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Eagles win battle of gridiron with no touchdowns scored

Some things you may not have expected had you attempted to play out all of the scenarios possible for Tyrone’s game last night against Quad-A giant Central Mountain:
That the Wildcats, averaging over 44 points per game, could be held without a touchdown.
That Tyrone could even stay in the game without scoring one of its own.
That Central Mountain and its dynamic offense could go an entire half – the second – and pick up just one first down.
Something Central Mountain coach Steve Turchetta never expected: that the Golden Eagles – for years the Mountain Athletic Conference’s best rushing team – would spread the field and throw 21 passes.
But there Tyrone was, nursing a three-point lead with under five minutes to play, completing a six-yard pass from Levi Reihart to Johnny Shaffer. On the next play, Jeremy Barlett blasted through the middle for an 11-yard gain.
The Wildcats never saw the ball again.
The Golden Eagles ran out the clock with nine more running plays and one fourth down conversion, and handed Central Mountain its first loss of the season, 6-3, at Hubert Jack Stadium on the campus of Lock Haven University.
And lest you be fooled by the score, it was a game Tyrone dominated on both lines of scrimmage. The Eagles racked up 298 yards of total offense – 169 on the ground – and limited Central Mountain to 97 yards rushing. The ‘Cats managed to gain only 20 of those yards in the second half and finished with 147 yards total.
So while Tyrone wasn’t able to puncture the end zone for the first time since 1994, it did the next best thing, namely keeping Central Mountains’ highly effective weapons off the field by methodically moving the sticks with medium-range passes and punishing runs.
“I figured they knew we had a pretty good run defense, but I didn’t expect them to throw that much or to spread us out as much as they did,” said Turchetta.
With the ‘Cats stacked to obliterate the run up the middle, Reihart picked apart the defense with pinpoint passing to the edges and over the middle to spots blitzing Central Mountain linebackers vacated. He finished the game 15-for-21 for 129 yards and no interceptions, completing 6 to Shaffer for 62 yards.
“What’s funny is – for not scoring a touchdown – I would love to see the time of possession, because we held onto the ball for a long time,” said Tyrone coach John Franco. “We made some crucial third downs, John Shaffer did an excellent job, and Levi really came through in the clutch.”
Shaffer played his most pivotal offensive role to date, kicking a pair of mid-range field goals from 24 and 29 yards, respectively, in the first quarter. The points came at the end of momentum-changing drives, and Franco would have gladly exchanged them for touchdowns. “I’m not pleased with our red zone offense,” he said.
Who knew then that the six-spot could stick?
“Early on, the pressure (to kick) is a little bit lighter,” said Shaffer. “But I knew I could make them. I knew we had to get a couple quick points on the board early because they always jump out on teams.”
That much is true. Before last night, the Wildcats had outscored their opponents 69-22 in the first half.
But this game was different immediately. Tyrone took the opening kickoff and marched 69 yards in nine plays before stalling at the 7-yard line. The Eagles converted twice on third down – once on a 10-yard pass to Eric Desch, and again when Larry Glace zipped 42 yards on an option play on third-and-5. Shaffer’s first field goal gave Tyrone a slim lead with 7:08 left in the period.
“They play deep against every team, so we were just throwing a lot of hitches and had to change to game plan a little bit.”
Central Mountains’ first series didn’t play as close to the script as the Eagles’. After moving 17 yards to 49, Cody Dolan had his first pass attempt tipped and picked off by Ben Ingle, who returned the ball 26 yards to the Wildcats’ 39.
The Eagles then used seven plays and three more minutes to drive as deep as the 12. Reihart was 3-for-3 for 23 yards on the series, but Tyrone couldn’t overcome two illegal procedure penalties, and settled for Shaffer’s second kick, and a 6-0 lead.
The Wildcats wouldn’t get another first down until their final drive of the first half. In the meantime, Matt Murray snuffed out one drive with a sack that set Central Mountain back 10 yards, and Tyrone’s secondary limited Dolan to just one completion in three attempts for 2 yards.
“The biggest thing was lining up right in our defense,” said Ingle. “Everyone does their job, and when we do that, we can stop just about anybody.”
With 2:46 left in the first half, Central Mountain changed the pace of the game and went on a 50-yard drive that fizzled out at Tyrone’s 15. Dolan hit Scott Zuback twice for 18 yards, and Zuback ran the ball twice for seven, but two incompletions from the 15 had Nathan Conway lining up for a 32-yard field goal attempt, which he made, with 18.9 seconds left to make it 6-3.
“One of the things we wanted to do was keep their offense off the field,” said Franco. “And we did that.”
Central Mountain went 3-and-out on its first series of the second half, and never registered a first down until 6:22 remained in the fourth quarter. Tyrone, on the other hand, while not scoring points, pieced together drives of 13 plays, 6 plays and 10 plays, eating up 12 minutes and 57 on its final three possessions.
The Eagles penetrated as far as the ‘Cats 31 on a drive that went from the 3:05 mark of the third until the 8:48 mark of the fourth, but a fourth-down pass from Reihart to Desch came up inches short. On the very next play after the change of possession, Desch intercepted a Dolan pass over the middle that was tipped by Mark Mingle and returned it to the 25.
This time, a Shaffer field goal from 28 yards out went wide right, but not until Tyrone had whittled the clock to 6:28.
Central Mountains’ final series after the missed kick went just 19 yards, and on fourth down from its own 39, with four minutes and change left, Turchetta elected to kick. Tyrone took over with 4:22 left, and after Shaffer’s 6-yard catch and Barlett’s run, Mingle carried five straight times for 12 yards, causing the ‘Cats to use their final two timeouts and putting the game on ice.
GRID TIDBITS: Mingle finished with 78 yards on 20 carries, while Glace added 82 on 11 … Matt Overdorf, who came in averaging better than 115 per game on the ground, managed just 61 yards on nine carries, 46 of which came on a 46-yard tear in the second quarter … Tyrone had four tackles for loss … the Eagles travel to Clearfield next Friday.
Tyrone 6  Central Mountain 3
Tyrone                  6 0 0 0 – 6
Central Mountain 0 3 0 0 – 3
First Quarter
T – Shaffer 24 field goal 7:08
T – Shaffer 29 field goal 0:48
Second Quarter
C – Conway 32 field goal: 0:18.9
Team Statistics
T         CM
First Downs           15              6
Yards Rushing       169        97
Pass Att.-Comp.    15-22     6-16
Yards Passing         129        47
Total Offense          298       147
Fumbles Lost         1-0         0-0
Intercepted By          2           0
Punts/Avg.            3-35.6    5-35.8
Penalties/Yards       5-20       1-15
Individual Statistics
Rushing
Tyrone – Glace 11-82; Mingle 20-78; Barlett 1-11; Gault 1-4; Reihart 10-(-6).
Central Mountain – Overdorf 9-61; Dolan 8-17; Allen 1-8; Zuback 2-6; Worden 2-5.
Passing
Tyrone – Reihart 15-21-129, 0 TD, 0 Int.; Mingle 0-1-0.
Central Mountain – Dolan 6-16-49, 0 TD, 2 Ints.
Receiving
Tyrone – Shaffer 6-62; Desch 3-25; Ingle 3-31; Weaver 1-8; Glace 1-4; Mingle 1-(-1).
Central Mountain – Zuback 4-24; Boone 1-11.