Tigers claw their way to a 21-14 victory over the Lakers.
Written by: David Burnworth on Sunday, November 12th, 2017
Yesterday afternoon in Meadville, undefeated Mercyhurst Prep (10-0) had a battle with Sharon Tigers(7-3). One would have thought that this could be a bit of a miss match because the Lakers had not lost a game this season and with the closest game being a 28-10 over Hickory last week, while the Tigers had lost three games, with the average of those loses being 13 points. Those losses included a 34-14 game against small school power South Range(OH).
Defense ruled the nest for the first quarter and with 5:07 showing on the clock #13 Jacob Brooks fumbled the ball because of a bad snap and the Tigers defense, led by #53 C.J. Malloy, was able to record a 6-yard sack. The Tigers defense did not look impressed or nervous even though they were facing a powerful offense that had shown all season long, that they could explode in a matter of seconds. With 4:30 left in the quarter, Brooks would be picked off by #5 Warren Nixon. The quarter came to an end with this one scoreless. If anything had been learned from the first quarter of play, it had to be that the Tigers had proven they were ready to play and they did not show any fear in doing so. The Lakers might have been a little shell shocked, because this was not how things had gone for them this season.
The Tigers put together a nice little drive, that allowed them to attempt a 48-yard field goal by #45 Aaron Nichols. The kick came up short and this stay a scoreless game. I believe the drive totaled 21-yards but took 11 plays and ate up a little clock. In one way of looking at it would be if the Tigers offense was on the field, the powerful Lakers offense could not explode. With 11:40 left in the half #28 Zack Helsley 6-0 / 180 picked up 14-yards to move the chains and give the Lakers a little adrenaline rush.The drive faded out shortly after and the Lakers were forced to punt the ball away.
The Lakers defense got a big stop from #34 Damon Wilcott when he stopped #7 Ziyon Strickland for no gain. That play would lead to a punt from the Tigers, as once again defense remained the theme in this one.
Keeping up with the defensive theme that this game had given us, the Tigers defense got a huge stop, when the Lakers gambled and went for it one 4th and one, with 4:26 left in the half. The stop came when the defense clogged up things and got to #5 Khalil Barnes 6-1 / 180 before he could square up his shoulders and move downfield.
With 3:08 left on the clock, the Tigers faced a 3rd and one and they handed the ball to #4 Jordan Wilson, who was stopped by #50 Justin Gec for a 2-yard loss. The Tigers would opt to go for it like the Lakers had done earlier in the game, but this time the difference was, the Tigers picked up the first down on a pass completion to #2 James Mckinney on a nicely thrown ball from quarterback #8 Lane Voytik . The half still had 2:31 left after the first down, with the ball on the Lakers 27-yard-line. 10 Seconds later the Tigers picked up 19-yards through the air, when Voytik connected with #7 Ziyon Strickland. Voytik was in a little grove with the two big completions, and it would stay that way at the 2:16 mark of the quarter, when he hit #23 Frank Shaffer, for a 8-yard touchdown, bringing the large Tiger crowd to their feet. The point after from Nichols made this a 7-0 game. The drive totaled 44-yards and took 6 plays,with four of them being passes.
After sinking the Lakers offense again, the Tigers offense would be right back on the field and once again they would find success through the air. A 18-yard completion to Strickland, who broke a tackle to pick up a few extra yards, with :56 seconds left. Then on the drive’s fifth play Jordan Wilson broke a tackle and powered his way in from 11-yards out. The point after made this a 14-0 game, with :27 left in the half. The drive totaled 40-yards and took 5-plays, with four of them being passes.
The Tigers had found a crack in the armor of the Lakers defense and that was through the air. I think this mainly happened because of some hard nosed work from the offensive line. The third quarter had 10:07 left in it, when the Tigers Frank Shaffer picked off a pass and took it back to the Lakers 26-yard-line. At this point the Tigers could make a huge statement by driving the 26-yards and take a commanding 21 point lead, or the Lakers defense was going to make a gigantic stop and keep the team in this one. Time held the answer and with 8:43 we all were told what we wanted to know and that was a stoppage by the Lakers on a fourth and one try by the Tigers. Jordan Wilson had his number called on the fourth and one call, but the Lakers defense must have seen it coming because they pounced on him like a great white pounced on a seal, when it needed a meal.
With 7:59 left in the half and momentum on the Lakers side after the big stop, it would be the Tigers, who came away with the huge turnover, when #22 Niko Augustine 5-8 / 185 pounced on a fumble. Momentum is like a finicky cat, it can change its ways in a heartbeat and this was again the case. The quarter had just 1:14 left in it, when the Lakers offense showed some signs of life. #21 Andrew Montefiori 5-10 / 170 made a nice catch for a big pick up and on the tackle, the Tigers had a face masking penalty called on them. With the gain and the penalty the gain would total 23-yards and give the Lakers a first down on the Tigers 23 yard line. From there the front line of the Lakers opened up a gigantic hole, that #28 Zack Helsley 6-0 / 180 shot through like a bullet taking the ball up the gut for a 23-yard score. Helsley broke two tackles and then powered his way to pay dirt. The point after kick by #7 Michael Bobak 5-11 / 195 made this a 14-7 game, with :47 left on the third quarter clock.
Five seconds into the final frame Voytik would be picked off by the Lakers #24 Tyrese Tate 5-11 / 189. The game had 9:39 left in it, when the Lakers faced a 3rd and seven and a nice run from #5 Khalil Barnes 6-1 / 180, not only picked up the first down but took the ball to the Tigers five-yard-line. Barnes would take it the final five-yards for the score, after the point after kick, this game was deadlocked at 14. The drive went for 75-yards on 8-plays.
With 6:49 left in the game and facing a third and long the Tigers got a 27-yards completion from Voytik to Strickland to move the chains and cause a loud eruption from the Tigers faithful. The drive had started on their own 10-yard line and would end seven plays later when, Shaffer took it the final 38-yards for, what turned out the games winning score. The point after gave the Tigers a21-14 lead with 4:56 left.
The Lakers would get a 35-yard run from #28 Zack Helsley 6-0 / 180, at the 4:01 mark of the quarter. With 1:13 left the Lakers needed to pick up four-yards on fourth down, but the Tigers defense would not cave in and the play was stopped short, securing the big win. UNOFFICIAL STATS Lakers 61 plays, 308 yards Passing 7-18 2 int’s Tigers 54 plays, 249 yards Passing 12-20 1 TD 1 INT.
Sharon will play
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