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Tate runs wild in Golden Eagles triumph over Punxy

When you’ve got a runner the caliber of Tyrone senior Shayne Tate, sometimes finding flaws is a case of nitpicking.
Take last night’s game against Punxsutawney at LeMarca Stadium, for example. Sure, Tate ran for a career-high 282 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries, but his yards per carry average just plummeted after Tyrone’s second series.
Of course, when you’re averaging just over 85 yards per carry after your first two touches, it’s not easy to sustain that kind of momentum.
Tate had 171 yards and two touchdowns after his first two carries and the Golden Eagles had a 14-0 lead by the 5:38 mark of the first quarter on their way to a 28-7 win over the ‘Chucks to improve to 6-0 on the season.
The victory allowed the Eagles to tie the Tyrone school record for consecutive regular season victories at 29. Tyrone’s last loss outside of the playoffs was to Philipsburg-Osceola on September 30, 2004 at Memorial Stadium.
And it just so happens the Eagles’ next opponent is P-O next Friday at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field on Homecoming. It’s a game that has been on people’s minds for weeks, and one the Eagles are glad to finally focus on.
\”That’s definitely our biggest game of the season,\” said Tate, who now has 986 yards on 106 carries. \”We knew we had Punxsy this week, and we couldn’t overlook them, but now we can focus on P-O. We want to do our best.\”
And while tying a school record that dates back to the years just after World War II (1946-1949) is special, Tate said the Eagles aren’t celebrating just yet.
\”It’s great to have the record and to be undefeated so far, but we’re not happy with it,\” Tate said. \”We want an undefeated season. For seniors like Josh (Bradley) and Shane (Emigh) and Brock (Anders) and me, we’ve never lost a regular season game before, and we want to keep it that way.\”
It won’t be easy against the Mounties, who suffered their first loss of the season last night, 13-10 in double overtime to Penns Valley. The Eagles won’t only have to deal with the most versatile offense on their schedule playing with a chip on its shoulder, but they’ll have some kinks of their own to iron out, according to Tyrone coach John Franco.
\”It’s almost like the worst thing you can do is break the first two plays for touchdowns,\” Franco said. \”No matter how hard you tell them, they let up, and part of that is my responsibility for not having them ready.\”
That hardly sounds like a coach whose team just won by three touchdowns and accumulated its highest single-game yardage total of the season, but, truth be told, the Eagles of the second half bore little resemblance to the team that went up 21-0 by halftime.
The second half started with the ‘Chucks recovering an on sides kick at the Tyrone 46-yard line. Punxsy (0-5) then drove nine plays for a score, converting once on fourth-and-6 and scoring on a 7-yard run by Zach Smith on third-and-goal from the 7.
\”We told the kick return team to expect an on sides kick, we set up our return in the locker room and practiced it, but when we went out there we had five sophomores playing and their eyes got as big as deer in headlights,\” said Franco.
The Eagles answered with a 56-yard drive to reclaim a 21-point lead, using eight running plays to cover the distance. Tate scored his fourth touchdown o a nine-yard run at the 2:49 mark.
But Punxsy linebacker Kyle Steffey intercepted Levi Reihart on Tyrone’s next possession and returned it to the Eagles’ 31. The ‘Chucks drove to the Tyrone 3 before Smith was stuffed for no gain on second down. On third down, Jesse walk broke through the Punxsy line to stop Andrew Furman for a 1-yard loss. Then, on fourth-and-goal from the four, Smith hit Justin Mock in the flat, but he was ripped down from behind by Tate at the 1.
Punxsy gained 106 of its 170 total yards in the third and fourth quarters.
\”We came out flat in the second half,\” Franco said.
Still, it wasn’t all bad for the Eagles, who piled up 413 yards, 387 of which came on the ground. Tyrone had zero plays for negative yards, while dropping six in Punxsy’s backfield. Tyrone also went without a pre-snap offensive penalty for the second straight week.
