Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 26, 2002 · Page 15
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 15

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Saturday, October 26, 2002
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classifieds 3 »XT»«-*«»-««4» H « jj - kmr'"- joSSi Classifieds inside Saturday, October 26, 2002 — Page 15 Giants aiming to finish off Angels. Page 18. Perfect Bobcats roll to victory, wrap up unbeaten regular season By JOHN B. SMATHERS Gazette Sports Writer BLAIRSVILLE — The Blairsville Bobcats used the most available and appropriate material they could find Friday night at Memorial Stadium to write a brief summation of their 2002 regular season. The muddy handwriting was on the wall outside the Blairsville locker room. It read "9-0." And why mud? It was cheap, dark, very spreadable and just the right consistency. But most significantly, it was everywhere, sort of Blairsviile 42, Laurel Valley 6 Turning point —Laurel Valley's punting game misfired in the first quarter, resulting in a partial block, a bad snap and a full block and setting the stage for two Blairsviile touchdowns. Key stats — Blairsville rushed for 308 yards and held Laurel Valley to minus-5 rushing yards and 29 total yards. Team records — Blairsville 9-0, Laurel Valley 5-4. Quotable — Blairsville coach Ab Dettorre: "We felt getting out to a lead in a hurry was large. We felt that while the ball was still dry, it was time to make our move, I would have hated to be behind in the second half when you know you have to put the ball up and the terrain was so terrible." Next game — Blairsville plays host to Portage on Friday in the first round of the District 5-6 Class A playoffs. Dunlap carries Troj ans to win By MATTHEW BURG LUND Gazette Sports Writer SALTSBURG — It was a dark and stormy night. While that phrase might not have worked for the cartoon dog Snoopy when he tried to write a novel, it perfectly described the football game between Saltsburg and Purchase Line on Friday night. Dan Dunlap rushed for 190 yards, and Greg Ewing came up with a couple big plays to lead the Trojans to a 26-12 win at Memorial Field. Thanks to a steady downpour throughout the game, the field turned to a sloppy mess that limited what the teams could do. "The conditions definitely changed what we were able to do, but I thought we played a good game," said Purchase Line coach Dave Small. "Tonight was a real gutsy effort by my kids. They could have come out here and laid down, but they didn't." "It was like backyard football," said Dunlap. "That stuff was really deep, and it made it hard to do anything." The problem for Purchase Line was that the Trojans made key plays when they had to, taking advantage of mistakes and capitalizing for their second win in three weeks. "When you go in against somebody who has been down as long as we have, you know you're in for a tough one," said Saltsburg coach Glenn Richards. "Our kids came out tonight and played hard, and they didn't give up. I can't say how proud I am of these kids." The win was the Trojans' third of the year, marking the first time since 1996 that the team won more than two games. "It was good just to get a win," said Ewing, who passed for 89 yards in only his fourth start under center. "I don't care who it was against." Although Ewing's passing ability like the Blairsville defense, which covered the Laurel Valley Rams even more thoroughly than the muck in a messy 42-6 romp for the Bobcats in Heritage Conference action. Blairsville's dominating defense, the messy conditions and the absence of Laurel Valley backs Ray- Shetler and Oscar Boring combined to leave the Rams with a paltry minus-5 rushing yards and just 29 total yards. It's the second lowest total yardage gained against Blairsville since Ab Dettorre took over as coach in 1987 (Saltsburg managed only 22 yards earlier this year). Blairsville did not allow a rushing first down and stopped Laurel Valley for no gain or a loss on 12 of 23 rushing plays. The defense was overwhelming, but the offense and special teams also dominated, as the Bobcats kept their record clean for the first time since 1995. "They were all tough," said Dettorre of Blairsville's nine wins. "I think at times, every team we played was tough. I think it speaks well for our conference. There was a lot of good football seen on this field this year. (Next week) will be the first time Blairsville plays a sixth home game." The 9-0 mark assured Blairsville of a home game in the first round of the District 5-6 Class A playoffs next week. The Bobcats finished second in the district rankings, which should pit them against the No. 7-ranked Portage Mustangs next Friday (7 p.m.). It will be the first home playoff game in the history of the school. On the offensive side, the Blairsville running game continued to roll, accumulating 308 rushing yards and 15 First downs. Quarterback Casey Austin rushed for 100 Blairsville's Jay Boone (20) broke up a pass intended for Laurel Valley's Jon Mat son. yards and three touchdowns to go with one passing touchdown. Wingback Jay Boone and fullback Mike Gaston combined for another 169 yards. Laurel Valley coach