Golden Eagles open up big early lead, dominate Penns Valley

Little package
Although just 5-6and 140 pounds if you believe the stats in the Tyrone program, Eagle senior Cody Weaver (3) carries a big punch. Weaver accounted for 86 yards against Penns Valley, despite touching the ball just twice. (The Daily Herald/Virgie Werner)

There are two really big reasons why Tyrone senior Larry Glace has been able to shift from the offensive line to become the 16th rusher in school history to amass more than 1,000 yards in a season. One is Glace’s own talent, and the other is an offensive line that has made things look, well, easy.
But nothing has come easy, according to coach John Franco, not even last night’s 42-0 win over Penns Valley in Spring Mills – a second consecutive mercy-rule victory for the Eagles, who hiked their record to 8-1 heading into next week’s conference showdown against 8-1 Central.
“It looked like it was easy. It wasn’t easy. Our kids just played really hard,” said Franco.
None harder than the offensive line, which for the sixth straight season paved the way for a back to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau. This time it was Glace, the most unlikely of rushers, considering this time last year he was an offensive guard.
But it’s the change of positions that has allowed Glace to have a special relationship with his line, and that made his accomplishment different from the others in a lot of ways.
“We never thought at the beginning of the year he would have 1,000 yards,” said senior lineman Dustin Weaver. “And (Mark) Mingle is only 300 yards away. We all block hard and work hard on the sled (at practice). Actually, every day, when we’re doing sleds, Larry comes over and cheers us on when he’s done running.”
Glace finished the game with 75 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, giving him 1,008 yards on the season. It’s the 20th 1,000-yard season recorded by a Tyrone rusher, and it places Glace 20th on the Eagles’ all-time rushing list, just behind Kenny Noel, who had 1,011 yards in 1947.
“As well as Larry played, guys like Weaver, Jordan Berry, Matt Murray, Jerrod Good, Danny Benson, (Jared) Templeton, John Shaffer – those guys opened up things,” said Franco. “Zach Gault was blocking hard. Mark Mingle was blocking hard. Larry is a heck of a runner. He did a great job. But everything works together. It’s not one guy.”
Against Valley, it wasn’t even one facet of the Eagles’ game. Everything Tyrone attempted turned to gold in the crisp October air, and that allowed the Eagles to attack in a variety of ways. Levi Reihart completed 7 of 12 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns to Eric Desch, six players contributed at least 25 yards of offense, and Mingle scooped a first quarter fumble and returned it 25 yards for the Eagles’ second defensive touchdown of the season.
“Our mind set was, we’re coming out to play, and it didn’t matter if it took us three quarters, four quarters. Our mind set was, we’ve got to keep playing hard,” said Franco.
As far as the Rams (1-8) were concerned, just one quarter might have been enough. In that one 12-minute span alone, Reihart went 4-for-6 for 77 yards, Glace had 70 yards on 7 carries, and Tyrone led 28-0.
The Eagles (6-1 MAC Nittany Division) opened the game with a drive that went 76 yards on 10 plays, with Tyrone converting once on fourth down when Reihart found Shaffer open over the middle for a 20-yard gain to the Valley 20-yard line. Glace raced up the middle on the next play for the score, giving Tyrone the lead at the 7:12 mark.
After Valley went 3-and-out, it took Tyrone just four plays to score again. Glace got things rolling with a 23-yard gain to the Valley 32, and on the next play Cody Weaver took a reverse 27 yards to the 5. Glace scored 1 play later to make it 14-0.
With time winding down in the quarter, Reihart stood strong in the pocket on a play-action fake and took a shot to the ribs as he unloaded a perfectly placed ball to the waiting finger tips of Desch down the left sideline for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left. But the Eagles weren’t done yet.
