Tussey falls short, eliminated
SAXTON — Tussey Mountain’s unexpected good season under new coach Anthony Sottasante came to an end Saturday in a District 5 Class 1A semifinal game.
A fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown gave Conemaugh Township a two-score lead, and the Indians downed the Titans, 27-22.
It was a close game all the way and could have gone either way. The Titans (8-3) took a 15-14 lead early in the third quarter but were unable to hold it.
The Indians (8-3) were led by Jordan Poznanski’s 161 yards rushing and two scores, to go along with his pick-6. He also went 7-of-10 passing for 84 yards and one interception.
Conemaugh Township won the District 5 title in 2016. The Indians will face top-seeded Shade on Friday in the final.
It was a game where all the statistics were pretty close. The turnovers and penalties were even as was the yards for each team. The pick-6 that gave the Indians a 27-15 advantage in the final period was enough to secure the win.
“The pick-6 really hurt us. We stopped ourselves tonight with turnovers and penalties,” Sottasante said.
Poznanski gained more than 100 yards on the ground in the first quarter as the Titans tried to figure out how to keep him in check. Tussey punted on its first possession, and two plays later Poznanski burst free for a 58-yard touchdown run.
Tussey Mountain came back, though, with Cole Weist pounding through the line. On third and 10, Matt Leonard tossed a screen to Weist for 9 yards. Weist then went 6 yards to tie the game 7-7.
Poznanski threw 33 yards to Bailey Kist, then the Indians went back to the run. Cory Myers scored from 1 yard out for a 14-7 lead with 1:47 left in the first.
There were three turnovers in the second quarter. The Titans lost two fumbles, but the Indians didn’t score. Brady Villa picked off Poznanski, but Tussey failed to score.
Tussey’s defense collected a safety when Damon Clark brought down Poznanski. The score was 14-9 at halftime.
Nicholas Brumbaugh recovered a fumble for Tussey to begin the second half. Jarred Sipes ran 15 yards for the touchdown and a 15-14 edge.
“We turned it over, which is uncharacteristic of us,” Conemaugh Township coach Sam Zambanini said. “I’m proud of how our guys responded to that adversity.”
The Indians then used close to 7 minutes in driving 65 yards to take the lead back. Poznanski capped things with a 10-yard scoring run to go in front 20-15.
Tussey Mountain got the ball early in the fourth, but the Indians made the big play. Poznanski intercepted Leonard’s pass and raced 37 yards to the end zone.
The Titans had time but needed to score twice. It took more than 6 minutes to get that first touchdown. Tussey Mountain stayed on the ground until a 12-yard scoring pass from Leonard to Villa with 3:10 left to play.
The Indians moved the chains twice before turning the ball over on downs with 6 seconds left on the clock. Leonard threw two incompletions, and the game was over.
“I’m really proud of these kids. We just fell a little short tonight,” Sottasante said.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Conemaugh Township 14 0 6 7 — 27
Tussey Mountain 7 2 6 7 — 22
CT–Poznanski 58 run (Walerysiak kick)
TM–Weist 6 run (Straumsheim kick)
CT–Myers 1 run (Walerysiak kick)
TM–Sipes 15 run (run fail)
CT–Poznanski 10 run (run fail)
CT–Poznanski 37 interception return (Walerysiak kick)
TM–Villa 12 pass from Leonard (Straumsheim kick)
TEAM STATISTICS CT TM
First downs 13 15
Total yards 298 268
Rushes-yards 45-214 48-223
Yards passing 84 45
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 7-10-1 5-11-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 8-66 7-75
RUSHING–Conemaugh Township, Poznanski 31-161, Myers 12-57, Rosey 2-(-4). Tussey Mountain, Weist 28-171, Rhodes 6-25, Sipes 5-18, Lucko 5-16, Leonard 3-(-2), Team 1-(-5).
PASSING–Conemaugh Township, Poznanski 7-10-1-84, Tussey Mountain, Leonard 5-11-1-45.
RECEIVING–Conemaugh Township, Kist 3-38, Myers 2-33, Berzanski 1-9, T. Poznanski 1-4. Tussey Mountain, Villa 2-20, Kling 1-11, Weist 1-9, Rhodes 1-5.