Tyrone hasn’t had a winning record since 2015, and yet teams around the Mountain League still feel a sense of vindication when they can snag a victory over the Golden Eagles.
It makes sense. For many of them it’s been more than a decade since their last win over Tyrone.
For others, like Bald Eagle Area, it had been a generation.
So, yeah, it was a big deal last night in Wingate when BEA topped the Golden Eagles in a game of football … not just because of the ease with which the Bald Eagles dispatched Tyrone – it was 35-0 – but because it hadn’t been done since 1994.
When last that occurred, with a 6-0 win at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field in the first season of the John Franco regime, Dave Jones, the father of current Bald Eagle quarterback Jaden Jones, was still in high school, playing the position for BEA his son holds now.
There’s a lot of history there, which may be one of the reasons Jones, who has been cool as a cucumber in his junior season, started out a little tight, throwing a pick on his first attempt.
“Jaden made a bad read. There were three guys wide open,” said Bald Eagle coach Jesse Nagle. “I think he was a little nervous. This was a big night for him. There were a lot of emotions. This is a game that he’s been wanting for a long time. I think the last time we beat them his dad was at the quarterback position. He settled down, and we got it done.”
Jones regrouped and had quite a night, completing 14 of 21 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns as BEA steamrolled Tyrone, scoring all of its points in the first and second quarter before easing back on the throttle in the second half.
“We got outplayed, we got out-coached, especially I the first half,” Tyrone coach Jason Wilson said. “We didn’t get any momentum plays in the first half.”
Tyrone fell to 4-2 overall with its second straight loss, and 3-2 in the Mountain League.
BEA upped its record to 6-0 and 4-0 in the league. Despite the widening gap between the two teams this season, Nagle said a win over Tyrone remains a big deal.
“It’s been 24 years, one gentleman told me 9,000 days, since we last beat them,” he said. “So it means a lot for our program. It’s Tyrone. They have a T on their helmet, and they pounded us for many, many years.”
For the Golden Eagles, they were victims of not only a well-tuned offense with Jones at the helm, but of the kind of game-changing plays that, for almost a quarter of a century, had always gone their way in games against BEA.
Bald Eagles got its first score on its second possession after converting on third-and-17 on a 34-yard pass from Jones to Nick Turner. Four plays later Matthew Reese scored on a 34-yard reverse, and the 2-point pass from Jones to Kaden Bittinger made it 8-0 with 2:44 left in the first quarter.
It was there that BEA went for the jugular to put an end to the streak for once and for all.
The Bald Eagles employed an onsides kick after the score, recovered on the plus side of the 50, and scored in less than a minute on a pass from Jones to Turner. After Tyrone got the ball back the Golden Eagles lost yards and took a penalty, ultimately punting from their 21. The snap went over the head of Aric Reader and through the end zone for a safety, making it 16-0 with 13 seconds left in the opening frame.
“We knew that we had that coming in. I said once we scored we were definitely going to go for it,” Nalge said. “They’re a great football team, there’s no doubt, and we’re probably going to see them in the playoffs. So it was one of those things where we knew we had to keep the throttle going and keep them down. We figured if we try it now, and we get it, we’re alright. If we don’t get it, we can hold them.”
Wilson said his team was aware that BEA would try an onsides kick at some point, but the Golden Eagles couldn’t make the play.
“We practiced the onsides kick all week. We were prepared for it,” said Wilson. “At the end of the day, they took it to us in the first half.”
Bald Eagle took a short field and scored in the second quarter, using a 24-yard run by Gage McClenahan to set up a 2-yard score by Kael Gardner to make it 22-0.
Later, BEA converted on fourth-and-10 from the Tyrone 19 when Jones hit Bttinger on a crossing route for a score to make it 29-0 with 2:51 until halftime.
On Tyrone’s next offensive play, Brandon Lucas, in for injured quarterback Denver Light, who left the game in the second quarter, tossed a swing pass to Brandon Homan, who had motioned into the backfield. The pass hit the ground and was ruled a backwards lateral, and Reese scooped it up and ran for a 22-yard touchdown.
That was all she wrote because in the second half the mercy rule clock ran the entire time.
Either way, Tyrone was going to find mountain a comeback hard against a defense that:
- Held the Golden Eagles to minus-7 rushing yards
- Stopped 12 plays behind the line of scrimmage
- Recorded 6 quarterback sacks
- Limited the Golden Eagles to fewer than 100 total yards.
It continued a run for the Golden Eagles where the spigot has run dry offensively. Tyrone has scored just 21 points over its last 10 quarters.
“We know what our defense is,” Nagle said. “A lot of times we give up late touchdowns with our second team, so the score inflates a bit, but defensively, I thought we played outstanding.”
BALD EAGLE AREA 35, TYRONE 0
B – Reese 34 run (Bittinger pass from Jones) 2:44
B – Turner 3 pass from Jones (PAT pass failed) 1:40
B – Safety (Snap over punter’s head through end zone) :13
B – Gardner 2 run (PAT failed) 8:35
B – Bittinger 19 pass from Jones (Vancise kick) 2:51
B – Reese 22 fumble recovery (PAT failed) 2:30
First Downs 9 14
Yards Rushing 7 89
Pass Att./Comp. 11-21 14-21
Yards Passing 85 181
TOTAL OFFENSE 92 270
Fumbles/Rec. 1-1 1-0
Intercepted by 2 0
Punts/Avg. 5-30 2-29
Penalties/Yards 4-30 4-55
Tyrone – Albright 11-3; Lucas 7-(-13); N. Zimmerman 2-11; Hicks 2-22; B. Zimmerman 1-(-4).
Bald Eagle Area – Roberts 9-12; Jones 1-15; McClenahan 3-25; Gardner 1-2; Reese 10-34; Foster 1-(-2); Wible 1-3; Snyder 1-1; Stover 1-(-1).
Tyrone – Light 4-7-34; Lucas 7-14-51.
Bald Eagle Area – Jones 14-21-181, 2 TDs, 2 Int.
Tyrone – Hicks 2-11; Lehman 3-39; Gripp 2-26; Albright 2-8.
Bald Eagle Area – McClenahan 4-31; Gardner 3-44; Turner 2-37; Reese 2-35; Bittinger 2-20; Bisel 1-14.