Jerry Page was not surprised. "We had a pretty good idea what they do, and it was just a matter of executing," said Page. "It doesn't matter if people know what you're doing if you execute, and they executed well." The offensive performance marked one of the best performances yet by Blairsville's offensive line, anchored by seniors Clint Forsha (guard), Don Glass (guard), Craig Bukosky (center) and Luke Drenning (tight end). "They have been coming on ail year," said Dettorre, who credited assistant coach Jim Meighan with the line's development. "You're looking at a line that sometimes has two sophomores and a junior. But I think it all hinges around the four seniors. Luke is tremendously improved over last year and his maturity is awesome. Clinton may well one of the best offensive linemen to put this uniform on. And Craig — and if you ask him, he'll tell you secretly — has worked his entire life just to play and be the leader he is. Add Don in there and that's a formidable wall." Dettorre wanted to get off to fast start against the Rams. Normally, mat means big plays on defense and offense, but special teams played a big role in three of Blairsville's four first-half touchdowns. Blairsville partially blocked Laurel Valley's first punt early in the first quarter arid Boone returned the 14- yard kick 21 yards to Laurel Valley's 27. Blairsville failed to score, but the play set the tone for the rest of the {Gazette photo by Jamie Isenberg) game. A high snap on the Rams' next punt attempt resulted in an 18-yard loss to the Rams' 20, and Blairsville scored three plays later on a 1-yard dive by Austin. Kevin Garland punched through the first of six extra-point kicks to give Blairsville all the points it would need. A blocked punt by Forsha set up another 1-yard score by Austin on the last play of the first quarter. The drive covered just 21 yards on five plays. Continued on page 16 IHS can't stop Foxes on run Saltsburg's Dan Dunlap rushed for 190 yards in leading Saltsburg to its second victory in three games. (Gazette photo by Michael Henninger) kept the Red Dragons honest, his key contribution came on defense. With his team leading 7-6 in the second quarter, Ewing stripped the ball from Purchase Line's Nick Engle and rambled 62 yards for a touchdown. The touchdown came on the play after Engle had scored on a 43-yard run, only to have the run called back because of a penalty on Purchase Line. • "We lost six points off the board on that play," said Sinall. "That penalty took away the score, then Ewing makes a nice play and turns the whole thing around. That changed the momentum a lot. That was a big play." Ewing said Engle stuck the ball out in the open, and he just took advantage of the mistake. Saltsburg 26, Purchase Line 12 Turning point — With Saitsburg leading 7-6, Purchase Line's Nick Engle broke free for a 43-yard touchdown run. But an illegal block negated the play. On the next play, Saltsburg's Greg Ewing stripped the ball from Engle and raced 62 yards for a touchdown and a 14-6 lead. Team records — Purchase Line 18, Saltsburg 3-6. Key stats — Saltsburg outgained Purchaso Line 284-135. The Red Dragons managed only 11 yards passing to the Trojans' 89. In four games as the starting quarterback, Ewing threw for 518 yards and four touchdowns. Quotable — Ewing: "It was good just to get a win. I don't care who it was against." Next game — Purchase Line plays host to West Branch on Friday. "I pulled it right out of his hands and just started running," Ewing said. "I got real tired. I was just running hard and looking at the end zone, and I kept thinking not to slow down." Ewing's passing ability put the Trojans on the board in the second quarter. After Engle's 5-yard run gave Purchase Line a 6-0 lead, Ewing connected with Rick Spallone on a 55- yard touchdown pass. Ewing was moved to quarterback three games ago when the Trojans were 1-4 and seemingly going nowhere. In four starts, he passed for 518 yards and four touchdowns. Richards said he wanted to move Ewing to quarterback a couple years ago, but he second-guessed himself and didn't make the move until this year. "It's hard to say what that kid could have done two years ago when I had the hunch to move him," Richards said. "This year, I've learned to go with my instincts. I've been here too long to not trust myself." Another move Richards made was to make Dunlap — a versatile 160- pound lineman — a running back, after a number of injuries depleted the Trojans'backfield. The senior gained a career-high 190 yards on 22 carries, and his 36- and 54-yard touchdown runs in the fourth quarter sealed the win. "I can't say anything more about him except that he's a true leader," said Richards. "It couldn't happen to a better kid. For a long time we didn't know where to put him, but we moved him back there when some other kids got injured, and look at what he did." Despite the muddy conditions, Dunlap dashed his way to the Trojans' first 100-yard rushing game of the season. "It was really hard to run the ball, but the credit goes to the linemen," he said. "I played on the line, and I know how hard it is. These guys did a great job, and I know it wasn't easy. "Tonight was