Tigers beat Altoona
Hollidaysburg Area High School quarterback Brady Walters made a lot of plays on offense Friday night against Altoona, but the senior signal caller’s biggest play came on defense.
With the game tied 14-14 late in the first half, Brock Irvin stripped Altoona quarterback Connor McCarthy. Walters picked up the loose ball in stride and raced 41 yards for a touchdown that gave Hollidaysburg a 21-14 halftime lead.
“We talk about forcing turnovers, and we got a break there when the game was a back-and-forth struggle for both teams,” Hollidaysburg coach Homer DeLattre said. “The first thing that came to mind was that’s a big play because we get the ball coming out (of halftime).”
The Golden Tigers scored the first two times they had the ball in the third quarter as well and went on to a 42-27 over the Mountain Lions at Mansion Park in the first meeting between the two teams since 2011.
Austin Weakland returned the second-half kickoff 68 yards to set up Hollidaysburg coming out of the locker room. Three plays later, Walters connected with a leaping Jacob Sensenig in the front corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown just 49 seconds into the third quarter.
Following an Altoona punt, Hollidaysburg put together an 8-play, 65-yard scoring drive to take a 35-14 lead midway through the quarter.
After Walters converted on 3rd-and-11 with a 25-yard completion, he found Bryce Martellacci for 16 more yards then scored on a 9-yard run.
Walters finished with a game-high 133 yards rushing on 23 carries and completed 6-of-8 passes for 80 more yards.
“There was a lot of hype throughout the week,” Walters said. “To come in here and win this is all we’ve been talking about for so long. It means a lot.”
Nathan Fisher ran for 89 yards and three short scores for Hollidaysburg as well.
“We have great guys up front. Those guys did a great job along with the H-backs and tight ends,” DeLattre said.
After the teams exchanged touchdowns, Mitchell Lawhead took a screen pass 57 yards for Altoona to make it 42-27 with 1:05 left in the third.
Hollidaysburg fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Altoona recovered. The Mountain Lions moved the ball to the Hollidaysburg 4 but couldn’t punch it in.
Jonah Brandt’s reverse pass to McCarthy out of the backfield on second down was just a little long, and McCarthy’s pass to Connor Adams in the front corner of the end zone fell incomplete on fourth down.
“I like how our kids battled back, but we didn’t make enough plays,” Altoona coach Nick Felus said. “We’d make progress but then we’d take a step back. They ran the ball extremely well. We have to do a better job of tackling, and we’ll address that.”
Altoona started strong with Connor Adams taking a jet sweep 52 yards to the Hollidaysburg 10 on the Mountain Lions first play from scrimmage. Two plays later, McCarthy found Isaiah Barnes for a 9-yard score and a 7-0 lead 1:16 into the game.
After Altoona held Hollidaysburg to a 3-and-out on its first possession, the Mountain Lions drove to the Golden Tigers’ 16, but McCarthy had a pass over the middle tipped and intercepted near the goal line by Jacob Sensenig.
Sensenig returned the ball out to the Hollidaysburg 30. Fisher capped a 7-play, 70-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run to tie the game 7-7.
“We talked all week about situational football with turnovers, third down and field position. We just didn’t do it,” Felus said. “We’ll get back to work and correct those things. When we play situational football and execute the way we need to, we can still have a great season. We’re not going to let one game define our season.”
McCarthy finished the game 26-of-37 for 242 yards and three touchdown passes. Adams had seven catches for 82 yards, and Lawhead grabbed eight balls covering 76 yards.
Hollidaysburg (1-0) plays at Mifflin County next week. Altoona (0-1) hosts Williamsport in the second of four straight home games to open the season.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Hollidaysburg 7 14 21 0 — 42
Altoona 7 7 13 0 — 27
A–Barnes 9 pass from McCarthy (Eisel kick), 10:44.
H–Fisher 1 run (Pinter kick), 2:29.
A–Day 6 run (Eisel kick), 5:44.
H–Fisher 1 run (Pinter kick), 2:06.
H–Walters 41 fumble return (Pinter kick).
H–Sensenig 20 pass from Walters (Pinter kick), 11:11.
H–Walters 9 run (Pinter kick), 6:28.
A–Adams 38 pass from McCarthy (kick failed), 2:52.
H–Fisher 3 run (Pinter kick), 1:52.
A–Lawhead 57 pass from McCarthy (Eisel kick), 1:05.
TEAM STATISTICS H A
First downs 23 20
Total yards 357 388
Rushes-yards 48-277 32-140
Yards passing 80 248
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 6-8-0 27-38-1
Punts-avg. 2-30.5 3-27.7
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 10-75 10-67
RUSHING–Hollidaysburg, Walters 23-133, Fisher 12-89, Barr 10-46, Weakland 1-10, Dellinger 1-0, TEAM 1-(-1). Altoona, Lawhead 14-49, Adams 3-41, McCarthy 8-23, Day 6-14, Barnes 1-13.
PASSING–Hollidaysburg, Walters 6-8-0-80, Kratzer 0-0-0-0. Altoona, McCarthy 26-37-1-242, Day 1-1-0-6, Brandt 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING–Hollidaysburg, Martellacci 3-33, Moss 1-2, Sensenig 1-20, Weakland 1-25. Altoona, Barnes 7-35, Adams 7-82, Brandt 5-43, Lawhead 6-76, Shunk 2-12.