State College Ends Central Mountain’s Season With 31-6 Win
Written by: William Albright on Saturday, November 20th, 2010
By BILL ALBRIGHT
ALTOONA — Mistakes can many times be the difference between winning and losing in the game of football, and nobody knows that any better than the Central Mountain Wildcats.
Guilty of mental mistakes, fumbles, missed tackles and costly penalties, the Wildcats saw their season come to a screeching halt Friday night as they dropped a 31-6 verdict to the State College Little Lions in the District 6-9-10 sub-region championship game before a sparse crowd at Altoona’s Mansion Park.
With the win, State College moves its mark to 6-6, while the Wildcats wind up their 2010 campaign at 5-6. Next in line for State College will be the Pittsburgh city champion, either Brashear or Perry Traditional Academy.
“My kids played hard and I am proud of the effort they gave us tonight against a good State College team,” said Central Mountain head coach Steve Turchetta. “We just had a couple of breaks go against us early in the game, but they never gave up. My hat is off to them for a solid effort.”
The Little Lions scored on their first two possessions to jump on top 14-0.
With 8:38 left in the opening period, quarterback Josh Weakland found Colton Myers open down the middle to complete a 36-yard pitch-and-catch for the score. Garrett Nicholson tacked on the PAT for a 7-0 State High lead.
Three minutes later, Luke Jones ripped off a 33-yard TD jaunt by getting the corner on the left side of his offensive line and outracing the Wildcat defenders to The House.
“We got those two scores early, but they came back and played tough defense, “said State High head coach Al Wolski. “We were trying everything to move the football and as a result, we had to punt a few more times than we wanted to. But again, we knew they were going to come out, hit us and play tough defense because they have done that the last three years.”
The fact that Central Mountain controlled the line of scrimmage in the middle two quarters didn’t surprise Wolski at all.
“We knew they were tough up front and overall, those are just tough kids over there,” he said. “They come off the football and they hit you. That didn’t surprise us at all and we told our kids all week to expect it because that is the way they play. They play tough and they are determined, especially defensively. They hit as hard as any team we played in the Mid-Penn (Conference).”
On the first touchdown play, Von Walker nearly picked off the pass, but somehow the ball got through the CM defense for the score. Later on in the period, Walker appeared to have returned an interception for a score, but a piece of yellow laundry some 75 yards back up field nullified the return for the apparent score.
“That penalty really hurt us,” Turchetta said. “If we don’t have that called against us and a couple of other little things would have gone our way, it could have easily been a 14-7 ball game. If that happens, who knows what would have happened. We made some bad snaps on third downs and that was another area that really hurt us.”
In addition to the major penalty on the return, the Wildcats made far too many mistakes to win the game against a quality State High squad.
“Mental mistakes,” lamented Turchetta. “I told the kids we couldn’t make mental mistakes coming in here against State College and that is what happened.”
Trailing 14-0, the Wildcats dug in and played tough defense for most of the second and third quarters. The only scoring in the period was a 33-yard field goal by Nicholson with five ticks of the clock left in the first half.
Continuing to play hard, the Wildcats held the Little Lions to just eight yards total offense in the third period. With the defense was taking care of the State offense, the Wildcat offensive unit got busy putting together a 52-yard, six-play drive for Central Mountain’s only score.
Big plays in the drive were an 18-yard scamper by Von Walker followed by a 13-yard completion from Rocco Vuocolo to Tyler Buckwalter to set up a 2-yard run for the touchdown by Vuocolo.
With the Vuocolo touchdown, the Wildcats cut their deficit to 17-6, but as fate would have it for CM, the Little Lions had an answer for the Vuocolo score. Taking only three plays to 70 yards for the equalizer, Jack Haffner finished the mini-drive by bursting up the middle untouched for 62 yards and the backbreaking touchdown.
“We called the play and we were just going for the first down,” explained Wolski. “Then we looked and said, hey, there is nobody where we are going to run with the ball. He (Haffner) just took it and went with it. We were just hoping to get a first down to help us eat a little clock and he ended up taking it the whole way.”
For 18 seniors, it was their final game wearing the Blue & White, and Turchetta had some good words about the effort he and his coaches got from that group.
“I just told our group of seniors that their growth from the beginning of the season to now is huge,” said Turchetta. “In the beginning of the season, they were a bunch of raw, young football players who grew into some good young men and that was great to see. We are going to miss them.”
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