MERCER COUNTY AREA —
Three of four Allied News area football teams have earned playoff berths in the District 10 playoffs which open Nov. 9-10.
Grove City, the defending Class AAA champs are in the AA tournament; Slippery Rock earns a first-round bye in the AAA playoffs; while Lakeview comes in as the fourth seed in the A tourney.
Following are the D-10 playoff pairings:
Friday, Nov. 9
Top bracket: West Middlesex vs. Iroquois; Farrell vs. Mercyhurst Prep.
Bottom bracket: Lakeview vs. Eisenhower; Sharpsville vs. Cochranton
Saturday, Nov. 10
Top bracket: Grove City vs. North East; Hickory vs. Northwestern.
Bottom bracket: Greenville vs. Corry; Wilmington vs. Fairview
Friday, Nov. 9
Top bracket: Slippery Rock bye; Gen. McLane/Cathedral Prep vs. Conneat/Strong Vincent/Meadville.
Bottom bracket: Cathedral Prep/Gen. McLane bye; Warren vs. Conneat/Strong Vincent/Meadville.
Last Friday, the Grove City Eagles, Slippery Rock Rockets and Mercer Mustangs notched victories, while Lakeview lost.
Following are game reports:
ä Grove City 49, Sharon 21 — Grove City High’s football team traveled to Tiger Stadium on a mission in its 2012 regular-season finale: Prepare for the postseason.
And led by Harold Price’s game-high 164-yard performance, Grove City’s ground game garnered 424 yards as the Eagles eased to a 49-21 Region 3-AA win over Sharon Friday night.
“Thank goodness we don’t have a game next week,” Grove City head coach Jeff Bell admitted after assessing his team’s performance with a less-than-impressed demeanor. “We have two weeks to get ready for a playoff game, and we will correct those things and we’ll be ready to play.”
Bell was not pleased with his team’s early focus — though the Eagles soared to a 20-0 margin at intermission — its special teams play, its pass defense, and the fact it was penalized 9 times for 81 yards in losses.
But the bottom line is Grove City (6-1 Region 3-AA, 8-1 overall) extended its win skein to 5 straight via an aggregate 199-70 differential since its lone loss at Hermitage.
Grove City’s Jared Graham tossed touchdowns of 75 and 29 yards to Kyle Trinch and Price, respectively, and also ran 7 yards for a score; Foster Reznor raced for 20- and 9-yard scoring sprints, while Chad Williams went for 98 yards rushing, including a 4-yard score.
Conversely, Sharon (1-6, 1-8) struggled running the ball. However the Tigers tossed a trio of TDs, as quarterback Jesse Rodgers rifled 11- and 14-yard scores to Carnell Hawkins and Dustin Austin, respectively. In the 4th frame an Austin aerial on the back end of a double-pass from Rodgers found Nate Jacoway for a 53-yard touchdown.
Rodgers recorded a 13-for-28, 169-yard passing performance.
This season, Grove City got by Wilmington (19-7) ... which won over Hickory (35-28) ... which handled Grove City (41-12) — all of which will make for an interesting District 10 committee meeting to seed the upcoming Class AA playoff tournament.
“This is a great region and there’s great teams in the region, and every week it’s a battle,” Bell began. “I think our region is as strong as
any region in the state. And you saw Reynolds this year, they can play with anybody. And this team (Sharon) has a lot of skill, and I think they can ... score on anyone.
“But we’ve got three teams (Hickory, Grove City, Wilmington), who are ranked in the state — or near being ranked in the state — right here in our region, and I don’t think there’s too many regions like that,” Bell continued, “so I think it prepares you for the postseason.
“And whomever comes out of this dogfight, I think, has a great chance of making a run,” Bell concluded. — By Ed Farrell., Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Slippery Rock 28, Oil City 13 — At Oil City, Slippery Rock rolled to the Region 5-AAA victory.
The Rockets (8-1, 5-0), who trek to DuBois Friday in a battle for the region title, rolled up 333 yards total offense, 324 on the ground.
