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Eagles stage last minute score to upend pesky Mounties, Reihart, Tate pass Tyrone to fourth-quarter victory

Action in the trenches Although running backs and quarterbacks would go nowhere without them, the line seldom gets any notice, except when they commit a penalty. Golden Eagles Josh Bradley (53) and Jarrod Good hold their own in this scrum during Tyrone’s 14-13 triumph over Philipsburg-Osceola at Gray-Vets Memorial Field on Friday night. (The Daily Herald/Steve Michaels)

So here the Tyrone Golden Eagles were, in a situation you knew was coming somewhere along the road of a 10-game regular season: down 13-7 to Philipsburg-Osceola with 2:30 left on the clock, in a game that meant sole possession of first place in the MAC Nittany Division, and starting their final drive at their own 33-yard line.
At quarterback – a sophomore who was experiencing the crunch a do or die drive for the first time.
What was Levi Reihart thinking?
\”Basically, not to go out there and lose the game,\” Reihart said. \”I know we have big play-makers on this team. I just wanted to go out there and get them the ball and let them do it, and not try to win it myself.\”
But Reihart did win it when he pulled in a halfback throwback pass from Shayne Tate and ran 10 yards for a touchdown with 15.9 seconds remaining. Johnny Shaffer came on and calmly split the uprights to give the Golden Eagles a miraculous 14-13 victory.
For a kid whose only varsity experience before this season was as a punter in 2006, this Reihart kid is pretty cool under pressure. But ironically, it was Tate who came up with the biggest throws on the game-winning drive. Along with his touchdown toss to Reihart, Tate also completed a 27-yard halfback pass to Shaffer on second-and-10 from the Tyrone 33 to set the Eagles up at P-O’s 40.
It’s enough to make you wonder: is there anything Tate can’t do? After moving from receiver to running back in Week 1 to replace the injured Johnny Franco, Tate used last night’s game against the Mounties to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark – he now has rushed for 1,078 yards on 126 carries – account for 142 yards in total offense, and complete two of the Eagles’ biggest passes this season.
\”We practice (the throwback pass) at least once a week,\” Tate said. \”If the game comes down to it, coach knows I can step up, and I knew Levi was going to catch it. I had no doubt. Coach said on that drive we were going to score, and we were going to win. We believed it, and we did it.\”
Now 7-0 this season, and in the Nittany Division driver’s seat at 5-0, the Golden Eagles extended their regular-season winning streak to 30 games. That gives the team sole possession of Tyrone’s school record, which it tied last week with a win over Punxsutawney.
More than the victory itself, it was the way it happened that pleased Tyrone coach John Franco.
\”I feel really good for the kids because that’s tough to do,\” Franco said. \”It was extra tough for this group. The thing I liked was that nobody’s head was down when they scored. Nobody was giving up. Everybody was saying we’re going to win this game.\”
The Mounties fell to 4-2 after dropping a second-straight game that came down to the opponent’s last play. Now, P-O coach Jeff Vroman is hoping to keep his team focused on the big picture.
\”We can’t let this get us down,\” Vroman said. \”We have to rebound, and get ready to play Central next week. That’s crucial for the playoffs.\”
For most of the game, P-O had its way with Tyrone’s vaunted defense, which surrendered two scores for the first time this season. The Mounties rushed for 186 yards and out-gained the Eagles 212-201.
But big plays saved the Golden Eagles. Before Tyrone’s last second score, senior Shane Emigh tied the game at 7-7 with a 41-yard touchdown reception from Reihart with 39.6 seconds left in the first half.
\”That was the key to the ball game,\” Vroman said. \”A couple sweep passes and a throwback … that just killed us. What can you say? We did enough to win for 47-and-a-half minutes. That’s not long enough. We have to string together a whole 48 minutes against a good football team.\”
Early on, it was P-O making all the big plays. The Mounties took the opening kick and drove 63 yards in 12 plays for the game’s first touchdown. Fullback Dimitri Sidorick and quarterback Bo Reifer handled most of the load, combining for 35 yards on the ground, but the key to the drive was a 20-yard reception by JD Mason on third-and-9 from the Tyrone 49 that set the Mounties up at the 29.
Sidorick ended the series with a 5-yard run and the Mounties led 7-0 with 5:24 to go in the first quarter.
In response, Tyrone moved the ball 44 yards to the P-O 11, riding the legs of Tate. He carried seven times on the drive, including consecutive carries for 11 and 15 yards, but the march stalled at the Mounties’ 14. From there, Shaffer came up short on a 31-yard field goal attempt, and the Mounties kept their lead.
