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PV special teams shine bright despite loss to Tyrone

SPRING MILLS – With a postseason type atmosphere, the Penns Valley Rams football team took undefeated Tyrone down into the final minutes before falling 27-21 in a Mountain League thriller Friday night.

“The special teams is one of the three phases we work very hard at it,” said Penns Valley coach Martin Tobias. “Our kids take a lot of pride in it and it sure helped us tonight.”

The game had a little bit of everything, hard hits, special teams  plays, lead changes and last second defensive stands and that was just in the first half alone.

Both teams had mixed a strong passing game with a grind it out running attack.

In the fourth quarter, the Rams found themselves trailing 13-7 after a scoreless third period.

Late in the third, the Rams got the ball on its own 47.

They went immediately to the air where quarterback Aiden Brinker found his favorite receiver Gage Ripka for a 5-yard strike.

From there it took just six plays for Brinker and Gage Ripka hooked you for a 4-yard touchdown pass. Ripka’s five in the end zone, tied the game at 13-13 at 10:32 left in the game.

The fans went wild went Ripka sent the extra point through the upright, giving the Rams their first lead of the game at 14-13.

With the momentum, Penns Valley kicked the ball to the Golden Eagles hoping that the defense could slow down quarterback Brandon Lucas and running back Tommy Hicks.

Starting with the ball at its own 41, Tyrone slowly and methodically worked its way down the field, marching down in a 12-play drive that culminated in a Hicks 1-yard touchdown run.

On the PAT, the Golden Eagles went for a 2-point conversion and was successful, giving Tyrone back the lead at 21-14.

But the Rams wouldn’t trail very long.

In the following kickoff, Penns Valley got the ball to Ripka at the seven and he blazed his way down the field for the 93-yard kick off return for a touchdown.

And with his kick on the PAT, the game was knotted at 21.

Both defenses took over and it would be the Rams that would catch the first break.

Mason Lieb picked off an overthrown pass by Lucas, giving his team the ball at their own 33.

However, the Golden Eagles defense would force Penns Valley to punt the ball.

Starting at their own 29, Tyrone’s offense was again driving, marching down on a 5-play drive which ended in a Lucas 45-yard TD hook up with his favorite target Damon Gripp, giving them a 27-21 advantage with 1:38 left in the contest.

“He had a nice double move,” said Tobias. “ It was a well thrown ball. He’s a dynamic ball player. We knew we had to contain him. We knew we weren’t going to stop him  and he got us on that one.”

But like it had for a lot of the contest, the Penns Valley special teams penetrated the PAT causing their kicker to speed up his kick sending off wide right.

Penns Valley tried to march down the field on offense, but the Tyrone defense was too much .

Ironically, it would be the Penns Valley defense that would open up the scoring.

With Tyrone setting up for a punt, the Rams exploded through the line and blocked a kick in the end zone.

With a pile of Rams in the football it would be Tanner Ilgen that would cone up with it, making it 7-0.

Tyrone tied it late in the first when Lucas hooked up with wide out Keegan Gwinn for a 17-yard TD. A successful PAT, knotted things at seven.

In the second, the Golden Eagles added another when Hicks blasted through the line for a 4-yard TD run.

The PAT was blocked by the tough special team unit.

Things almost got worse for Penns Valley as  a turnover put the Tyrone offense deep in Rams territory.

Facing a 4th and goal at the three, the Penns Valley defense held, keeping them in the game and taking the two teams into intermission with just six points separating them.

It would be a back-and-forth-battle to the very end as both teams refused to give up.

Tyrone 27, Penns Valley  21

Tyrone             7 6 0 14 -27

Penns Valley 7 0 0 14 – 21


First quarter

PV – Tanner Ilgen blocked punt recovery in the end zone, (Gage Ripka kick), 3:14.

T – Brandon Lucas 17-yard TD pass  to Keegan Gwinn (Kendall Markley),0:49.

Second quarter

T – Thomas Hicks 4-yard TD run ( kick blocked), 6:02.

Fourth Quarter

PV – Aiden Brinker 4-yard TD pass to Gage Ripka (Ripka kick), 10:32.

T – Hicks 1-yard run ( 2-point conversion), 5:52.

PV – Gage Ripka 93-yard kick off return (Ripka kick), 5:37.

T – Lucas 45-yard TD pass to Damon Gripp (kick failed), 1:38.


                                    TY     PV

First Downs             17      15

Rushes-Yards    27-65  29-96

Comp-Att-Int   17-27-1 17-29-0

Passing Yards      207    122

Total Plays-Yards  44-272 46-218

Fumbles-Lost       1-0    1-1

Penalties-Yards   3-25 4-50



Rushing: Penns Valley –  Seth Baney 9-24, Aiden Brinker  17-41, Gage Ripka 3-31.

Tyrone –  Tommy Hicks 15-45, Matt Clifton 2-8, Brandon Lucas 8-6, Ross Gampe 1-1, Anthony Lowery 1-5.

Passing: Penns Valley – Brinker 17-29 122 . Tyrone     Lucas 17-27 207.

Receiving: Penns Valley  – Stephan Ripka 6-38, Gage Ripka 8-35 Tanner Ilgen 1-6, Alex Hammer 1-38, Miles Brooks 1-8. Tyrone – Damon Gripp 11-141, Hicks 2-34, Clifton 1-5, Gampe 2-10, Keegan Gwinn 1-17.

Interceptions— Penns Valley  1. Tyrone 0.

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