Hollidaysburg ends Oil City's historic season, 33-22 - Titusville Herald: Sports

Hollidaysburg ends Oil City's historic season, 33-22

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Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2018 3:00 am

FRANKLIN — Halftime adjustments can make or break a team. 

In Friday’s PIAA Class 5A Subregional contest at Franklin High School between Oil City and Hollidaysburg, it was the Golden Tigers who made the better adjustments en route to pulling out a 33-22 victory.

Oil City’s Christian Cole, District 10’s all-time single season rushing leader, had his way in the first half. The senior Oiler gained 161 yards on 22 carries and rushed for three scores, leading his team to a slim 22-21 advantage at the intermission.

However, the Golden Tigers held Cole to just 58 yards on 16 carries — only two of which were greater than 10 yards — and pitched a shutout in the second half to advance into the PIAA Quarterfinals.

“The second half, we just tackled hard and played better,” Hollidaysburg coach Homer DeLattre said. “We were more aggressive and more physical in taking on blocks. That’s what we talked about all week. We didn’t do it in the first half, but we did it in the second half and had good results.”

Oil City (10-2) and Hollidaysburg (8-4) opened up the contest with five straight scoring drives.

Cole scored all three Oiler touchdowns in the first half on runs of 7, 4 and 5 yards. His 7-yard score capped the first drive of the game, and a two-point conversion on a pass from Holden Stahl to Brayden Crocker, put Oil City ahead early, 8-0.

Hollidaysburg answered Cole’s run with a quick four-play, 56-yard scoring drive finished off by a 6-yard run by Golden Tiger quarterback Brady Walters. After a successful PAT by Ethan Pinter, the Oilers still led, 8-7, with 7:26 left in the first quarter.

Cole (4-yards) and Walters (13-yards) exchanged rushing touchdowns on their next respective series to close out the first period of play as the Oilers remained in front, 16-14, thanks to another successful two-point try on a Cole rush.

Oil City took an eight-point lead about halfway through the second quarter when Cole rushed for his third score. On that drive, Cole moved the chains on a 3rd and 16 play from the Oiler 25-yard line by leaping over a would-be tackler and darting down the field for a 20-yard gain. Three runs later, the Oilers found themselves ahead 22-14.

During the ensuing Hollidaysburg drive, the Oilers appeared to catch the first break of the night. The Golden Tigers faced a 2nd and 1 from the Oiler 40, and tried to execute a toss to the right. The pitch was dropped by Nate Fisher for a loss of 10 yards, and Hollidaysburg was forced to punt two plays later.

Unfortunately for the Oilers, they could not pull ahead by two scores, and they were forced to punt after a three-and-out.

With 2:20 remaining in the half, Hollidaysburg marched down the field on a six-play, 51-yard scoring drive capped off by an acrobatic 9-yard touchdown pass from Walters to Jacob Sensenig. On the scoring play, Walters fielded a muffed snap and was then forced to roll to his left out of the pocket. Walters threw a jump ball up in the end zone intended for Sensenig, who caught the ball in between a few Oiler defenders for the score. 

Sensenig’s touchdown proved to be quite the momentum swing, as the Golden Tigers were also set to receive the second-half kick after winning the coin toss prior to the contest, and deferring to the second half.

“We finally got that big stop and then scored,” DeLattre said. “We talked about that. If we could get one stop to move it in the other direction, we thought we’d be in good shape.”

Fisher opened the final two periods of play with a 1-yard touchdown run just 91 seconds into the second half. Oil City was able to prevent the two-point try, but the Golden Tigers took their first lead of the night, 27-22.

On the ensuing Oiler drive, the District 10 champions were able to convert a 4th and 2 at their own 27-yard line on a quarterback draw by Stahl. However, a holding call on second down forced the Oilers to face a 3rd and 17 that the Blue and White could not convert.

Oil City punted the ball back to Hollidaysburg, which began the final scoring drive of the night. The Golden Tigers took over at their own 42-yard line, but quickly moved into Oiler territory after a 22-yard dash by Walters. Hunter Barr took the next four handoffs for a combined 27 yards, which set up Walters’ 9-yard touchdown run on a keeper. Hollidaysburg led 33-22 after a blocked PAT by C.J. Shreffler.

During the Oilers’ final four offensive possessions of the 2018 campaign, moving the chains was a struggle. Hollidaysburg forced Oil City to look to other options than Cole, which proved to play right into the Golden Tigers’ hands. 

Stahl completed only two of his seven passing attempts on the evening for 12 yards, while rushing for 37 yards on nine carries. Noah Petro added six carries for 22 yards, but the Oiler offensive just couldn’t move the football.

“Hollidaysburg put more people toward the line of scrimmage [in the second half],” Oil City coach Dan York said. “They probably realized we couldn’t throw the ball very well.” 

Despite being knocked out of the playoffs, 2018 was quite the year for the Oilers. Oil City claimed its second District 10 championship in school history — with the first coming in 1998. Cole set the District 10 single-season rushing record and finished the season unofficially with 3,243 yards and 46 touchdowns.

“It was a great season,” York said. “The kids played hard all year. The further you go in the playoffs, the harder the teams are going to get.

“Christian meant everything [to the program],” York said about his senior running back. “He showed kids that if you work your butt off good things can happen to you.”

Borland can be reached at sports@titusvilleherald.com, and can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ZBraves31.

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