By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Correspondent
MERCER COUNTY AREA —
Sharpsville and Lakeview entered Friday’s Region 1A showdown knowing how to beat the other -- shut down the other’s star.
For the Blue Devils(5-1, 7-1), they had to locate and stop Sailor junior running back Blake Reddick, while the Sailors needed to slow down Sharpsville’s do-everything standout Tyler Luchey.
Unfortunately for Lakeview (3-2, 5-3), the Blue Devils did a much better job in their defensive pursuit, limiting Reddick to a season-low 65 yards rushing on 14 carries in a 42-0 whipping at McCracken Field.
“Everyone on our team was looking for ‘6,’ ” Sharpsville coach Paul Piccirilli said. “That’s all we cared about. We were forcing them to do something (passing the football) that they’re not real comfortable with. You have to take ‘6’ out of the ballgame before you do anything else against this Lakeview team.”
Luchey may not have scored against Lakeview Friday night, but he may have had the biggest impact on the outcome. The Blue Devil receiver pulled in 5 Bryan Stafford passes for 140 yards, returned a punt 59 yards to set up a score and picked off a pass.
“We knew coming into the game that they were going throw the ball to Luchey and they did,” Lakeview coach Dan York said. “We couldn’t stop them. It didn’t matter. We couldn’t get heat on the quarterback. We couldn’t do anything. We have to go back and look at the film to see what we’re doing. Good lord, we couldn’t do anything (defensively). They threw the ball when the wanted to.”
Luchey is a once in a generation-type player, Piccirilli said.
“You come across that type of athlete once in five or six years,” Piccirilli said. “He’s super. He just has savvy no matter where he plays. We’re going to get him the ball one way or another.”
Piccirilli’s offensive line of Kaleb Robertson, Cody Hughes, P.J. Campboli, Zach Stafford and Jacob Llewellyn deserves much of the credit for paving the way to a 353-yard offensive output that included scores from 5 different Blue Devils.
“When you come from Wilmington and you do OK against their line,” Piccirilli said. “And that’s what we did, OK. They’re the best line I’ve ever seen. Then, you come against Lakeview — who has size, but doesn’t have the strength or the quickness Wilmington has — made it a little easier on us. If we would’ve played Lakeview in front of Wilmington, it might have been a different story.”
Sharpsville grabbed an early 14-0 lead on scoring runs from Stafford (5 yards) and Joey Pagliaroli (11yards) before Ross Llewellyn posted 14- and 1-yard TD runs in the second quarter.
Derrick Odem (21 yards) and George Keck (6 yards) scored to invoke the mercy rule for the Blue Devils.
Offensively, Llwellyn (10 carries for 66 yards) and Pagliaroli (8 for 54) kept the Sharpsville offense balanced as Stafford threw for 154 yards on 7-of-13 passing.
“We give (Stafford) a lot more opportunity now,” Piccirilli said. “He sees the field really well. He understands what’s going on. Our offensive coordinator Len Grandy does a great job with them. Everybody is on the same page. We’re doing a lot of things in practice now that we didn’t think we’d get to with losing Popatak and Joey Flynn. This team has an identity now and they’re going to go forward. I’ve been pleased with how they’ve played over the past eight weeks.”
With Sharpsville shutting down Reddick, the Sailors struggled to move the ball, managing just 140 yards of total offense, including a 1 for 8 performance through the air.
“(Sharpsville’s Cody Hughes) was a bear against us,” York said. “We couldn’t down block him. That hurt the offense quite a bit. As far as experience goes, we start a senior, two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman on the offensive line.”
With the win, Sharpsville cemented at least second place, while Lakeview is staring at either third or fourth place in the region.
“We have two games left, then we’ll see what happens,” York said. “But it’s a tough road to hoe. Playing Sharpsville and Middlesex back-to-back is not a good thing.”
Piccirilli, for obvious reasons, was very pleased with the outcome.
“It’s a big win, because it solidifies second place (in the region) and tells us who we can go scout next week,” the veteran Blue Devil coach related. “I was impressed with our team. This was the best we’ve played all year on both sides of the ball. We’re starting to put it together a little bit more.”
Notes: Lakeview starting linebacker Kyle Canon had to be carted off the field with a right leg injury just two plays into the game. … The win was the 150th in Piccirilli’s career. He now is 150-50. … Nate Kokowski rushed for 31 yards on four carries. … Five different Sharpsville players had a catch. … The Blue Devils had more first downs 11-8. … Odem also had an interception for Sharpsville.
ä Grove City 42, Titus-ville 6 — At Grove City, the Eagles of coach Jeff Bell routed the visiting Rockets as they continued to warm up for a playoff run at the season’s end.
The Eagles, who dropped to Class AA after winning the District 10 AAA crown last season, are 5-1 in Region 3-AA and 7-1 overall. Barring upsets, Grove City, Hickory and Wilmington are expected to finish tied for the region lead.
Titusville (1-5, 2-6) was no match for the Eagles who built a 35-0 halftime lead to put the mercy rule into effect for the entire second half.
