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Sharpsville Edges Mercer For Berth in District 10 Final

Written by: on Saturday, November 21st, 2009

NEW WILMINGTON — In the regular season meeting between Sharpsville and Mercer, the Mustangs parlayed four Blue Devil turnovers into a 28-14 win in the mud.
Friday night at Wilmington Area High School stadium, the shoe was on the other foot as the Blue Devils made the most of a pair of Mercer (8-4) turnovers to post a 10-7 win to advance to the District 10 title game.

Sharpsville (10-2) will meet Farrell (12-0) for the District 10 crown, the Steelers whitewashing Linesville 39-0 in the other semifinal game. During the regular season, the Steelers prevailed over the Blue Devils by a 12-7 final in a hard-fought game in The Pines.

“We just said the difference between this game and the first one is that they (Mercer) had more turnovers than we did,” said Sharpsville head coach Paul Piccirilli. “Basically, we are about as even as you can get two teams.

Following the tough-luck loss, Mercer coach Pat McClearn also pointed out the effect the miscues had on the final score.

“That is the key to the game. That is high school football,” said McClearn. “If you take care of the football, you can usually be successful. That is a good team that made some plays tonight and took advantage of our mistakes and I am sure they will do well next week.”

With the score tied at 7-all and the game on the line, Piccirilli called on the foot of Jonathan Wilson to decide the issue, and the junior place-kicker was true with a 25-yard field goal with slightly more than a minute left in the game to set the final.

“That is why we have him on our team,” said Piccirilli with a smile. “From our angle, we (the coaches) thought it was going to hit the crossbar, but when it snuck in, then we put our work toward defense and we were able to put a little heat on their quarterback (Andrew) Erdos. When you take him out of where he is not a threat to run so much as pass, you have a chance.”

In addition to the strong play of the Devil defense, another big factor in the Sharpsville win was the play of quarterback/defensive end Frank Joseph and fullback Marcus Llewellyn. For the game, Llewellyn was the workhorse for the Sharpsville ground attack with 102 yards on 24 carries, while Joseph completed five of eight passes for another 49 yards while also coming up with several huge plays on defense.

“Frank Joseph was sicker than a dog,” said Piccirilli. “He has the flu and we weren’t sure how much he could go in the second half, but he gave us everything he had. And Marcus has just been a horse all year, and although he sprained his ankle, the beauty of it is we have Cam Christopher and he can do the same thing for us.”

While Joseph and Llewellyn carried the load for the Devils, Andrew Erdos did the same for the Mustangs.

“I can’t say enough about Andrew Erdos,” praised McClearn. “I told him out on the field tonight that I could never repay him for what he has given to me for the past four years. He is and has always been a true competitor right down to the last second.”

The Mustangs took the opening kickoff and marched down the field to the Sharpsville 12 where Freddy Fumble showed up for Mercer as the ball popped loose and Joseph pounced on the bobble for the Devils.

Following Joseph’s recovery, Joseph and Company engineered a 13-play, 88-yard drive that was culminated by a Joseph-to-Justin Dunlap 9-yard pass for the game’s first touchdown. Wilson made it 7-0 Sharpsville with the PAT.

After the two teams played each to a scoreless stalemate through the second and third periods, the Mustangs evened the count and they did it in exciting fashion.

Faced with a third-and-3 from the Mercer 11, Mustang sophomore Kyle Mariacher ripped up the middle and outraced the Blue Devil defenders to complete his 89-yard jaunt to the “house”. Will Juergens’ PAT evened the count at 7-all with nine minutes left in the game. Mariacher finished the game with an even 100 yards on just eight totes.

Good teams respond to scores against them with a score of their own and that is what Sharpsville did as the Devils took the ensuing kickoff and marched to a fourth-and-goal at the Mercer 8-yard line to set the stage for Wilson’s winning boot.



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