Fullback Frank Conlon led Rockets’ rushers with 126 yards on 20 carries, and Joey Meyer scooted for 107 on 10 and scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Currie added 95 on 12, including a 41-yard TD run to make it 28-13.
Oil City sustained long scoring drives in the first half, getting TDs from Kevin Daly on a 6-yard run and Taylor Stamm on a 1-yard plunge.
The Oilers (3-6) managed just 39 yards total offense the second half and a season-low 217 for the game.
The Rock (8-1, 5-0), which will visit DuBois Friday in a showdown for the region title, rolled up 333 yards total offense, 324 on the ground.
Kevin Daly led Oil City with 68 yards.
ä Mercer 10, Farrell 7 — At Mercer, the Mustangs of coach Pat McClearn may not be headed for the playoffs this season, but they notched a big victory in their final Region 1-A contest of the season against the playoff-bound Steelers.
Mercer’s Chase Hoffman booted a 17-yard field goal with only 8 ticks left on the clock to break a 7-all tie and thrill the home fans on Senior Night.
After a scoreless first half, Mercer got on the scoreboard in the third period on 55-yard sprint by Austin Slagle and Hoffman was good on the PAT.
Farrell tied the game in the fourth frame on a 46-yard pass from Joe Goudy to London Pinkins and Austin Pickens kicked the point-after. That set up the late game heroics by Hoffman.
The Mercer defense shut down Farrell’s running game, holding the Steelers to 31 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the Mercer offense controlled the ball well, amassing 198 yards total.
Each team had a pair of interceptions, with Evan Nan and Trent Leonard grabbing picks for Mercer and Farrell’s Pinkins and Malik Graham returning the favor.
Farrell is 3-3 in Region 1-A and 6-3 overall, while Mercer is 1-5, 3-6.
ä West Middlesex 41, Lakeview 6 — Despite being routed 41-6 Friday night by West Middlesex, Lakeview coach Dan York was still confident his Sailors (3-3, 5-4) would make the District 10 playoffs as the fourth-place team.
“I told the kids we have one of the best regions in the state,” “(Perennial WPIAL power Clairton) is who these guys are losing to. How many times did Farrell make it to the Western Finals. How about Sharpsville? It’s looks like the same thing with Sharpsville and Middlesex this year. I think our region in Single A is one of the best regions in the state and we’re playing some of the best teams in the state. It‘s not the old (French Creek Valley Conference). We’re not playing Conneaut Lake and Conneaut Valley anymore.
“I know some coaches from other (parts of the state) and they do a power rankings thing. It doesn’t matter where you line up in the region. (Playoff seeds and berths) are based on computer rankings. Here (in District 10), the powers that be pick who they want to go.”
Meanwhile, the Big Reds (6-0, 8-1) secured the program’s first region championship since 2006 with the victory.
The Big Reds, like many teams before them, set out to shut down Lakeview standout running back Blake Reddick and did so for three quarters.
The junior rusher managed 13 yards through the first 36 minutes of action before finishing with 84 yards rushing and a 6-yard fourth quarter touchdown.
“We definitely challenged (the defense),” West Middlesex coach Jason McElhaney said. “We knew what we had ahead of us … a big offensive line and a really good tailback. He has 1,300 yards in 8 games, so we were challenging those guys to get after him. My coach told me (Reddick) only had 5 yards rushing at halftime, so that’s a testament to those guys practicing and playing hard.”
The Big Red offense did what they were ‘supposed to do,’ amassing 350 yards of total offense with an almost 50-50 split through the air (174) and on the ground (182). Trey Staunch went over the 1,000-yard passing mark by completing 8-of-11 passes for 114 yards, while Luke Patten rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns (24- and 12-yard runs).
Sage Pope scored on 57- and 60-yard bombs from Staunch and receiver Jeremy Jansco, respectively. Eric Lucich also scored on a two-yard run.
Meanwhile, the Sailors managed just 88 yards and 4 first downs against the West Middlesex defense, including just 12 yards in the first half. — By Corey J. Corbin, Allied News Sports Correspondent.