Tyrone’s offensive line may still be a little rough around the edges, especially where run blocking is concerned. If you ask coach John Franco, he will tell you the group is young. They will all be back next year. They’re getting better.
But if there’s one thing the group has shown it can do over the last two weeks, it’s protect the passer, and with a mobile quarterback like Ashton Walk throwing the ball, it doesn’t take much.
That much was evident last night against Philipsburg-Osceola. In his first varsity start, coming off a relief performance last week when he led Tyrone from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to a win over Penns Valley, Walk completed 11 of 19 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns.
Perhaps as important, Walk was sacked only once.
Tyrone won 38-7, recording back-to-back wins for the first time this season and evening its record at 4-4 overall (4-2 Mountain League).
“He made some good plays, no doubt about it,” Franco said of Walk. “But he doesn’t make those plays if our linemen aren’t blocking well. We still have to do a better job run blocking, but as the game goes on, we seem to run the ball better and better. We use our passing game to open up our run.”
Walk had 206 yards passing in the first half alone when Tyrone bolted to a 24-0 lead, and he was sharp on everything he threw, whether it was the deep ball, short passes out of the backfield, or check-downs to secondary receivers. In all, he spread the ball around to five pass-catchers and continued be sure with the football. In 68 pass attempts, Walk is yet to throw an interception.
Just as important for Tyrone, the Eagles made big plays, with plays going for 25 yards or more.
That explosiveness began on Tyrone’s first offensive series. After holding P-O to three-and-out on its first possession, the Eagles took over at their 27 and on their first snap went to Corrie Beck in the flat. Taking a short pass from Walk, Beck bolted between a pair of defenders and won a footrace to the end zone to complete a 73-yard play. The first of five PAT kicks from Keegan Gwinn made it 7-0 less than two minutes in.
“They hurt us in the pass game,” said Mountie coach Jeff Vroman. “It wasn’t anything we haven’t seen. We covered the flat all week. We worked on it, and they executed it. They made the plays when they had to.”
The Eagles made it 10-0 six minutes later after Jake Johnson blocked a punt deep in P-O territory and returned it to the 4. Three plays later, Gwinn knocked home a field goal from 30 yards out.
Walk stayed hot in the second quarter, completing all four of his pass attempts, including a 21-yarder to Cortlynd Rhoades with 8:18 until halftime that made it 17-0.
When Tyrone got the ball back, Franco went back to Beck in the flat, and this time the senior ran 48 yards to the P-O 17. On the next play, Kolten Miller shifted his way through traffic for a 17-yard touchdown run to get the halftime score to 24-0.
Beck finished with 3 receptions for 134 yards.
It was 31-0 after Tyrone’s first series of the second half, which went 49 yards on six plays. Rhoades capped it with his second touchdown reception, this one from 21 yards out.
Miller got the mercy rule clock running in the fourth quarter with his second touchdown run, this one going 11 yards. It ended a 10-play drive that was set up by a fumble recovery by Gwinn at the P-O 41.
The Mounties got on the board on their final play of the game with 4.9 seconds left when Ben Gutskey found Nick Johnson for a 36-yard score. Carson Long kicked the extra point.
Though Tyrone won handily on the scoreboard, picking up its 18th straight win over the Mounties, there were areas that remained a concern. Tops among them was the Eagles’ running game, which produced only 49 yards on 28 carries, an average of just 1.75 yards per attempt.
“I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage most of the game,” said Vroman. “Up front, I’m happy with the way my kids played. We just need to be more consistent.”
P-O, meanwhile, ran for 143 yards, though when push came to shove Tyrone found a way to limit the Mounties’ ground success when it had to.
“They always have a good running game, and they actually did run the ball on us,” said Franco. “We were able to shut it down when it counted. We made some tough plays on defense, and it was a really good team defense.”
Johnson and Zac LeGars combined to sack Gutskey twice, part of 8 tackles for loss registered by Tyrone’s defense.
The Eagles travel to Hollidaysburg next Friday to take on the 3-4 Golden Tigers, which snapped a two-game losing streak last night with a 35-20 win over West Mifflin. Now 2-6, P-O will host Penns Valley.
TYRONE 38, PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 7Score by Quarters
Tyrone 10 14 7 7 — 38 P-O 0 0 0 7 — 7
Scoring SummaryFirst Quarter
T — Beck 73 pass from Walk, (Gwinn kick), 10:10 T — Gwinn 30 field goal, :23.6
T — Rhoades 26 pass from Walk, (Gwinn kick), 8:18 T — Miller 17 run, (Gwinn kick), 5:21
T — Rhoades 21 pass from Walk, (Gwinn kick), 9:14
T — Miller 11 run, (Gwinn kick), 3:29 PO — Johnson 36 pass from Gutskey, (Long kick), :4.9
Team Statistics T PO
First Downs 14 11 Att-Yards Rushing 28-49 40-143 Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 11-19-0 3-12-0 Passing Yards 305 48 Total Plays-Yards 47-354 52-191 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1 Penalties-Yards 4-27 1-4 Punts-Average 2-37;4 32.6
Tyrone — Miller 9-42, Ronan 9-12, A. Walk 4-2, L. Walk 1-0, Beck 3-(-1), Team 1-(-2), LeGars 1-(-4). Philipsburg-Osceola — Faust 12-72, Martin 10-48, Hughes 9-25, Gutskey 9-(-2).
Tyrone — Walk 11-of-19, 305 yds., 3 TDs. Philipsburg-Osceola — Gutskey 3-of-12, 48 yds., TD.