Foster Reznor scored two touchdowns on a 27-yard run and 27-yard pass from Jared Graham, while Harold Price also hit paydirt twice on runs of 20 and 23 yards. Ethan Yalch scored on a 31-yard interception return and Chad Williams on a 31-yard sprint. Dylan Motta converted on all 6 PAT kicks.
Xavier DeRose scored the lone TD for Titusville.
Grove City closes out the regular season next Friday at Sharon.
ä Mercer 21, Keystone 14 — At Knox, the visiting Mustangs held off a late charge by the District 9 club for the victory.
Keystone drove to the 15-yard lane in the waning moments of the game, but Mustang Walter Haines pulled in his second interception of the contest to seal the deal.
Quarterback Logan Clarke got Mercer on the board with a 1-yard run, but Keystone countered with a 4-yard TD pass from Austin Chambers to Dustin Wolbert.
Austin Slagle scored on a 1-yard run and T.J. Peters tallied on a 33-yard pass from Clarke. After that score, Chase Hoffman’s third PAT kick put Mercer up 21-7.
However, the hosts scored in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run by Matt Black, setting up the late game heroics by Haines.
Luke Leonard led the Mercer rushing attack with 110 yards on 13 carries. Clarke passed for 104 yards and totals 1,017 for the season.
Mercer is 2-6, while Keystone is also 2-6.
TITUSVILLE 0 0 0 6 6
GROVE CITY 21 14 7 0 42
GC — Reznor, 27 run (Motta kick)
GC — Price, 20 run (Motta kick)
GC — Yalch, 31 int. ret. (Motta kick)
GC — Williams, 31 run (Motta kick)
GC — Reznor, 27 pass from Graham (Motta kick)
GC — Price 23 run (Motta kick)
T — DeRose, 23 run
TITUSVILLE GROVE CITY
N/A First downs 7
114 Rushing yards 263
26 Passing yards 48
11-3-2 Att-comp-int 7-3-0
140 Total yards 311
0-0 Fumbles-lost 0-0
N/A Penalties-yards lost 4-33
Rushing: TITUSVILLE — N/A; GROVE CITY — Williams 3-57, Graham 3-52, Reznor 4-44, Price 8-97, Rucio 4-3, Sample 1-1, Dennis 2-7, Kosick 1-2.
Passing: TITUSVILLE — 11-3-2; GROVE CITY — Graham 7-3-0-48.
Receiving: TITUSVILLE — N/A; GROVE CITY — Williams, 1-23, Trinch 1-(-2), Reznor 1-27.
LAKEVIEW 0 0 0 0 0
SHARPSVLE 14 14 7 7 42
S — Stafford, 5 run (Pagliaroli kick)
S — Pagliaroli, 11 run (Pagliaroli kick)
S — Llewellyn, 14 run (Pagliaroli kick)
S — Llewellyn, 1 run (Pagliaroli kick)
S — Odem, 21 run (Pagliaroli kick)
S — Keck, 6 run (Pagliaroli kick)
8 First downs 11
126 Rushing yards 190
14 Passing yards 163
8-1-2 Att-comp-int 14-8-0
140 Total yards 353
0-0 Fumbles-lost 2-0
3-20 Penalties-yards lost 4-30
Rushing: LAKEVIEW — Reddick 14-65, Kokowski 7-31, Bigley 3-16, Spence 3-14; SHARPSVILLE — Llewellyn 10-66, Pagliaroli 8-54, Stafford 6-34, Odem 5-16, Wansack 3-16, Keck 2-11, Henwood 1-1, Luchey 1-0, Williams 1-(-2).
Passing: LAKEVIEW — Bigley 8-1-2 14; SHARPSVILLE — Stafford 13-7-0 154, Henwood 1-1-0 9.
Receiving: LAKEVIEW — Parimuha 1-14; SHARPSVILLE — Luchey 5-140, Odem 1-9, Koser 1-9, Pagliaroli 1-5.
MERCER 7 14 0 0 21
KEYSTONE 7 0 0 7 14
M — Clarke, 1 run (Hoffman kick)
K — Wolbert, 4 pass from Chambers (Rivers kick)
M — Slagle 1, run (Hoffman kick)
M — Peters, 33 pass from Clarke (Hoffman kick)
K — Black, 3 run (Rivers kick)
16 First downs 13
241 Rushing yards 86
104 Passing yards 70
15-5-2 Att-comp-int 16-7-2
345 Total yards 156
3-3 Fumbles-lost 3-2
2-14 Penalties-yards lost 5-45
Rushing: MERCER — Clarke 7-14, Leonard 13-110, O’Brien 12-53, Slagle 9-52, Peters 1-12; KEYSTONE — Hawke 2-7, Black 15-26, Chambers 9-20, Stiglitz 7-11, Eberhart 7-25, Servey 1-(-3).
Passing: MERCER — Clarke 5-15-2-104; KEYSTONE — Chambers 5-9-0-45, Eberhart 2-7-2-25.
Receiving: MERCER — Nan 2-47, Peters 3-57; KEYSTONE — Wolbert 1-4, Eberhart 2-30, Black 1-15, Corvino 2-11, Servey 1-10.
Farrell at Mercer
West Middlesex at Lakeview
Grove City at Sharon
Slippery Rock at Oil City