\”I would rather play great,\” said Franco when asked if an off-performance could motivate his team heading into its Nittany Division showdown with P-O. \”When you play lousy, you just play lousy. But we’re still working to establish our offense.\”
Punxsutawney coach Blake Moilan thought the Eagles looked pretty good, starting with Tate.
\”What can you say?\” Moilan said. \”We do a good job pinning them at the 3, and he breaks off a 97-yard run. He does a great job filling in for Johnny Franco.\”
Another game like last night might have people forgetting that Tate was a receiver as recently as seven weeks ago. Tate had five runs over 10 yards and five others that went for eight or nine while compiling the highest single-game rushing total at Tyrone since 2004.
\”They’re all pretty easy when you get to run through a hole that wide,\” said Tate. \”My line did a great job, and so did the receivers and backs blocking down field.\”
On his first touchdown, Tate burst through a massive hole on the right side of Tyrone’s line and then used a burst of speed to split Punxsy’s secondary on his way to a 74-yard touchdown.
Tyrone got the ball back at its own 3 after Bobby Wingert booted a 45-yard punt. On a sweep to the left, Tate broke containment and outran two defenders off the corner for a 97-yard touchdown, the Eagles’ longest since Johnny Franco broke off a 98-yarder against Bishop Guilfoyle last season.
\”Shayne Tate is just a great football player,\” said Franco. \”He makes plays, and he definitely sparked us tonight.\”
Tate’s third touchdown came on the Eagles final drive of the first half, capping an 11-play, 63-yard drive. Johnny Shaffer got it going with a 16-yard reception, and later the Eagles converted on third-and-long when Reihart found Shane Emigh for a 12-yard hook-up. Tate capped the drive with a 9-yard run.
\”You hope you get a lot of points early and then you can get guys out … but you’re caught between a rock and a hard place,\” Franco said. \”You want big plays, but you would also like to have some 8-10 play drives so you can get a rhythm going. We did that eventually.\”
GRID TIDBITS: Matt Murray had two sacks … Furman finished with 143 yards of total offense with 94 receiving yards and 47 rushing yards … Tyrone has scored at least three touchdowns in each of its last three games … Punxsy has not scored more than one touchdown since Week 3 … Shaffer and Kegan Fink also had sacks for the Eagles.
TYRONE 28 PUNXSUTAWNEY 7
TYRONE 14 7 7 0 – 28
PUNXSUTAWNEY 0 0 7 0 – 7
First Quarter
T – Tate 74 run (Shaffer kick) 9:25
T – Tate 97 run (Shaffer kick) 5:38
Second Quarter
T – Tate 9 run (Shaffer kick) 1:32
Third Quarter
P – Smith 7 run (Wingert kick) 6:49
T – Tate 9 run (Shaffer kick) 2:49
Team Statistics
T P
1st Downs 17 12
Yards Rushing 387 59
Pass Att.-Comp. 5-9 10-15
Yards Passing 26 111
Total Offense 413 170
Int. By 0 2
Fum. Rec. 1-0 1-0
Punts-Avg. 0-0 5-39.8
Penalties/Yards 3-30 4-30
Individual Statistics
RUSHING
TYRONE – Tate 15-282; Mingle 9-62; Walk 4-21; Emigh 1-7; Reihart 2-5; Stansbury 4-5; Gault 1-5.
PUNXSUTAWNEY- Furman 14-47; Decker 6-23; Smith 13-10; Wehrle 2-2.
PASSING
TYRONE- Reihart 5-9-26, 0 TD, 2 Int.
PUNXSUTAWNEY- Smith 10-14-111, 0 TD, 0 Int.; Pennington 0-1-0.
RECEIVING
TYRONE – Shaffer 1-16; Emigh 3-5; Walk 1-5.
PUNXSUTAWNEY- Furman 8-94; Dukes 1-14; Mock 1-3.