Tyrone Golden Eagles (8-2) vs. Central Scarlet Dragons (8-2)
Friday, November 4, 2022
Gray-Veterans Memorial Field, Tyrone
WHAT’S AT STAKE: This game is a semifinal matchup in the District 6 3A playoffs. Tyrone enters as the No. 2 seed, while Central is No. 3. The winner will face No. 1 Penn Cambria, which received a first-round bye.
SERIES: Tyrone and Central have become familiar rivals since the inaugural game of the series, which took place at Gray Memorial Field in 1970. That game ended in a 20-20 tie, and it was a devastating draw for the Golden Eagles, which ended the season just outside of first place in the Central Counties Conference. Tyrone led 20-0 at halftime and was cruising before the Dragons stormed back to score three unanswered touchdowns in the second half. A blocked extra-point by Larry Turnbaugh saved the day for the Golden Eagles, who would finish the season 8-1-1, the only blemishes on their record the tie with the Dragons and a last-minute loss to Hollidaysburg in the finale.
The series heated up once both schools became members of the Big 8 at different times in the early 1970s, and the momentum of the series went back and forth, with neither team ever winning more than three in a row until the 1990s. Under Coach John Franco, Tyrone won 7 in a row from 1994 through 2000, when the Dragons exited the Big 8 to join the Laurel Highlands. They returned to Tyrone’s schedule in 2007 when they joined the MAC (the precursor of the Mountain League), and the Golden Eagles won two more in 2007 and 2008 before the series gained steam near the end of the decade and beyond.
From 2009 through 2011, the teams would play five times, including a pair of playoff games, and all but one of the contests was decided by 10 or fewer points. Central won in the regular season in 2009, taking a 14-7 decision to clinch a MAC title, but two weeks later Tyrone extracted revenge, winning 7-0 in Roaring Spring in the District 6 2A semis. In 2010, Tyrone used a last-minute drive to steal a 21-20 win in the regular season and then took the semifinal rematch 17-7.
The Eagles and Dragons have squared off four time in the postseason, with each team winning twice. In their most recent playoff showdown, the Dragons won 17-14 in the District 6 3A championship in 2020 thanks to a 23-yard field goal with 25 second to play by Austin Keith.
Tyrone leads the overall series with 24 wins and 21 losses. Two games have ended in ties.
COACHES: John Franco (22nd season at Tyrone, 211-54); Dave Baker (12th season at Central, 103-41).
SEASON RESULTS: Tyrone – defeated Bellwood-Antis (27-12); defeated Brookville (30-0); defeated Philipsburg-Osceola (49-0); defeated Bellefonte (37-7); defeated Huntingdon 14-6; lost to Bald Eagle Area (31-7).; defeated Clearfield (21-14); lost to Penns Valley (28-21); defeated Hollidaysburg (41-28); defeated Saint Marys (forfeit). Central – defeated Bishop Guilfoyle (21-20); lost to Richland (35-28); lost to Penn Cambria (42-28); defeated Forest Hills (39-16); defeated Chestnut Ridge (39-14); defeated Bishop McCort (55-21); defeated Central Cambria (41-10); defeated Bedford (38-35); defeated Westmont Hilltop (44-23); defeated Somerset (47-14).
LAST TIME OUT: Tyrone – won by forfeit over Saint Marys. The Dutch had cancelled the game in January but never informed officials at Tyrone. A week before the game was to be played, Tyrone learned from Hollidaysburg coach Homer DeLattre that the contest would not be played. Saint Marys forfeited to ensure Tyrone would not lose the points that were on the table for District 6 playoff standings, and the Eagles received a No. 2 seed.
In the game preceding the forfeit, Tyrone defeated Hollidaysburg 41-28 at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field, building a 35-0 lead by halftime to have the mercy rule clock rolling for the entire second half. The Tigers scored four touchdowns in the second half, but Brady Ronan’s 41-yard score in the fourth quarter kept Hollidaysburg at bay. Ashton Walk threw for 261 yards and 4 first-half touchdowns, while Ronan carried 22 times for 141 yards.
Central – defeated Somerset 47-14 in Roaring Spring. The Dragons scored 34 points in the first half and got the mercy rule clock running with 13 more in the third. The Dragons produced more than 500 yards in total offense, but at the center of the explosion was quarterback Jeff Hoenstine, who completed 23 of 30 passes for 423 yards and 6 touchdowns. Eli Lingenfelter was the senior’s top target, catching 8 passes for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns. Central’s defense was just as potent, stopping 6 plays behind the line of scrimmage.
LAST MEETING: With 25 seconds left in the District 6 3A championship, Austin Keith buried a 23-yard field goal to break a 14-14 tie and send the Dragons to 17-14 victory over Tyrone at Mansion Park on Saturday, October 31, 2020.
The kick was set up by the play of the game, a 15-yard completion from Ryan Daugherty to Ethan Eicher on third-and-13 from Tyrone’s 41. It was Daugherty’s only pass after he came on in relief of Jeff Hoenstine, who had broken his leg earlier in the game.
Tyrone had fallen behind 14-0 in the second quarter until Brandon Lucas hooked up with Damon Gripp with 17 seconds left in the first half to make it 14-6. The Eagles then tied the game on a short run by Lucas in the fourth quarter. Afterwards, a pass from Lucas to Tommy Hicks for the two-point conversion tied the game with 5:36 to play.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tyrone – Ashton Walk, QB (116-for-210 for 1,455 yards, 21 TD passes, 3 rushing TD) … Ross Gampe, WR-DE (32 receptions for 482 yards, 7 TD receptions, 7 TFL) … Andrew Weaver, TE-DE (19 receptions for 264 yards, 5 TD, 10 TFL, 5 sacks) … Braeden Ewing, OL-DL (21 TFL, 7 sacks) … Luke Walk, RB-LB (2 FR, 1 defensive TD, 1 TD reception) … Dravyn Crowell, WR-DB (1 int. returned for a touchdown, 1 PR for TD, 5 takeaways, 9 receptions for 123 yards, 2 TD) … Deegan Baldauf, WR-DB (9 receptions for 193 yards, 2 TD, 1 PR for TD); Kolten Miller, RB-DB (69 carries for 320 yards, 1 TD, 10 receptions for 103 yards, 1 TD); Brady Ronan, RB-DB (52 carries for 302 yards, 4 TD, 5 TFL). Central – Jeff Hoenstine, QB (209-for-297 for 2,848 yards, 40 TD passes, 84 carries for 442 yards, 7 TDs) … Eli Lingenfelter, WR-DB (69 receptions for 1,199 yards, 21 TDs, 3 ints.) … Hunter Smith, RB-LB (47 carries for 308 yards, 4 TDs, 39 receptions for 438 yards, 4 TDs, 13 TFL, 5 sacks) … Shalen Yingling, WR-DB (29 receptions for 394 yards, 7 TDs) … Dalton Metzger, WR-DB (18 receptions for 252 yards, 1 TD) … Kade Rhule, RB-LB (38 carries for 209 yards, 3 TDs, 16 receptions, 193 yards, 2 TDs) … Jason Clark, RB-LB (7 TFL, 6.5 sacks).
NOTES: After starting the season 5-0, Tyrone is 3-2 in its last 5 games … the Dragons have not been held under 21 points this season and have scored 39 or more 7 times … Central is riding a 7-game winning streak … Tyrone is playing in the District semifinals for the 28th time.