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EasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PAEasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PA

Pennsylvania has 337 reasons to smile in Big 30 victory

Written by: on Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

BRADFORD, Pa. – If the goal in football is to completely take your opponent out of its original game plan, then the Pennsylvania All-Stars did exactly that in Saturday’s Big 30 Classic.

That was really nothing at all for the New York fans to cheer about, except that the game ended.

Pennsylvania completely demoralized the blue-clad New York all-stars, racking up 337 rushing yards on 65 attempts and grinding out 23 first downs in a 27-0 victory from Parkway Field in Bradford.

New York leads the all-time series, 18-16-1, but that stat mattered little this night.

The Pennsylvania squad, coached by Bradford boss Steve Ackerman, came out running a Wing-T scheme, one that has always been effective for Bradford.

“We had a little hesitation about having only 11 days to get it in,” Ackerman said, “but I thought our offensive line did a great job.”

They did. And ditto to the running backs, led by Jericho Weitzel (Ridgway), Taylor O’Brien (Bradford Area), and Nick Johnson (Bradford Area), who simply weren’t going to be denied.

“It feels good to get on this new turf and get a victory,” O’Brien said.

The Owls’ battering ram had scored 11 touchdowns before suffering an injury mid-season. He played like a man possessed, running 14 times for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game’s first score, a 4-yard run with 12:37 left in the first half.

Weitzel then got in on the act 12 minutes later, hauling in a Zach Anderson (6-of-8, 76 yards, TD) 25-yard scoring pass for a 13-0 PA lead.

Weitzel added 105 rushing yards on 13 attempts.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without our offensive line,” the Ridgway back said. “They did an unbelievable job up front.”

O’Brien effectively ended New York’s hopes of a win as he pinballed off several blue-clad defenders for an 18-yard scoring run with 13:23 left in the game, and his teammate Johnson (10 rush, 71 yards, TD) capped the scoring with a 5-yard jaunt with 2:19 left in the game.

Johnson bobbled the handoff, but regained control and waltzed into the end zone untouched. “I had a friend helping me,” Johnson said, looking skyward.

Sheffield Area’s Matt Bryant chipped in the Pennsylvania attack with 12 rushes for 44 hard-earned yards. It was Bryant’s tough running that weakened the NY defense late in the game.

Kane Area’s 1,200-yard rusher Dustin Moran added 16 yards on 7 carries, and Saint Marys’ Todd Schatz had 19 yards on 5 attempts.

New York, as a team, could only muster 10 total rushing yards … for the game. That final tally came on 34 attempts from a wishbone offense that was rendered completely inept from the very beginning.

NY finished with just 42 yards of total offense and six first downs. Pennsylvania, meanwhile, finished with 413 yards of offense and 23 first downs.

“All these kids did a great job on both sides of the ball,” Ackerman said.

Then he threw in this aside: “We’re used to running for over 300 yards up here.”

Johnson agreed with his coach. “We’re a rushing team,” he said. “We don’t pass, we just pound it out.

“It was good to show people that we know what we’re talking about up here.”

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