It was not the performance Coach John Franco wanted, but it was the result the Golden Eagles desperately needed after losing each of their first two games on the final play from scrimmage.
Tyrone surrendered 367 yards, turned the ball over on its first two possessions, and showed a serious issue with tackling in the open, but in the end the Eagles had just enough in the tank to get a win over Bishop Carroll Catholic, topping the Huskies 28-20 last night in Ebensburg.
It was the first loss this season for Carroll, which had outscored its first two opponents 72-0.
“I didn’t think we played very well at all, technically,” said Franco, who earned his first victory at Tyrone since his last coaching stint in the borough in 2011. “But I think we’re very resilient. We don’t quit, and we just keep coming back.”
Strictly speaking, the Golden Eagles needed only one comeback against the Huskies, who led briefly in the second quarter, 12-7. But Franco was alluding to the slew of times his team answered scores with scores and ended drives with takeaways or big stops.
Against a team that seemingly moved the ball at will after a slow start in the first quarter, that may not seem possible, but the fact is Tyrone never broke when things mattered most.
I think we’re very resilient. We don’t quit, and we just keep coming back.John Franco
“I thought we played twice as well last week under those circumstances, but give them credit. That’s a good team,” Franco said. “That’s not the Bishop Carroll of old. They were 2-0 for a reason.”
Tyrone improved to 1-2 with its first victory since last September. It also got its first Mountain League win since defeating Philipsburg-Osceola in Week 4 of 2018. The Huskies fell to 2-1 and 0-1.
The Eagles continued to produce offensively with sustained drives, punting only once, but their first two drives ended in turnovers, forcing the defense to make a couple of early stands.
Hamid Rodkey intercepted Brandon Lucas on the first play of the game, but in response Tyrone’s defense limited the Huskies to four plays before turning the ball over on downs.
Noah Zimmerman fumbled on Tyrone’s second series, but the defense again stood tall, allowing Carroll to get no further than their 39 before Kyle Silva stuffed Mavrick Farabaugh for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-2.
“It was really big that we threw an interception on the first play of the game, and then we stopped them,” said Franco.
Tyrone got on the board in the first quarter with a one-yard run by Lucas to end a 58-yard drive, one in which Damon Gripp was inserted to provide a deep threat against the Huskies, who were stacking the box with their 3-5 defense and rarely playing with safety help in the middle. Gripp had been questionable throughout the week after spraining an ankle against Central, but he had a 26-yard reception on the drive to loosen up the defense.
Carroll answered with a 13-yard pass from Hunter Dumm to TJ Novak with 8:35 to play in the second quarter, ending a 9-play, 62-yard drive the ignited the combination of Dumm and Jake Zazvrskey.
After puttering through the first quarter, Dumm would finish with 247 passing yards while Zazvrskey ran for 65 yards and caught 9 passes for 182 yards.
“(Zazvrskey) and (Dumm) are as good as any players we’ve seen this year,” Franco said. “That’s not a bad football team at all.”
The combination got the Huskies their first lead on a 41-yard hook-up for a score with 2:44 left until halftime. As on Carroll’s first score, the PAT attempt failed, and the Huskies led 12-7.
It was their last lead of the game. Tyrone answered with a 58-yard drive on its final possession of the half, with Lucas hooking up with Brandon Homan twice for 33 yards and ending the march with his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard sneak.
Tyrone’s defense finally got to Dumm early in the third when the senior threw high over the middle and was intercepted by Broc Zimmerman, who returned the pick to the Huskies 34. Seven plays later, Lucas froze the defense with play-action before tossing to Noah Zimmerman in the flat for a 6-yard touchdown pass that made it 21-12 after the third of Keegan Raabe’s four PAT kicks.
“That was miscommunication with the wide receivers,” said Bishop Carroll coach Sean Billings. “Sometimes plays don’t get relayed properly. But they made a big play, and it really took some momentum out. We had a couple swings and thought we could get it back, but we just shot ourselves in the foot.”
The two-score lead was important because it put Carroll in chase mode, and while the Huskies were effective playing from behind, they could never get the defensive stops necessary to complete the comeback.
Following Noah Zimmerman’s touchdown, Dumm again found Zazvrskey on a short route, and Zazvrskey once more turned little into a lot, racing 73 yards to the 7 to set up a touchdown run by Farabaugh making it 21-18.
“We had a lot of trouble tackling in a space, and we’ve got to correct that,” said Franco. “We have worked that in practice like you wouldn’t believe. Unfortunately, we don’t have the guys to simulate the quickness that (Zazvrskey) had.”
On the heels of the Farabaugh score, Tyrone ate up seven minutes with a 12-play drive that lasted into the fourth quarter. Gripp had a 7-yard reception on fourth-and-5 to extend the drive the the Huskies 15, and after a couple of negative plays he pulled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Lucas to make it 28-18.
Carroll then drove as far as the Tyrone 25 before Lucas picked off Dumm at the goal line. While it thwarted the drive, it also forced the Eagles to run plays from their 1, and on second down Noah Zimmerman was engulfed in the endzone for a safety to make it 28-20 with 3:49 to play.
Following the free kick, Carroll became its own worst enemy, committing five penalties in a drive that would get no further than the Tyrone 46.
The Huskies ended the game with 11 penalties for 103 yards.
“We just didn’t take advantage of what we had,” said Billings. “They played good D.”
Tyrone will return home next Friday to face Philipsburg-Osceola, while the Huskies travel to Bald Eagle Area.
Score by Quarters
TYRONE 7 7 7 7 – 28
BISHOP CARROLL 0 12 6 2 – 20
T – Lucas 1 run (Raabe kick) 1:07
B – Novak 13 pass from Dumm (PAT failed) 8:35
B – Zazvrskey 41 pass from Dumm (PAT run failed) 2:44
T – Lucas 1 run (Raabe kick) 48.9
T – Zimmerman 6 pass from Lucas (Raabe kick) 7:32
B – Farabaugh 7 run (PAT run failed) 4:28
T – Gripp 19 pass from Lucas (Raabe kick) 9:41
B – Safety (Zimmerman tackled in end zone) 3:49
First Downs 14 16
Att-Yards Rushing 38-129 26-120
Pass Att.-Comp.-Int 8-11-1 14-24-3
Passing Yards 114 247
Total Plays-Yards 49-243 49-367
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-15 11-103
Punts-Average 1-40 0-0
Tyrone — Lucas 16-57; Zimmerman 11-28; Beck 10-45; Team 1-(-1).
Bishop Carroll – Dumm 10-54; Zazvrskey 12-65; Farabaugh 4-1.
Tyrone — Lucas 8-11-114, 2 TDs, 1 Int.
Bishop Carroll – Dumm 14-24-247, 2 TDs, 3 Int.
Tyrone — Gripp 4-69; Homan 2-32; Zimmerman 1-6; Beck 1-7.
Bishop Carroll – Novak 3-40; Zazvrskey 9-182; Farabaugh 1-0; Rodkey 1-26.