STORY BY RICK THORP of The Times Leader
NEW PHILADELPHIA — Tucker Marmash made just two catches Saturday night against Shadyside — both for touchdowns.
“The big play gave them momentum,”Shadyside head coach Mark Holenka explained as fans were leaving Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium inside Tuscora Park.
“Once they hit us with the big play, they got the momentum back. And then field position put us in a hole.”
The Wildcats scored 21 unanswered points over the last quarter-and-a-half to remain unbeaten and send the Tigers to their first defeat.
“We gave them too many easy scores on big plays,” Holenka lamented. “And the second time they did it to us, they caught fire. They just wore us out. We were a tired football team at the end.”
Following Marmash’s second TD catch, Mogadore outgained Shadyside 121-15 the rest of the way, with most of those yards coming via the rush.
Down seven, the Wildcats crafted a 17-play, 55-yard march that began with 3:36 left in the third quarter and ended with 7:36 left in the game. Mogadore converted five third downs on the drive, including Tyler Knight’s 9-yard catch from Will Popa that capped it and tied the game.
Included in the drive were a 9-yard scramble by Popa on 3rd-and-9 and another 9-yard escape by the QB on 2nd-and-17 that made the scoring play more manageable.
“We couldn’t get off the field on third down,” Holenka said. “You could tell on every run, too. Even if you hit them for a 2-yard gain, they were falling two yards forward and getting four.”
Even after Mogadore tied the game, Shadyside had the ball with 7:26 left and the ball at its own 38 after Kelly Hendershot’s nifty 22-yard kickoff return. But three plays later, the Tigers turned it over and Mogadore retained possession on its own 31 with 6:18 remaining.
There, the Wildcats proceeded to run the ball, and run it some more. On 3rd-and-3 from the Tigers 39, Nick Skye juked outside for seven for the first down. A Shadyside personal foul on the play moved the ball to the 17. Two plays later, Skye finished the drive with a 15-yard jaunt.
Shadyside never recovered.
“Their momentum caused us to be stagnant,” Holenka said.
That wasn’t the case in the first half, where the Tigers found their stride offensively.
Rhys Francis (208 yards passing) hit Jordan Joseph midway through the second quarter from 14 yards out to tie the game. Then, after Joseph picked off a pass on the Wildcats’ ensuing drive, Shadyside took the lead after Francis connected with Wyatt Reiman on a 13-yard dart with 24 ticks before halftime.
Shadyside took the second-half kickoff 88 yards to paydirt and went up 14 when Francis hit Hendershot from 29 yards out on 4th-and-7.
Holenka said his team proved it belonged on the same field with Mogadore. Now, with a trip to Magnolia on the docket Friday, he said it’s imperative for his team to put Saturday’s loss in the rearview mirror.
“The thing you have to teach the kids is that you can never let one loss become two,” he cautioned. “You can’t let this loss become two. You have to let this loss be one loss and move on from there, or you can’t move on.
“You have to make this loss one one.”