Wagner leads Huntingdon
PHILIPSBURG – Jon Wagner can leave Huntingdon opponents dizzy when the ball is in his hands.
Even when his head is spinning itself.
Wagner played less than 15 minutes against Philipsburg-Osceola on Friday night before leaving the Mountain League contest with concussion-like symptoms. That was enough time for the junior standout to rush for 149 yards and two touchdowns that sent the Bearcats on their way to a bounce-back 42-13 victory at Memorial Field.
Jacob Oliver added a pair of short rushing touchdowns in the first half for Huntingdon, which evened its record at 4-4 after last week’s stunning loss at home to Bald Eagle Area.
“Last week was rough. We just didn’t show up and play,” Wagner said. “This week, we were a lot more focused at practice, and the guys wanted it a lot more than they did last week.”
The Bearcats, in the running for a District 6 Class AA playoff berth, jumped out to a 28-0 lead and led 35-7 when Hudson Speck connected with Logan Fisher on a 20-yard touchdown pass with just 18.8 seconds left in the half. In spite of Wagner’s absence, Huntingdon brought the running-clock rule into play as Noah Glenny scored from 4 yards away at the 3:04 mark of the second quarter.
Huntingdon improved to 3-3 in league action. P-O, under first-year coach Mike Soyster, was left still seeking its first win after eight starts and fell to 0-6 in the Mountain League.
“It’s frustrating,” Soyster said of falling behind early. “We’re learning to play football hard. The No. 1 rule playing defense is wrapping up a guy and making a tackle. That’s been our problem all year and something as a coaching staff we have to focus on and taking advantage of opportunities.
Soyster pulled out all the stops, onside kicking to start the game and trying two fake punts, including one that succeeded but was negated by a penalty in the first quarter.
Huntingdon recovered the onside kick. On the very next play, Wagner bobbled the handoff and appeared dead to rights about 7 yards in the backfield.
However, the crafty 5-foot-10, 175-pounder got outside, weaved around, broke a couple of tackles and burst to the end zone for a 55-yard scoring run just 18 seconds into the game. He later added a 29-yard gallop to set up his own 6-yard scoring run and set up Oliver’s first TD on a 35-yard scamper.
Wagner said he remembered the Bearcats recovering the opening kickoff, those first three touchdowns and putting a big hit on Mountie quarterback Jacob Anderson. The rest was hazy.
“He’s the guy that leads by example,” Huntingdon coach Mike Hudy said of Wagner. “They (the Bearcats) all look up to him because he’s a heck of a football player.”
Huntingdon hasn’t had problems scoring this season, but stopping opponents has been another story. Last week, BEA rolled up 309 yards on the ground in its 32-12 upset win, the fourth time this year Huntingdon has given up 300 yards or more rushing in a game.
However, the Bearcats limited P-O to 130 yards on the ground and 263 yards total. Anderson ran for 99 yards on 19 carries and scored both Mountie touchdowns.
“The front three, we all pushed the line very well tonight, especially Dillon Isenberg. He really stepped up tonight,” said Bearcat Leif Brown, who had a couple of tackles for loss and batted down a pass. “We came out and had some livelihood. Last week, we were flat and didn’t have any emotion.”
Huntingdon just missed the playoffs last year. The Bearcats control their own destiny to make the postseason this year.
“I think that’s the motivation for the whole team,” Wagner said. “Everyone wants to make the playoffs after getting cut short last year.”
Game notes: It was senior night for Philipsburg-Osceola, which plays its last two games on the road. … The Mounties played without leading receiver Tanner Lamb, who appeared to be limping slightly during pregame. … Huntingdon hosts Central next week, while P-O travels to Clearfield. Both of those games will be on Friday night.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Huntingdon14 21 7 0 – 42
Philipsburg-Osceola 0 7 0 6 – 13
H-Wagner 55 run (Heaton kick), 11:42.
H-Wagner 6 run (Heaton kick), 6:58.
H-Oliver 2 run (Heaton kick), 10:54.
H-Oliver 2 run (Heaton kick), 7:59.
PO-Anderson 17 run (Boumerhi kick), 3:26.
H-Fisher 20 pass from H. Speck (Heaton kick), 0:18.8.
H-Glenny 4 run (Heaton kick), 3:04.
PO-Anderson 1 run (pass failed), 4:45.
RUSHING: Huntingdon-Wagner 8-149, Glenny 8-49, H. Speck 8-34, Fisher 4-36, Fowler 2-6, Oliver 3-4, Baney 1-(-7). Philipsburg-Osceola-Anderson 19-99, Hawkins 8-28, Laird 3-5, Hughes 3-5, Boumerhi 1-(-4), TEAM 1-(-3).
PASSING: Huntingdon-H. Speck 3-3-0-73. Philipsburg-Osceola-Anderson 10-20-0-133.
RECEIVING: Huntingdon-Fisher 3-73. Philipsburg-Osceola-Hughes 4-17, Moore 3-40, Kost 2-42, Hawkins 1-34.
INTERCEPTIONS: Huntingdon-none. Philipsburg-Osceola-none.