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Tussey Mountain runs over Moshannon Valley

Written by: on Saturday, October 27th, 2018


HOUTZDALE – Football analysts always say the triple option is one of the hardest offenses to plan for.

Tussey Mountain ran it to near perfection in a 42-7 victory over Moshannon Valley on Friday night to close out the regular season.

“We were trying to get the dive phase, the quarterback-keep phase and the pitch phase,” Titans coach Anthony Sottasante said. “We had all three of them going tonight. When you do that, the triple option is pretty successful.”

It was successful to the tune of 339 yards on the ground – all of Tussey Mountain’s offensive yards.

The Titans (8-2, 8-2 Inter-County Conference) attempted just six passes in the game – all in the first half. Only one was caught, and it was by Moshannon Valley’s Jacob Matchock.

Tussey Mountain had a pair of back have over 100 yards in the game with fullback Cole Weist leading the way. Weist finished with 125 yards on 20 carries with Jarred Sipes collecting 104 yards on four carries.

“We came out and ran the ball very well,” Sottasante said. “When we made good decisions, we had a lot of success.”

Sipes and fellow wingback Tyler Rhodes each had two touchdowns in the game with quarterback Matthew Leonard recording the other.

Leonard got things started just over two minutes into the game capping off a Titans’ drive with a five-yard score. After forcing a punt on the Black Knights’ first possession of the game, Sipes went 60 yards untouched on a two-play drive. Rhodes finished off the first-half scoring with an 11-yard run with 45.6 seconds remaining and Tussey Mountain led 21-7 at the break.

In the second half, the Titans quickly jumped out to a 35-7 lead.

Rhodes got the second-half scoring underway with a one-yard pitch around the left side. On the ensuing kickoff, Tussey Mountain got an onside kick. The very next play, Sipes was gone for his final score on a 39-yard burst.

The other score of the night for the Titans came from Noah Foor, who returned an interception 55 yards to begin the mercy-rule clock with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter.

“Credit to Tussey Mountain, they came ready to play, and they played,” Moshannon Valley coach Michael Keith said.

Keith’s team didn’t lie down and give up even being down 35. Multiple times his team drove deep into Tussey Mountain’s end of the field but just couldn’t find the endzone or penalties killed the momentum.

The Black Knights began a drive with 4:56 left in the game at the Titans’ 40. Moshannon Valley had its previous drive stall at the three-yard line, and Tussey Mountain didn’t move the ball at all. It had to punt out of its’ endzone.

Black Knights (2-8, 2-8 ICC) quarterback Ben Murawski found a wide-open Jon Dale down the right sideline on 4th-and-7 to get to the Titans’ 15. The next play Dale scored a touchdown on a 15-yard run but it was waved off because of a holding penalty. The next play a personal foul penalty sent the Black Knights to 1st-and-goal from Tussey Mountain’s 37. The drive ended two plays later when Dale threw an interception and the game was over.

“They gave me their all, all season long, and that’s all I can ask,” Keith said of his team. “A couple plays here, and a couple plays there, it could have been the difference in some games, but we never stopped fighting and that means a lot.”

Moshannon Valley finished the year 2-8 with the Titans moving on to the District 5 Class A playoffs.

Tussey Mountain will more than likely be the No. 2 seed with Conemaugh Township losing to United. This means that the Titans would host the Indians next Friday and would need that win to make the District 5 title game.

“We accomplished a lot of our goals,” Sottasante said. “Our goals were to compete for an ICC Championship, win eight games and win a District 5 Class A championship. I think these guys are ready to go compete for a District 5 championship.”

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