GREENVILLE — Brian Herrick had tears in his eyes; Jerry Pacifico punished himself.
For people who don’t understand the intensity of the Greenville-Reynolds rivalry and these two men — both of whom now coach their respective alma maters’ football programs — well, that’s pricisely the point, and you should have had a Stewart Field seat Friday night.
Cody Nellis’ 10-yard run and Casey Eells’ subsequent conversion kick gave Greenville a 27-26 overtime win in a District 10 Region 3-AA showdown.
Herrick had to compose himself for several seconds before saying, “I am so happy for our five seniors. ... I’m extremely proud of them, the way they came back.
“Our kids, they know when to fight back, and I’m just extremely proud of their effort,” Herrick added.
The Trojans’ triumph was a product of a furious 4th-frame rally from a 20-6 deficit as Jacob Riffe rifled 45- and 43-yard touchdown tosses to Luke Houpt and Andy Jones, respectively. Eells’ converision kick following the latter with 2:07 left knotted the count at 20.
The loss was particularly painful for Pacifico and his Raiders (3-3, 5-3), who ran roughshod over Greenville for 3 quarters.
Running behind a line composed of tight end Levi Stoyer, guards Joe Yarzab and Logan Rickert, tackles Jamar Henry and Alex McWherter and center Gene Ringer, Mike Millero manfactured a game-high 37-carry, 160-yard performance that included a 34-yard 3rd-quarter scoring sprint. Millero became Reynolds’ 2nd sophomore to surpass the 1,000-yard single-season rushing standard, Pacifico said.
With a 20-6 lead and 12:18 remaining in regulation, Reynolds was ripe for its initial postseason berth during Pacifico’s tenure.
“The fourth quarter we had to sustain a drive, we had to try to keep the ball away from them. That was our game plan; we just didn’t get it done,” Pacifico said, relating,
“Absolutely it had a playoff feel. We win it, we’re in it. That was our goal at the beginning of the year. Our kids fought hard, they wanted to win. It was not a lack of effort; (Herrick) just outcoached me. He got me at the end there. He got me with ‘quads’ (empty back, 4-receiver sets); we just weren’t ready for it. He was just a better coach than I was (Friday) night.”
Greenville (4-2, 4-4) generated only 80 total yards of 1st-half offense, which was virtually negated by 66 yards in penalties, including a half-dozen illegal-procedure calls. Then the Trojans went 3-and-out on all three 3rd-quarter possessions.
However during the 4th frame Riffe recorded a 9-for-11 passing performance for 188 yards. He finished 13 for 22 for 225 yards, also tossing an 8-yard TD to Tyler Fattman in Greenville’s initial drive at the 9:34 mark of the 1st frame. It was set up when Fattman recovered Eells’ pooched kickoff to commence the contest.
Down 2 scores in the final frame the Trojans traveled 91 yards in 8 plays, with Riffe and Houpt collarborating on a 45-yard TD with 6:48 remaining in regulation.
Subsequently after coercing a Reynolds’ punt and assuming possession at their own 20-yard line with 4:42 left, Greenville got the game-tying TD.
Riffe connected with Fattman, Jones and Houpt for gains of 14, 6 and 14, respectively. Then on a 3rd-and-9 from his own 46, Riffe feathered a pass along the sideline to Justin Reynolds for 11 yards and a drive-sustaining 1st down.
On the ensuing play, Herrick’s offensive coordinator Mike Menold called “LSU tight end pop pass,” according to Riffe, who related,
“Coach brought the tackle and a couple receivers off to the right. Andy was still on the line and was still eligible. The safety was off to the right, so I just dumped it over the linebacker.”
Riffe, recalling a wide open Jones stationed in the center of the field, said with a smile his intention was,
“Don’t overthrow it, don’t underthrow it, just get it to him, I don’t care if it’s a spiral or not. Just get it to him, and he was off to the races.”
A 3-and-out resulted in Reynolds’ last regulation possession. And in spite of a Riffe-to-Houpt 2nd-down 32-yard connection, the Trojans’ last drive ended with — not surprisingly — an illegal-procedure penalty when Riffe’s attempted spike to stop the clock occurred before his line was set.
In OT, Greenville, having won the toss, elected to begin on defense. But on 4th-and-goal, Clayton Stoyer scored his second 1-yard plunge. However, having had difficulty with their kicking game, the Raiders opted to run for a 2-point PAT; but Trey VanAken, Jacob Brown and Houpt hit Millero shy of the end zone.
Nellis notched his TD on a Jet sweep around left end on Greenville’s offensive initial play in OT. But Eells — son of legendary Trojans’ tailback Jim Eells — had to weather 2 times-out, 1 by each team, before attempting his game-winning PAT, which he ultimately drilled into the misty darkness.
“It feels awesome! It feels great!” Riffe admitted. “We were down twenty-to-six, and I know some of the kids had their heads down. But I was like, ‘No, we’re winning this game,’ and we did. ... It definitely had a playoff atmosphere to it.”
A week ago Greenville had its head handed to it at Albion by Northwestern (42-7).
“This is probably in the top two,” Herrick responded when asked to put into perspective the magnitude of the win during his Trojan tenure. “Nobody gave us a chance. ... I’m proud of them, ’cause we got ‘waxed’ last week. And for our kids to bounce back and to play as well as they did (Friday)night after the butt-whipping we took last week, it’s a credit to the kids and my staff,” Herrick, his voice quivering, concluded. “I want these seniors to have some success, and I’m proud of them.”
