CLARION — It\’s doubtful any Pennsylvania schoolboy football team\’s season has or will end in more heart-breaking fashion than District 9 Class A champion Coudersport\’s did Friday night at Clarion University\’s Memorial Stadium.
After taking an 8-6 lead with just 34 seconds remaining on Boomer Wetzel\’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Brett Whitman and two-point conversion pass to John Hau, the Falcons were stunned when West Middlesex quarterback Kolton Hoffman completed a \”Hail Mary\” pass to Tyler Barris for a 34-yard touchdown as time expired.
Hoffman, who was on crutches after the game because of an ankle injury he suffered late in the fourth quarter, had given the Big Reds a 6-0 lead with a 21-yard TD aerial to Steve Andrusky late in the third quarter.
The defensive battle between the 13-0 teams produced 14 punts, eight by Coudersport.
The Falcons didn\’t cross midfield until the final two minutes of the third period and were on the verge of being shut out until Logan Hathaway\’s second interception thwarted a West Middlesex drive with 2:12 left and Wetzel orchestrated the nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive. The key gainer was a pass to Chris Cavallari for 52 yards on third-and-16 from the Coudy 15.
The Falcons left too much time on the clock, however, as the Big Reds covered 68 yards in 28 seconds after the ensuing kickoff.
West Middlesex, the District 10 champion, will meet District 7 kingpin Clairton in the Western Final next weekend. Clairton also is 14-0 after ousting District 5 champion Meyersdale 34-14 Friday night.
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GREENSBURG — Gusty winds that constantly were more than 35 miles per hour reduced the PIAA Class AA quarterfinal between Brookville of District 9 and Jeannette of District 7 to a duel of running attacks, and the WPIAL champion Jayhawks had the better one Friday night at Offutt Stadium.
Jeannette (13-1) rushed for 347 yards and kept Brookville\’s pair of 1,000-yard backs, Max Kutz and Joe Galbraith, in check through three quarters en route to a 32-7 victory for a berth in the Western Final against undefeated Wilmington.
The Raiders managed only 22 yards and one first down in the first half and wound up with a season-low 193 yards, 103 coming on their final two drives against the Jayhawks\’ second defensive unit. Brookville, which had won 10 games in a row, finished 11-2.
Star quarterback Terrell Pryor, a 6-6, 220-pound junior paced Jeannette\’s three-pronged attack with 172 yards. He carried 11 times for 95 yards and one touchdown, passed for 36 yards and caught a pass for a 41-yard TD the last play of the first half to give the Jayhawks a 19-0 lead.
Jordan Hall rushed 16 times for 118 yards and two TDs, a 24-yarder in the second period and a 22-yarder in the third quarter, while Jerry Harris had 11 carries for 106 yards and one TD, a three-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Jacob Means scored the Brookville TD on an 11-yard run with 3:34 remaining.
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SLIPPERY ROCK — District 6 champion Bishop McCort won the battle of statistics but District 10 champion Wilmington, coached by 1965 Curwensville Joint High School graduate Terry Verrelli, walked away from Slippery Rock University\’s Kerr Thompson Stadium with a 13-6 PIAA Class AA quarterfinal victory Friday night.
The Crushers, who sported a 177-54 bulge in total offense in the first half and 277-189 for the game, had the \’Hounds Hammer defense reeling with two drives in the first period. The first, covering 59 yards in 13 plays, took 6:54 off the clock and resulted in a one-yard touchdown by Scott Lewis, who finished with 162 yards foe 32 carries.
Following a fumble recover at midfield, the Crushers mounted another drive and would have had the Greyhounds in a two-TD hole except for a holding penalty that wiped out a 17-yard scoring run. Wilmington then held on downs.
A blocked punt gave the Greyhounds a great scoring opportunity at the BM-3 in the second quarter, but they fumbled the ball away. However, Crusher coach Ken Salem gambled on fourth-and-nine from the 10, but Wilmington wasn\’t fooled by the fake punt. Four plays after the Greyhounds gained possession at the 15, quarterback Jake Reiber scored on a one-yard sneak. Nick Riggall\’s PAT put them in front 7-6 with 1:43 remaining in the half.
Wilmington (14-0) had only 55 yards of offense when Chris Burns broke off a 63-yard run for the insurance touchdown in the third quarter.
Bishop McCort (11-2), which got 69 yards on 18 carries from Brad Barbin, ran 77 plays to Wilmington\’s 34 and had a 16-6 advantage in first downs. The Greyhounds, who attempted only one pass, were led by Burns, whose 115 yards for 16 caries made him the first back to top the century mark against the Crushers\’ defense this season. Bishop McCort quarterback Jordan DeFrances hit only three of 17 aerials for 59 yards.
Next up for the Greyhounds is District 7 champion Jeannette.
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ALTOONA — Josh Kleinfelter ran for 240 yards and four touchdowns to lead District 6 champion Bellwood-Antis to a surprising 28-8 PIAA Class A quarterfinal win over Steelton-Highspire of District 3 Friday night at wind-swept Mansion Park.
Kleinfelter, who carried 36 times, started the scoring with a four-yard TD with 7:00 left in the second quarter and added TDs of 21, 3 and 10 yards in the second half as he rushed past the 2,000-yard mark for the second year in a row. He has more than 5,000 rushing yards and 79 touchdowns for his career.
The Blue Devils (11-2), who had never won a PIAA playoff game before, had 312 yards rushing and 19 first downs. They did not complete any of their five passes. On defense, they limited the Rollers to 135 yards while intercepting four passes and recovering one fumble.
Steel-High (11-3) lost running back Jeremiah Young due to a shoulder injury in the second quarter. The super soph carried nine times for 35 yards to reach the 2,000-yard plateau.
The Rollers, who had only one first down in the second half, scored with 7:38 remaining on an eight-yard pass from Andre Campbell to Jordan Hill.
Bellwood-Antis has the unenviable assignment of taking on four-time defending champion Southern Columbia (14-0) in the Eastern Final. The District 4 champions will be striving to reach the PIAA title game for the 13th time in 14 years.