MERCER COUNTY —
Like an extra-inning baseball game, there was a timeless quality to Friday night’s 67th edition of the Steel Bowl.
Four quarters and 48 minutes on the scoreboard clock and 3 hours in real time were not enough.
A 14-point 3rd-quarter lead was not safe, owing to a 14-point rally.
Ten fumbles, 3 interceptions and 14 penalties only heightened the drama.
Ultimately in double-overtime, Farrell High’s Dewayne Burns’ 5-yard sweep and Diallo Lewis’ interception enabled the Steelers to stymie Sharon, 21-14, at Anthony J. Paulekas Stadium.
“I definitely missed this. It’s why I came back,” related Steelers’ skipper Jarrett Samuels, who returned following a 1-year hiatus.
Standing on Lou Falconi Field — named in honor of his coach — Samuels, like his Sharon counterpart Bob Fromm, has seen this Shenango Valley struggle from the perspectives of player and coach. However he admitted he enjoyed the former moreso, chuckling,
“If I was playing, there wouldn’t have been overtime.”
Fromm admitted losing the Steel Bowl as a coach is more painful.
“You want it so bad for your kids, for your seniors who have worked their tails off, pretty much, for four years,” the Tigers’ taskmaster admitted after consoling quarterback Jesse Rodgers.
Farrell forged its 4th consecutive win in the rivalry that dates back to 1922. However Sharon maintains a 36-25-7 edge in the all-time series.
“Sharon is a top-notch program. Coach Fromm and his staff do an excellent job. Much respect,” Samuels emphasized, adding, “Both cities are going through a tough time right now. But this is what it’s all about: Both coming together as one, and this was a great football game.”
However it appeared as though, at times, neither club was going to win despite their respective will to do so.
Following a scoreless 1st half the Steelers struck twice in the initial 9èminutes of the 3rd quarter.
Joe Goudy orchestrated a 2nd half-opening 12-play, 78-yard, 7-minute, 12-second drive that he capped by tossing an 11-yard TD on a pop pass over the middle to Austin Pickens. Four plays later on Sharon’s ensuing series Farrell’s Jalen Scott recovered a Tigers’ turnover at Sharon’s 28-yard line. That set up Goudy’s 11-yard dart to a slanting Burns on a 2nd-and-10 play.
Pickens’ 2nd straight PAT provided the Steelers with a seemingly safe 14-0 lead.
But just 8 seconds after that 2nd Steelers’ score, Sharon signal-caller Rodgers reeled off a 59-yard scoring sprint via the read-option. Craig Osmon’s subsequent conversion kick drew the Tigers within 14-7 with 61 seconds left in the period. Carnell Hawkins’ crushing block provided Rodgers’ running room.
Inexplicably, the Steelers squandered an opportunity to secure the win with approximately 5èminutes remaining.
A Sharon fumble on an ill-fated 2nd-and-14 bubble screen was recovered by the Steelers at the Tigers’ 18. But Goudy’s 1st-down pass to the end zone was pilfered by Sharon’s Wanya Smith-Austin at the goal line. Regaining his feet, Smith-Austin, escorted by a convoy of Tigers’ teammates, sprinted down the sideline right in front of Farrell’s bench the length of the field. Osmon booted the game-tying PAT with 5:17 left in regulation.
The teams traded turnovers in the final 5-plus minutes, necessitating the extra sessions. PIAA regulations stipulate a coin toss, then both teams have alternate 4-down series from the 10-yard line.
Sharon had the best scoring opportunity during the 1st OT period, but Osmon’s 27-yard field-goal attempt was short of the crossbar and just wide to the left.
In the 2nd stanza the Steelers struck on a 2nd-and-5 play when Burns burst for the end zone on a toss right. Pickens provided the PAT.
Sharon’s subsequent series ended with Tyrone Archie ripping down Rodgers for a 1-yard loss on 1st down; Malik Graham KO’ing Rodgers’ 2nd-and-11 pass to Hawkins, then Lewis stepping in front of Rodgers’ 3rd-down pass over the middle.
“Diallo stayed home. He told me before the second overtime, ‘Coach, we got this.’ And I just told him to have fun and enjoy the moment,” Samuels, the former Farrell linebacker, related.
“We had a lot of fun out there. My guys would not quit on me. They stayed with it, and persevered and showed the will to win,” Samuels praised, admitting, “I’m glad we got out of here with a win. I was getting nervous over there.”
Rodgers rushed for a game-high 122 yards on 22 totes while playing with a bruised collarbone sustained in a recent scrimmage and reinjured during the game. He was forced to sit out a series.
“He’s got the heart of a lion,” an admiring Fromm praised. “He put it on the line; all our guys put it on the line.
“Of course there were a lot of mistakes, and we knew that coming in — we’re a little bit younger and we knew there would be some inexperienced play out there,” Fromm admitted. “But they overcame it every time one of those things happened. I don’t think they ever got down on themselves.
“A senior made a big play down there with that interception return,” Fromm continued, noting the unpredictable, unique nature of the Steel Bowl, “and that’s as quick as it can happen in this game.
“We had our chances to slug it out in overtime, and we just didn’t make a play. They just made one more play than us,” Fromm acknowledged. “It’s gonna sting, it’s an emotional loss, but a good football game. We’ve got a whole season to go, and as long as we keep improving the way we are right now, I think Sharon’s gonna be just fine.”
Samuel’s initial Steelers’ stint included 48 wins, a District 10 Class A 3-peat, and 3 consecutive PIAA Final Four berths.
“It’s definitely a good start. We’ve got a very young team; we played a lot of freshmen,” Samuels said. “We wanted to get off to a great start. It was a nail-biter, but a W’s a W, and I’ll take it.”
SHARON 0 0 7 7 0 0 14
FARRELL 0 0 14 0 0 7 21
F — Pickens, 15 pass from Goudy (Pickens kick)
F — Burns, 11 pass from Goudy (Pickens kick)
S — J. Rodgers, 59 run (Craig Osmon kick)
S — Smith-Austin, 100 Int. ret. (C. Osmon kick)
F — Burns, 5 run (Pickens)
9 First downs 15
143 Rushing yards 192
-6 Passing yards 93
12-3-3 Att-comp-int 16-7-1
137 Total yards 285
5-3 Fumbles-lost 5-2
8-51 Penalties-yards lost 5-25
Rushing: SHARON — Rodgers 22-122, Bonner 7-21, Lampkins 6-14, Johnson 1-4, Mosley 2-(-14), Team 1-(-4). FARRELL — Johnson 15-92, Burns 13-57, Goudy 15-40, Graham 2-6, Jackson 2(-3).
Passing: SHARON — Rodgers 12-3-3, minus-6; FARRELL — Goudy 16-7-1, 93.
Receiving: SHARON — Hawkins 2-(-11), Teague 1-5; FARRELL — Hyman 2-26, Burns 2-27, Graham 1-18, Pickens 1-11, Johnson 1-7.
Missed Field Goal: Sharon, Osmon, 27.
Steelers win Steel Bowl in 2nd overtime
MERCER COUNTY —
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