at running back last season as a junior, rushed for 84 yards on 21 carries for Huntingdon.
“We’ve been in two pretty physical games the last two weeks, and that can only make a team better,” said Tom Hudy, whose team visits Clearfield next Friday night. “We still have some things we need to improve on. I told our players to chew on this game over the weekend and see what they’ve learned from it.”
Game notes: Kyle Plummer had an interception to set up the first touchdown and Tommy Hicks recovered a fumble to set up the second touchdown for Tyrone, which hosts Philipsburg-Osceola next Friday night.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tyrone 0 7 0 7 — 14
Huntingdon 14 0 6 6 — 26
H–Werner 21 pass from Hudy (Scaccia kick), 5:40.
H–Border 25 pass from Hudy (Scaccia kick), 0:43.
T–Mitchell 17 pass from Light (Vipond kick), 7:00.
H–Border 1 run (kick failed), 3:26.
H–Border 1 run (run failed), 6:45.
T–Loose 16 run (Vipond kick), 5:42.
RUSHING: Tyrone–Loose 24-81, Light 6-42, Albright 4-11. Huntingdon–Border 21-84, Hudy 15-7, Finkle 1-2, Mykut 1-1, Zook 1-1, Wagner 1-(-5).
PASSING: Tyrone–Light 8-25-1-116. Huntingdon–Hudy 3-6-1-116.
RECEIVING: Tyrone–Mitchell 4-85, J. Hicks 3-25, Loose 1-6. Huntingdon–Price 2-20, Miller 1-44, Border 1-25, Werner 1-21, Kocik 1-6.
INTERCEPTIONS: Tyrone–Plummer. Huntingdon–Weglarz.
TEAM STATISTICS T H
First downs 15 10
Rushes-yards 34-134 40-90
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 8-25-1 3-6-1
Yards passing 116 116
Total yards 250 206
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 1-5 4-40
Punts-avg. 4-37.2 5-37.6