USO shuts down Sharon @JasonMac37 @sharontigers @usofootball
Written by: Shane Lux on Saturday, October 12th, 2019
USO used a strong defense and did enough on offense to oust Sharon 21-3 Saturday afternoon at Cupples Stadium.
“I’ll tell you what they had me up all night, and it was a long week to prepare for that offense,” said USO head coach Lou Berry. “They’re a well-coached team, and offensively they’re schemed up.”
For USO, they got another excellent performance by Akron recruit Michael Snowden, who rushed for a game-high 159 yards on 22 carries.
“When I think of Mike Snowden, a smile comes to my face because I think of all the hard work that he puts in,” said Berry. “He’s our leader on and off the field. He has become more intelligent on the field. We ride his coat tail. We know we’re in good hands when he’s got the ball.”
USO’s defensive front kept the Tigers in check all game long. Sharon was limited to just 24 yards rushing on 22 attempts.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage in the run game,” Berry. “Early on, we didn’t pressure on the quarterback, so we tried to disguise coverages in the secondary. Once we got the defensive line comfortable with their help, we able to get after the quarterback.”
Sharon had 199 yards of offense in the game. The Tigers failed to score touchdowns despite driving inside the red zone twice.
“University Prep is very good, we knew that seeing them on film,” said Sharon head coach Jason McElhaney. “I wish we would’ve played better today, and converted some drives.”
Snowden broke the ice, scoring on a 28-yard run midway through the first quarter.
Sharon was able to cut the deficit on Jake Auchter’s 26-yard field late in the first.
— Shane Lux (@luxy_aLLin) October 12, 2019
The Tigers were able to move the ball, but turnovers penalties derailed their drives throughout the game.
“It’s a product of when you drive down deep the defense starts to tighten up,” said McElhaney. “I’m not arrogant, but most teams can’t play man coverage against us. They can, they have the guys that can match up against us, and they did it.”
Sharon drove into USO’s territory on their first possession. However, an illegal shift penalty on the Tigers negated the 4th-down conversion into the red zone on a Lane Voytik to Trey Jones completion.
Looking poised to take the lead, Sharon took the second half kick and marched inside the 10-yard line.
However, on a 3rd-and-goal, Voytik was intercepted by Amir Crownie at the goal line.
“I told Amir that his interception was the play of the game,” said Berry. “He has been hot and cold all year long, but he’s a kid the posses a lot of talent. Today he let it all hang out. He was the key to our victory. That play turned the tide.”
Sharon never threatened to score again.
Voytik was under pressure most of the game and was sacked four times. He completed 17-of-32 passes for 185 yards and two interceptions.
“That interception was a tough one,” said McElhaney. “We would’ve loved to have been able to make a stop to get a short field, but they flipped the field on us.”
Workhorse Snowden broke free on a 37-yard run in the third quarter before Messiah Wilkerson raced 16 yards on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
— Shane Lux (@luxy_aLLin) October 12, 2019
“Snowden is a stud,” said McElhaney. “Anytime you’re going to the MAC Conference as a skill position player, you’re a special athlete. We did a decent job in between the tackles, but when he turned the corner we had problems.”
USO now improves to 7-1 on the season.
“We needed a game like this today,” said Berry. “This was a test against a well-coached team. This helped us prove to ourselves that we can beat unfamiliar opponents. Now, as we get ready for the playoffs, this will give us a lot of momentum and confidence.”
Sharon will try and bounce back next week as they play host to Fort LeBoeuf.
“This game was a good measuring stick,” said McElhaney. “We got to come down here and play a 4A school on their turf with talented guys, and this is going to help us refocus.”
USO 21 Sharon 3
Score by Quarters
Sharon – 3 0 0 0 – 3
USO – 7 0 7 7 – 21
U – Michael Snowden 28 yd run, (Kenny William-Pipkins pat), 5:14
S – Jake Auchter 26 yd field goal, 2:43
U – Snowden 37 yd run, (William-Pipkins pat), 4:02
U – Messiah Wilkerson 16 yd run, (William-Pipkins pat), 11:54
Rushing: Sharon – Brady Ortiz 7-20, Tyvell Richardson 7-45, Lane Voytik 6-(-35), Team 1-(-7), Marcel Smith-Austin 1-1. Totals: 22-24. USO – Snowden 22-159, Wilkerson 2-19, Dennis Jones 2-(-2). Totals: 26-175.
Passing: Sharon – Voytik 17-for-32, 185 yards, 2 interceptions. USO – William-Pipkins 12-for-22, 150 yards.
Receiving: Sharon – Ty Eilam 7-76, Smith-Austin 3-46, Ja’On Phillips 4-17, Trey Jones 3-46. USO – Wilkerson 3-39, Brendan Walls 3-69, Natel Blessitt 1-9, Amir Crownie 1-14, Snowden 1-4, Davon Hamlin 1-7, Skylar Howard 1-5, Nasir Crownie 1-3.
Interceptions: USO – Amir Crownie, Howard.
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