Pacifico confronted the disappointment with dignity. Recalling his days playing in the Greenville-Reynolds rivalry, he related,
“It always does. It’s a great feeling, it’s a great rivalry! Both teams played hard. You can’t take anything away from the kids, there was definitely no lack of effort at all. It was a fight to the end. They just scored one more point than we did.”
REYNOLDS 0 14 6 0 6 26
GREENVILLE 6 0 0 14 7 27
G — Fattman, 8 pass from Riffe (kick failed)
R — C. Stoyer, 1 run (kick failed)
R — Millero, 12 run (C. Stoyer run)
R — Millero, 34 run (kick failed)
G — Houpt, 45 pass from Riffe (Eells kick)
G — A. Jones, 43 pass from Riffe (Eells kick)
R — C. Stoyer, 1 run (run failed)
G — Nellis, 10 run (Eells kick)
12 First downs 15
218 Rushing yards 85
25 Passing yards 225
1-1-0 Att-comp-int 22-13-0
243 Total yards 310
3-1 Fumbles-lost 2-1
7-51è Penalties-yards lost 12-76è
Rushing: REYNOLDS — Millero 37-160, Gursky 8-37, C.Stoyer 5-28, Tymchyshyn 1-(-7); GREENVILLE — Nellis 12-50, Fattman 7-40, Black 4-15, Houpt 1-3, VanAken 1-1, Riffe 7-(-18).
Passing: REYNOLDS — C.Stoyer 1-1-0, 25; GREENVILLE — Riffe 22-13-0, 225.
Receiving: REYNOLDS — Gursky 1-25; GREENVILLE — Houpt 5-123, Fattman 5-42, A.Jones 2-49, Reynolds 1-11.
GREENVILLE — Brian Herrick had tears in his eyes; Jerry Pacifico punished himself.
Hickory softball ousted by Warren; Reynolds, Sharpsville games postponed
Three District 10 semifinal playoff softball games were on the schedule Thursday, but only one was played due to the scattered storms that passed through western Pa.
Hickory suffered a 10-0, 6-inning loss to Warren in a D-10 Class AAA game at Allegheny College in Meadville. That game had a rain delay, but was able to be completed. The Reynolds vs. Saegertown game at Allegheny College and the Sharpsville vs. Iroquois game at Penn State-Behrend in Erie were postponed.
Playoffs: GC, Hounds win; Reynolds, Sharpsville softball advance
The District 10 playoffs kicked off on Tuesday for 4 area baseball teams and 5 softball squads.
In Class A softball, Reynolds edged West Middlesex, 5-4, in an 8-inning thriller while Sharpsville ousted Rocky Grove, 5-0. In Class AA, Northwestern beat Wilmington, 9-5, and Harbor Creek defeated Mercer, 4-3.
Hickory boys edge WM for D-10 Class AA Track team title
HARBORCREEK — Hickory High co-head coach Mark Slezak referenced the term “exponential” in explaining the four-fold heart-felt feeling of having a relay team qualify for the PIAA Championships.
That sentiment seemed to summarize Mercer County’s performance during Saturday’s annual District 10 Class AA Track & Field Championships.
5 area teams qualify for D-10 baseball playoffs
Five area baseball teams have qualified for the District 10 playoffs — Grove City, Kennedy Catholic, Sharpsville, West Middlesex and Wilmington.
In the Class A semifinals, Kennedy Catholic faces Cochranton at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Northwestern High School. Rocky Grove faces Eisenhower in the other semifinal game.
Hickory, WM boys to collide at D-10 AA Track & Field Championships
For the 2nd time this week, a District 10 track & field team title could be decided by a pair of Mercer County contingents.
Just as Hickory and Grove City girls contested the Class AAA crown Wednesday night, so, too, are the Hickory and West Middlesex boys anticipating vying for Saturday’s AA title.
Roundup: Reynolds baseball tops GC; Sharpsville, Wilmington softball teams win
ä Reynolds 4, Grove City 1 — At Transfer, Neal Engstrom fired a complete-game 3-hitter with 8 strikeouts and 3 walks in lifting the Raiders (9-8) past the Eagles (14-6).
Ryan Grace was tagged with the loss for Grove City. He struck out 6 batters, issued no walks and gave up 7 hits in going the distance.
GC girls 3-peat at District 10 Class AAA Track & Field Championships
HARBORCREEK— Some athletes seeded 1st in four events would feel pressure. For Grove City High senior Daniel Jaskowak, it’s an opportunity for name recognition.
“I kind’ve like it. It’s cool, because people know who you are,” related Jaskowak, who won 3 events during Wednesday’s District 10 Class AAA Track & Field Championships.
Hickory, GC girls collide at D-10 Class AAA Track & Field Championships
If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. Cliché though that is, it will be borne out today at the annual District 10 Class AAA Track & Field Championships.
Hickory High girls — the defending PIAA Class AA titlists — will test the best from the biggest. And the Lady Hornets hope to give as good as they get from the 6-county competition.
Local tune up for districts at Mercer County Invite
There’s a difference between a warm-up and a warning.
If Saturday’s annual track & field invitational is any indication, Mercer County’s contingent issued a warning for the remainder of District 10: This could be a big year in area annals.
Roundup: Grace, GC beat Sharon, 4-0, in 5 innings
With an impending storm blowing in above Johnny Pepe Field time was limited, so Ryan Grace greedily gobbled up putouts.
Grove City High’s Grace gave up only 3 base hits, and the visiting Eagles eased to an abbreviated 4-0, 5-inning win over Sharon Friday afternoon.
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- Hickory softball ousted by Warren; Reynolds, Sharpsville games postponed