Panthers knock out Eagles
By John Hartsock
TYRONE — Penn Cambria coach Nick Felus had a message for his players entering Friday night’s District 6 Class 3A semifinal playoff game with Tyrone at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field.
The Panthers had come close to upsetting Tyrone in last season’s playoffs, but didn’t make quite enough plays to seal the deal.
Felus urged his team to remedy that situation in Friday night’s rematch, which the Panthers won, 45-21.
“In last year’s playoff game with Tyrone, we just didn’t make enough plays,” Felus said. “One of our keys tonight was to finish the game. That’s what our players had in mind — that they were going to finish the game. And they did.”
Leading only 24-21 early in the fourth quarter, Penn Cambria pulled away with three straight touchdowns on a run of 19 yards by junior quarterback Garrett Harrold, a run of four yards by junior running back Zach Grove, and a 15-yard interception return for a touchdown by freshman Gavin Harrold to win going away in a game that was much closer than the final score might indicate.
Penn Cambria rolled up 445 yards in total offense — 267 on the ground and 178 through the air — with Grove rushing for 144 yards on 21 carries and four touchdowns, and Garrett Harrold rushing for 97 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown, while completing 18 of 20 passes for 178 yards and another score.
Penn Cambria (6-5) will meet undefeated Central next Friday or Saturday at Mansion Park in the District 6 Class 3A title game.
Play of the game: After Penn Cambria had broken out to an 18-0 second-quarter lead, Tyrone rallied back and closed the gap to within 24-21 after three quarters. Early in the fourth quarter, Penn Cambria had a fourth-and-two situation at the Tyrone 28 when Grove bulldozed up the middle nine yards for a first down to the Tyrone 28. On the very next play, Garrett Harrold swept left end for a 19-yard touchdown run to help Penn Cambria to a 31-21 lead with 9:33 remaining.
Players of the game: The 6-foot-3 Harrold had another monster night on offense, and Grove provided a valuable, much-needed complement with his hard-nosed running through the middle of the field.
Unsung heroes: Penn Cambria’s offensive line dominated the trenches late in the game. “In the second half, our offensive line took over, giving us some room to run the ball,” Felus said.
Most vital statistics: Penn Cambria was extremely balanced in compiling its 445 total yards. Tyrone freshman quarterback Ashton Walk threw for 175 yards and three touchdowns on 10 completions, but the Golden Eagles’ rushing game was held to only 28 yards.
Felus: “We’ve battled through some adversity these last few weeks, and we did again tonight, but our players are a resilient group, and they never hit the panic button. This is a big win for our program, and a big win for our community.”
Tyrone coach John Franco: “We battled and made a good comeback, but we couldn’t stop their running game in the fourth quarter, and that’s what did us in.”
Garrett Harrold: “Our guys up front were bulldozing and really pounding away. That really helped our running game, and allowed our receivers room to get into space. We all have each other’s backs. When the game was in the balance, we weren’t going to fold. We stuck together and played our game.”
Grove: “We came into this game knowing that we had a good team, and knowing that we had a good chance to win. Our offensive line did a great job tonight.”
Notable: En route to building its 18-0 second-quarter lead, Penn Cambria converted a Tyrone fumble and a recovery by junior Luke Shuagis on the opening kickoff into a quick 4-yard touchdown run by Grove. Penn Cambria scored on its next possession when Garrett Harrold scrambled out of trouble on fourth down and lofted a 14-yard pass that Shuagis made an acrobatic grab of in the back of the end zone. Penn Cambria made it 18-0 early in the second quarter when Garrett Harrold’s 27-yard run set up Grove’s 16-yard TD run up the middle. … Tyrone responded with two touchdowns to close the gap to 18-14 at halftime, with Walk throwing a 10-yard scoring pass to junior Ross Gampe and a 4-yard touchdown pass to senior Corrie Beck. … Grove’s 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter put Penn Cambria up, 24-14, but Tyrone closed to within 24-14 later in the period when Walk hit Gampe with a 24-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone. … Penn Cambria senior standout fullback-linebacker Zach Eckenrode left the game with a lower leg injury late in the fourth quarter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Zach — he’s one of our brothers,” Felus said. “We’re hoping for a good outcome for him.” … Tyrone made the playoffs this season, finishing 5-6 despite being tasked with replacing most of its key players from last year’s team. “We had a very young team, and it’s a good experience for them to get into the playoffs,” Franco said.
Records: Penn Cambria (6-5); Tyrone (5-6).
Next week: Penn Cambria plays Central for the district title. Tyrone is finished.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penn Cambria 12 6 6 21–45
Tyrone 0 14 7 0–21
PC–Grove 4 run (kick failed), 10:52.
PC–Shuagis 14 pass from Gar. Harrold (pass failed), 1:10.
PC–Grove 16 run (run failed), 7:17.
T–Gampe 10 pass from A. Walk (Gwinn kick), 5:54.
T–Beck 4 pass from A. Walk (Gwinn kick), 3:34.
PC–Grove 17 run (run failed), 8:09.
T–Gampe 24 pass from A. Walk (Gwinn kick), 6:30.
PC–Gar. Harrold 19 run (Noel kick), 9:33.
PC–Grove 4 run (Noel kick), 7:08.
PC–Gav. Harrold 15 interception return (Noel kick), 6:59.
TEAM STATISTICS PC T
First downs 23 10
Total yards 445 203
Rushes-yards 48-267 18-28
Yards passing 178 175
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 18-20-0 10-20-0
Punts-avg. 1-39 3-23.7
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 9-90 1-15
RUSHING–Penn Cambria,Grove 21-144, Gar. Harrold 17-97, Eckenrode 7-32, Gav. Harrold 1-4, TEAM 2-(-10). Tyrone, Beck 4-12, Ronan 5-8, A. Walk 8-7, LeGars 1-1.
PASSING–Penn Cambria, Gar. Harrold 19-21-0-178. Tyrone, A. Walk 10-20-1-175.
RECEIVING–Penn Cambria, Gav. Harrold 6-32, Shuagis 4-69, Chirdon 3-25, Grove 3-16, Eckenrode 2-16, Eberhart 1-6. Tyrone, Beck 5-62, Gampe 3-70, Rhoades 1-36, Ronan 1-7.