the time of my life. AH season long we've been waiting for this, and now it's here. It's indescribable." Although the Trojans won two of their final three games, Richards said he was disappointed to see the season end. A play here and (here that didn't go the Trojans' way could have changed everything, he suggested. "We're only 3-6, but that's better that what we've been lately. It's almost like a winning season for us," he said. "I'm happy, but I'm not real happy. We're 3-6, but we could have been 4-5 or 5-4. There were a couple games we were in that I think we could have won." By BILL BALINT Gazette Sports Writer It was not a night fit for the passing game, but Fox Chapel standout receiver Stan Maiyszka wasn't about to get a breather. One injury placed Maiyszka in the backfield for Friday night's game with Indiana, and a second put him back there as the Foxes pounded the Indians 35-20 under brutal weather conditions in a WPIAL Quad-A non- conference game. "We felt like if we weren't going to throw, the next best thing was to get Stan the ball as a running back," said second-year Fox Chapel coach Todd Massack. "He's one of our playmak- ers, and we wanted to gel him the bail." Maiyszka got the hall 20 times in his debut as a tailback in the Foxes' Power-I formation, and he recorded two key touchdowns and 116 yards rushing. Maiyszka, a Division I prospect at defensive back, also picked off a pass to end Indiana's last real threat. The absence of veteran runner Jim Goerss (hand injury} opened that spot for Maiyszka, who was supposed to spell Cyrus Serrao. The pair split duties until Serrao suffered an ankle sprain during the second half after having gained a game-high 159 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. "Our three backs tonight were all over 200 pounds with Stan in the game," said Massack, whose squad will open the WPIAL Quad A playoffs next week. "We wanted to line up in our power offense and control the football." Indiana was unable to consistently operate its option offense effectively in the muddy conditions. The Indians gained 168 yards rushing, but 111 of Jhose came in the first quarter before conditions rapidly deteriorated. Indiana quarterback Jason Shirey gained 95 yards on his first two carries, scoring one touchdown and setting up another during a wild first 10 minutes that included four scores. But Shirey was held to negative-4 yards on his final 10 carries. Overall, the Indiana offense committed three turnovers and managed four first downs after the first quarter. "We are disappointed," said Indiana coach Mark Zilinskas, whose team fell short of Indiana High's first three-game winning streak since 1998. "But the kids played hard and didn't quit." It was clear Indiana's undersized defense would fight an uphill battle once weather conditions relegated Fox Chapel's offense to a pure power game. "It is tough on us to play a team with that style of offense," said Zilin- Fox Chapel 35, Indiana 20 Turning point — Fox Chapel's Scott Fortune returned the second- half kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown to give the winners some much-needed breathing room after having taken a 20-14 lead into the half. •Key stats — Fox Chapei ran 53 plays from scrimmage, excluding punts, and did not attempt a pass. The Foxes gained 272 yards rushing, including 116 yards from Stan Maiyszka. who was converted from wide receiver this week when standout Jim Goerss was lost to injury. Team records — Fox Chapel 6-3, Indiana 2-7. Quotable — Indiana High coach Mark Zilinskas on the treacherous field conditions that hampered his team's outside running game: "The weather took us out of a lot of our offense, while Fox Chapel could keep running what they've done all year. They were playing on the same field, but running side-to-side in our offense was impossible." Next week — Indiana plays host to Trinity on Friday. skas. "But we kept slugging it out, and I thought our conditioning was great. Our guys weren't even tired when the game ended." However, Zilinskas is tired of struggles in the kicking game. The Indians had been susceptible to long kickoff returns early in the season and had been using either squib or on-side kicks instead. All of that changed on Friday as Indiana tried to kick the ball deep on several occasions. One of those longer boots was the second-haif kickoff fielded by Fox Chapel's Scott Fortune with the Foxes holding a 20-14 advantage. Fortune darted across the mud to his own sideline and then sprinted home from there for an 82-yard scoring play to begin the second half. "The kickoff has hounded us all year," said Zilinskas, whose squad also tried a pair of unsuccessful onside kicks. "We focused on it this week, but we had a breakdown and they had someone make a play." Fortune's return opened a 28-14 lead for the visitors and changed the face of the second half. Indiana's defense halted Fox Chapel twice in the second quarter and had begun to gain confidence following three impressive scoring drives early. "That certainly was a momentum- builder for us," said Massack. "We had said at halftime how important Continued on page 16

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