Tyrone tied the game by moving 71-yards in 8 plays after taking possession with 3:08 left in the first half. Reihart completed a 9-yard pass to Emigh and a 7-yarder to Shaffer, setting the Eagles up at the P-O 41. On third-and-10, Reihart rolled left and unloaded a pass to Emigh, who got behind the coverage. Shaffer’s extra-point tied it at halftime.
The Mounties’ go-ahead drive started at the Tyrone 45 with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter following a short punt by Reihart. P-O used nine running plays to cover the distance, with Sidorick bulling his way for 34 yards. His 1-yard blast with 6:32 to go made it 13-7, but on the PAT attempt, junior Mark Mingle broke through the line and extended himself to block Zac Czap’s kick.
It turned out to be a crucial play.
\”I knew that they knew I was coming through the A-gap,\” Mingle said. \”So what me and Nick Wilson did was disguise the blitz like it was going through the opposite side. When they snapped the ball, I took off through the A-gap and no one touched me. It gave us a big boost of confidence. Our team thrives off that.\”
Even with the boost, Tyrone was going nowhere on its ensuing series. The Eagles went three-plays-and-out and lost 11 yards, including a 5-yard loss when Reihart was sacked on third-and-12.
But P-O did the same when it got the ball back at the 4:53 mark with a chance to run out the clock. On third-and-three at their own 38, the Mounties turned to Sidorick, but he was wrapped up by Josh Bradley for no gain.
The Mounties’ punt put Tyrone at its own 33, but Tyrone got into P-O territory on its second play, Tate’s 27-yard pass to Shaffer. On it, Shaffer snagged the ball between two Mountie defenders and maintained control when he hit the ground.
Later, Tate went 13 yards on a pass from Reihart to set the Eagles up at the P-O 25. Then, on third-and-7, Shaffer pulled in an 8-yard pass to put Tyrone at the 14.
Three plays later, Tate took a pitch moving to his right, stopped on a dime, and hit Reihart in the left flat. Shaffer sealed a defender with a block near the goal line, and Reihart scored to tie it.
\”You can’t run that against a lousy defense,\” Franco said. \”You have to run it against a great defense. They just pursued so well.\”
That put the game on the foot of Shaffer, against a team that had already blocked three kicks this season. But the kick was good, and Tyrone had an improbable 1-point victory.
\”We worked on it all week, and we talked about it all week,\” Franco said of P-O’s knack for blocking kicks. \”We worked really hard at it, and it turned out pretty well.\”
Tate finished the game with 92 yards rushing, while Reihart completed 5 of 12 passes for 71 yards.
Reifer, who came in with over 600 yards passing, attempted only four passes, completing 4. He also rushed for 65 yard on 15 carries.
GRID TIDBITS: Tyrone did not commit a penalty or a turnover … P-O’s only turnover came on the last play of the game, when Ben Ingle picked off a last ditch heave by Reifer … P-O ran 59 offensive plays to Tyrone’s 36 … the Mounties had held Tyrone to three consecutive series without a first down before the game-winning drive … the Eagles host once-beaten Indian Valley next Friday … P-O plays Central.
TYRONE 14 PHILIPSBURG- 13
TYRONE 0 7 0 7 – 14
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 7 0 0 6 – 13
First Quarter
P – Sidorick 5 run (Czap kick) 5:24
Second Quarter
T – Emigh 41 pass from Reihart (Shaffer kick) 39.6
Fourth Quarter
P – Sidorick 1 run (PAT blocked) 6:32
T – Reihart 10 pass from Tate (Shaffer kick) 15.9
Team Statistics
T P
1st Downs 13 12
Yards Rushing 93 187
Pass Att.-Comp. 7-14 2-4
Yards Passing 108 26
Total Offense 201 213
Int. By 1 0
Fum. Rec. 0-0 1-0
Punts-Avg. 4-37.5 4-40.3
Penalties/Yards 0-0 4-20
Individual Statistics
RUSHING
TYRONE – Tate 20-92; Emigh 2-9; Mingle 1-2; Walk 1-1; Reihart 5-(-11).
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA- Reifer 15-65; Sidorick 18-60; Czap 4-38; Lancaste 3-18; Shimmel 4-16; Team 1-(-11).
PASSING
TYRONE- Reihart 5-12-71, 1 TD, 0 Int.; Tate 2-2-37, 1 TD, 0 Int.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA- Reifer 2-4-26.
RECEIVING
TYRONE – Emigh 2-50; Shaffer 3-42; Tate 1-13; Reihart 1-10.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA- Mason 2-26.