On the Rams’ next play from scrimmage, Valley quarterback Kyle Hockenberry made an option pitch that was too much for Brian Lee to handle. The ball bounced loose and was snagged in stride at the 25 by Mingle, who returned it all the way for a touchdown as time expired, giving Tyrone a 4-touchdown cushion.
The Rams failed to convert a first down on their next series, and the punt put Tyrone back to its own 34. On the second play of the drive, Reihart found Desch open 20 yards down field over the middle, and a quick spin allowed the junior receiver the avoid two tacklers in the defensive backfield. He then outran the secondary to the end zone on a 67-yard touchdown play that punctuated the drive 56 seconds after it started.
“Levi was throwing the ball crazy today,” Desch said. “He hit me in stride both times. It was just open field from there.”
Tyrone’s last score came on the heels of another Valley turnover, this one at its own 8-yard line. The Rams had just held Tyrone on downs, taking over at their own 11, but Lee fumbled on the first play of the drive, and David Cherry recovered. Cody Smith punched it in on the next play.
It was the fourth time in the last five weeks the Eagles went over 40 points, and the third time they accumulated more than 400 yards of total offense. In two others they amassed 395 and 398.
Just as good was the Eagles’ defense, which held its fifth opponent under 150 yards in total offense, while registering its third shutout. Valley managed just 88 yards, with five plays ending in the Rams’ backfield.
The Rams’ longest play from scrimmage – a 27-yard scramble in the first quarter by Hockenberry – came on a broken play, and Valley’s deepest penetration – a foray that went as deep as Tyrone’s 23 – ended when the Rams turned the ball over on downs in the fourth quarter.
It was a complete performance that allowed Tyrone to head into the Senior Night game against Central feeling good about itself. Tyrone currently holds the top spot in the District 6-AA standings, while Central is close behind at No. 2. With Clearfield losing 33-7 to Huntingdon, the Dragons, Eagles and Bisons find themselves log-jammed at the top of the division at 6-1.
“To me, it’s the first playoff game,” Franco said. “It’s going to be a real intense game. It’s exciting to have a big game for Game 10, and it’s going to determine a lot of our standing in the playoffs.”
“We’ve got to work extra hard this week,” said Weaver. “We have to make sure we study everything we get and just go out and be ready for it.”
GRID TIDBITS: No other Tyrone team has ever scored 40 or more points four times in a five week regular-season stretch in program history … Mingle now has 712 yards rushing … Tyrone defeated Central 47-13 last season in Roaring Spring … Cody Weaver accounted for 86 yards in total offense … Tyrone has not punted in three straight games.
TYRONE 28 7 0 7 – 42
PENNS VALLEY 0 0 0 0 – 0
First Quarter
T – Glace 20 run (Shaffer kick) 7:12
T – Glace 5 run (Shaffer kick) 5:19
T – Desch 42 pass from Reihart (Shaffer kick) :10
T – Mingle 25 fumble return (Shaffer kick) :00
Second Quarter
T – Desch 67 pass from Reihart 8:48
Fourth Quarter
T – Smith 8 run (Ripka kick) 11:06
Team Statistics
1st Downs 19 7
Yards Rushing 210 49
Pass Att.-Comp. 8-14 4-10
Yards Passing 222 39
Total Offense 432 88
Int. By 0 0
Fum. Rec. 1-0 3-2
Punts-Avg. 0-0 4-36.8
Penalties/Yards 3-20 1-5
Individual Statistics
TYRONE – Glace 9-75; Mingle 5-34; C. Weaver 1-27; Patton 2-25; Gault 5-24; Clark 2-17; Smith 6-13; Ripka 1-4; Burke 1-3; Walker 1-0; Reihart 1-(-12).
PENNS VALLEY – Hockenberry 6-23; Sweeley 4-13; Fegley 6-12; Helm 1-3; Lee 8-(-2).
TYRONE- Reihart 7-12-163, 2 TDs, 0 Int.; Walker 1-2-59, 0 TD, 0 Int.
PENNS VALLEY – Hockenberry 2-6-9, 0 TD, 0 Int.; Helm 2-4-30, 0 TD, 0 Int.
TYRONE – Desch 3-122; C. Weaver 1-59; Shaffer 2-26; Ingle 2-14.
PENNS VALLEY – Weaver 1-16; Montminy 1-14; Zettle 1-9; Sweeley 1-0.

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