Tyrone running back Corrie Beck and his abilities as a pass-catcher out of the backfield was something Coach Jeff Vroman and his Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties discussed this week.
The Mounties knew Tyrone liked to find him off of play-action. They knew about the bread-and-butter toss to Beck in the flat. They were aware of his speed and ability to turn a pass heading towards the sidelines north and south in a hurry.
None of this was surprising to P-O. It was something the Mounties saw coming a mile away.
But knowing something is coming and stopping it are two different things.
While the Mounties were absolutely certain the time was going to come when the senior runner left the backfield off a fake handoff and drifted into the flat for a short toss from his quarterback looking to haul it a long ways, when the time came to defend it, it didn’t matter. Tyrone ran the play to perfection – several times – for big gains.
And each time it worked it was one more sign that the Golden Eagles offense – idle on the runway for so much of the 2021 season – was finally getting itself in gear.
With an offense showing big-play capabilities over and over, the Golden Eagles rode the passing of freshman Ashton Walk and the hands and feet of several reliable receivers like Beck to a 38-7 victory over P-O last night at Philipsburg-Osceola Area Stadium.
It was the second straight win for Tyrone, which evened its record at 4-4 and finished its cycle through the Mountain League at 4-2.
Beck himself finished with 3 receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown, one of five receivers to pull in passes for at least 12 yards. Walk, meanwhile, in his first varsity start, completed 11 of 19 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns.
But his initial completion was the longest, and possibly the biggest for the Golden Eagles, who were hoping to build off the momentum Walk provided a week ago when he took over at quarterback in the second quarter and rallied Tyrone from a two touchdown deficit to defeat Penns Valley at home.
On the Golden Eagles’ first play from scrimmage at the Tyrone 27, Walk faked to Brady Ronan on a run up the middle and hit Beck in the flat. Darting between two defenders, Beck did the rest, jetting 73 yards for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game. The first of five PAT kicks from Keegan Gwinn made it 7-0, and immediately the Mounties, who had lost their previous two games by a combined 98-0, were behind.
“They hurt us in the pass game,” said Mountie coach Jeff Vroman. “It wasn’t anything we haven’t seen. We covered the flat all week. We worked on it, and they executed it. They made the plays when they had to.”
Franco said the key to the play was the fake against a defense that was rushing hard.
It was only the beginning for Walk and the Golden Eagles. Walk would go on to throw for 206 yards over the first two quarters while the Eagles, whose best offensive production until last week was 226 yards, went over 300 yards for the second straight game with 354.
Tyrone extended its lead before the first quarter was over after Jake Johnson blocked a punt deep in Mountie territory and returned it to the 4. Not long after, Keegan Gwinn slipped a kick just over the left side of the uprights from 30 yards out to make it 10-0.
Tyrone then scored on two of its three second-quarter possessions to go up big by halftime, with Walk completing all four of his pass attempts. The first came on a 50-yard drive in which the Eagles had to overcome a holding penalty that set them back to the 26. But on the play following the flag, Walk connected with Cortlynd Rhoades for a moderate gain before Rhoades shook a couple of tacklers and crossed the goal line to make it 17-0.
After that, the Eagles went back to Old Reliable, the play everyone knew was coming. Taking over at the 35, Walk again found Beck out of the backfield, with the play this time gaining 48 yards to P-O’s 17. On the next play, Kolten Miller sliced his way through the Mounties’ defense for a score that made it 24-0.
Walk got his third touchdown pass on Tyrone’s first drive of the second half, which went 49 yards on 7 plays. It ended when Rhoades got behind the defense in the end zone for a 24-yard aerial strike that made it 31-0.
While Walk’s ability to throw on the run and allude the Mounties’ pass rush was a big factor in his eye-opening debut as a starter, Franco was quick to credit Tyrone’s offensive line which, while it struggled opening holes for Tyrone’s running game, gave Walk ample time and allowed only one sack.
“He made some good plays, no doubt about it,” Franco said of Walk. “But he doesn’t make those plays if our linemen aren’t blocking well. We still have to do a better job run blocking, but as the game goes on, we seem to run the ball better and better. We use our passing game to open up our run.”
The Eagles final score came late in the fourth quarter to set the mercy rule in effect. On the heels of a fumble recovery by Gwinn, Tyrone marched 41 yards to score on Miller’s second touchdown run, this one coming from 11 yards out with 3:29 to play to make it 38-0.
By then, P-O had surrendered 136 straight points over its last 12 quarters. The Mounties would get on the board with 4.9 seconds to play when quarterback Ben Gutskey hit Nick Johnson for a 36-yard score.
Though Tyrone won handily on the scoreboard, picking up its 18th straight win over the Mounties, there were areas that remained a concern. Tops among them was the Eagles’ running game, which produced only 49 yards on 28 carries, an average of just 1.75 yards per attempt.
“I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage most of the game,” said Vroman. “Up front, I’m happy with the way my kids played. We just need to be more consistent.”
P-O, meanwhile, ran for 143 yards, though when push came to shove Tyrone found a way to limit the Mounties’ ground success when it had to.
Vroman said the next step for the Mounties, which fell to 2-6 (1-4 Mountain League) is to develop consistency.
The Eagles travel to Hollidaysburg next Friday to take on the 3-4 Golden Tigers, which snapped a two-game losing streak last night with a 35-20 win over West Mifflin. Now 2-6, P-O will host Penns Valley.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
TYRONE 10 14 7 7 – 38
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 0 0 0 7 – 7
T – Beck 73 pass from Walk (Gwinn kick) 10:10
T – Gwinn 30 field goal :23.6
T – Rhoades 26 pass from Walk (Gwinn kick) 8:18
T – Miller 17 run (Gwinn kick) 5:21
T – Rhoades 21 pass from Walk (Gwinn kick) 9:14
T – Miller 11 run (Gwinn kick) 3:29
P – Johnson 36 pass from Gutskey (Long kick) :4.9
First Downs 14 11
Yards Rushing 28-49 50-143
Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 11-19-0 3-12-0
Yards Passing 305 48
TOTAL OFFENSE 354 191
Fumbles/Lost 1-0 1-1
Punts/Avg. 2-37 4-32.6
Penalties/Yards 4-27 1-4
TYRONE – Ronan 9-12; Beck 3-(-1); A. Walk 4-2; Miller 9-42; L. Walk 1-0; LeGars 1-(-4); Team 1-(-2).
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA – Faust 12-72; Hughes 9-25; Martin 10-48; Gutskey 9-(-2).
TYRONE – Walk 11-19-305, 3 TDs, 0 Int.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA – Gutskey 3-12-48, 1 TD, 0 Int.
TYRONE – Beck 3-134; Rhoades 3-94; Gampe 2-29; Baldauf 2-29; Smith 1-19.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA – Faust 1-2; Martin 1-10; Johnson 1-36.