Same end result, different road to get there for Golden Eagles

The Tyrone defense with Larry Glace (4), Ben Ingle (24), John Shaffer (85), Sharrod Hankerson (25), Dustin Weaver (63), Jerrod Good (66) and others limited Bald Eagle Area to no points, 24 yards rushing and less than 100 yards total offense in a 34-0 Golden Eagle win. (The Daily Herald/Mary Michaels)

Luckily for the Tyrone Golden Eagles, the playoffs are all about the bottom line. Luckily, it’s about ‘Did you do it,’ instead of ‘How did you do it.”
Because there were times last night in Tyrone’s first round District 6-AA playoff game against Bald Eagle Area when the Eagles looked out of sorts.
Maybe it was because they were playing a team they pasted 41-0 little more than a month ago, and gearing up for a game you should probably win by four or more touchdowns isn’t the easiest thing for adolescents to do. Maybe it was because Bald Eagle Area played with a different intensity than they showed when the teams met in September.
Maybe it was because it seemed that every time Tyrone was able to spring a big play, the turf at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field looked like a teenager’s messy bedroom, with enough laundry on the ground to frustrate even the most seasoned parent.
Whatever it was, Tyrone’s 34-0 shutout, which sent Tyrone into the District 6 semifinals for the eighth straight season, didn’t have the same feel of similar first-round blowouts.
Coach John Franco, rarely one to gripe about officiating but always one to call a spade a spade, had his own view on why the Eagles seemed to sputter at times when they normally break a game open.
“We can’t do anything about some of the penalties that were called,” he said. “We didn’t see them. They were all judgment calls, and that was their judgment. I thought our kids played with tremendous poise after (we had) a big play get called back, and then a big play get called back. We really showed our experience, because our kids didn’t let it get to them.”
On Bald Eagles’ second series, Eric Desch picked off BEA quarterback Derek Noll and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown only to have it called back on a penalty for a block in the back. Tyrone’s ensuing series flat-lined after a 10-yard run by Larry Glace was called back for holding.
Later in the second quarter, after a first-down run by Glace was brought back on another holding penalty, Franco called a timeout, rounded up the wagons, and went to old reliable.
“Every time we went back to pass, we got a call, so we just said let’s go to our base blocking, let’s go right at them,” said Franco. “We said let’s just get our poise here and go out and block.”
That they did. Leading 7-0, the Golden Eagles went on a 16-play, 75-yard drive that consumed just under eight minutes. They passed only once, when Levi Reihart connected with Ben Ingle for a 9-yard gain 11 plays in. The rest was strictly hat-on-hat, man-on-man, in-your-face, ball-control running game.
It started with Glace and Mark Mingle splitting carries, and ended with Mingle toting the rock the last five plays covering 18 yards. Mingle took it in from the 3-yard line on fourth-and-1, and John Shaffer’s second PAT kick made it 14-0 with 32 seconds left until halftime.
“We’re a team. We’re one unit,” said senior offensive lineman Matt Murray. “We play to the whistle. We play hard every play. And what the refs call, they call.”
It was the kind of drive Tyrone has used to close the books on many playoff opponents, but according to Bald Eagle coach Jack Tobias, it energized his Eagles.
“It actually pumped our kids up,” Tobias said. “The first time there were no 16-play drives. It was five, six plays and they were going 50, 60 yards. We went into halftime, and our guys were jacked up. If we could have stopped them down there, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened.”
Unfortunately for Tobias, the second half kick went to Tyrone, and Franco’s game plan hadn’t changed during the 15-minute break. The Golden Eagles ran the ball eight straight times on their opening possession of the third quarter and scored after four minutes to take a 21-0 lead.
Glace, who finished with 96 yards on 18 carries despite battling the flu, hauled it the first four plays, totaling 27 yards, including 13 yards on a sweep that ended with BEA picking up a personal foul penalty.
That moved the ball to the Bald Eagle 17, and Mingle took over from there. He carried the ball the next four plays, and scored from the 1 at the 7:56 mark.
“I was happy we could drive the ball right down the field and score. That was big,” said Franco. “We got the momentum after the first first down and the second first down, and you could see that building.”
After BEA got the ball back, Tobias had his team go for the first down with a fake punt on fourth-and-three from the 37. But AJ Robinson slipped in the backfield, and Tyrone took over at the BEA 35.
On fourth-and-10, Reihart hit Desch for a 10-yard gain to keep the ensuing drive alive, and on the next play Glace went up the middle on a counter, spun out of a tackle, and sprinted 25 yards for touchdown that made it 28-0.
Bald Eagles’ next drive ended when Shaffer, from his defensive end position, went to the flat on a corner blitz. Noll never saw him, and Shaffer was able to snatch his first interception of the season, and return it 29 yards to the 1.
Mingle scored his third touchdown three plays later to set the final score.
The Golden Eagles limited BEA to 94 yards of total offense, 40 of which came on a pass from Noll to Robinson in the third quarter. That drive ended when Sharrod Hankerson picked off Noll for the third time, returning it to the BEA 37.
Tyrone now faces the winner of today’s quarterfinal between No. 4 seeded Huntingdon and No. 5 Central Cambria, which ended the Eagles’ season a year ago with a 21-10 upset win in the District semifinals.
GRID TIDBITS: Glace moved up to 11th on Tyrone’s single-season rushing list. He now stands at 1,314 yards, 92 behind No. 10 Chet Wolford … Mingle, with 86 yards on 18 carries, now has 845 yards on the season … Reihart finished 7-for-10 for 67 yards … Tyrone was penalized 5 times for 45 yards … Tyrone outgained BEA 311-94 … Tyrone had five tackles for loss, including sacks by Shaffer and Dustin Weaver.
Tyrone 34 Bald Eagle Area 0
Bald Eagle Area 0 0 0 0 – 0
Tyrone 7 7 20 0 – 34
First Quarter
T – Glace 3 run. (Shaffer kick). 7:47.
Second Quarter
T – Mingle 4 run. (Shaffer kick). 0:32.
Third Quarter
T – Mingle 1 run. (Shaffer kick). 7:56.
T – Glace 25 run. (Shaffer kick). 4:12.
T – Mingle 1 run. (kick blocked). 2:29.
First Downs 17 3
Yards Rushing 53-256 19-24
Pass Att.-Comp. 7-10 5-15
Pass Yards 67 69
Total Yards 311 94
Fumbles/Lost 1-1 0-0
Interceptions Thrown 0 3
Penalties/Yards 5-45 4-35
Punts/Avg. 3-29 5-34.2
Tyrone – Mingle 16-86 (3 TDs), Glace 18-96 (2 TDs), Reihart 4-1, Ripka 5-26, Patton 4-24, Franco 2-13, Clark 1-4, Burke 2-4, Team 1- (-1).
Bald Eagle Area – Gingrich 3-9, Hoffman 2-8, Robinson 7-5, Hicks 2-5, Decker 1-3, Noll 4- (-6).
Tyrone – Reihart 7-10, 67 Yds., 0 Int. 0 TD.
Bald Eagle Area – Noll 5-14, 69 Yds., 3 Int., 0 TD, Leskovansky 0-1, 0 Yds., 0 Int., 0 TD.
Tyrone – Mingle 3-9, Ingle 2-14, Desch 1-10, Shaffer 1-29.
Bald Eagle Area- Burns 2-9, Robinson 1-40, Gingrich 1-14, Decker 1-5.

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