There is wisdom is some of those dumb old sayings.
Like this one: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’
Even if you’ve tried 14 times already, keep going, because that 15th attempt just might work.
It worked for the Titusville football team anyway.
Breaking a skid that dated back to a 21-0 win over Cochranton on Sept. 6, 2019, the Rockets busted their way back into the win column with an 18-0 shutout over non-region opponent Corry, Friday night at Carter Field.
“This feels amazing,” said Titusville senior lineman Lodge Nosko. “Coming off that loss to Lakeview last week, this feels amazing. And we’ve come up short against Corry in so many seasons. It was heartbreak after heartbreak.
“But the whole town came out to support us tonight. The student section was amazing. This was awesome.”
Nosko is another example of how if things don’t go right the first time, keep trying.
As a lineman, scoring opportunities don’t come around all that often. But he had a golden one midway through the second quarter.
With no score in the game, Corry quarterback Nathan Lesher dropped back to pass. Rockets linebacker Kolin Baker drove through the Beaver blockers, stretched out and tipped Lesher’s attempt into the air.
The ball came down right in the hands of Rockets tackle Zach Whitney. Whitney started trucking, all 300 pounds of him. And he got a good five yards before a few Corry players jumped on his back.
As Whitney was going down, he saw Nosko to his left.
“Zach handed me the ball and I just took off,” said Nosko.
Nosko boogied about 65 yards into the end zone, pulling into the station in front of Titusville’s cheering student section.
Except … back when Whitney was getting tackled, one of the side judges had whistled the play dead. The play was called back for an inadvertent whistle. No touchdown.
“We had that big-man score, that inadvertent whistle,” said Titusville head coach Bryan Baldwin. “That’s the type of thing that happens in a football game. And if you let it, it will spiral out of control. But the guys didn’t a great job of riding the course and not getting down.”
What did Nosko do? He tried and tried again. We’ll get to him in a bit.
First, the Rockets would grab a 6-0 lead with two minutes left in the first half.
Kayden Wolfkiel recovered a Corry fumble on the Beavers’ 44 yard line. A few plays later, Titusville was facing a 4th down and 11 on the 26.
Brock Covell hustled down the right sideline. He was guarded well. But Titusville quarterback Garrett Knapp lofted the football his way.
Covell got a little distance on his defender, jumped for the ball, and made the catch as he fell to his back in the end zone, putting the Rockets on the scoreboard 6-0.
Titusville would be nursing that lead for the rest of the half and a good ways into the third.
That’s when Nosko’s next opportunity presented itself.
The Titusville defense really put the pressure on Lesher in the second half. Lesher was the only thing working for Corry’s offense in the first hald, as he’d spring a couple runs on third down to move the chains.
By the second half, the Rockets weren’t giving him an opportunities to make something happen.
“He had no time to throw,” said Baldwin. “A lot of time you have to trade pressure for coverage, or coverage for pressure. Well, when we brought the pressure, the coverage was there too.
“Coach (Scott) Tenney called a great game,” he added. “And the guys ran it to perfection. A shutout — what more can you ask for?”
Titusville linebacker Drew Wheeling got in on the fun when he dumped Lesher on two straight pass attempts. Finally, Corry had to punt on its own 14. The Beavers’ Nolan Carey got the snap and kicked the ball … but Nosko was right in front of him.
“It hit my hands and I just caught it,” Nosko said.
Nosko only had about 7-8 yards to get to the end zone this time. He made it in, and headed back to the student section to say ‘Hi.’
“That worked,” said Nosko. “I’d get it in one way or the other.”
Titusville later put the capper on with five minutes left in the first. Rockets Antonio Malave faked out his defender to get open at the goal line, and pulled in a 26-yard pass from Knapp to make it 18-0.
Knapp finished the game 11-for-17 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Covell caught four passes for 53 yards. Malave had six catches for 45 yards. Baker had a terrific bobbling catch for 19 yards as well.
“Going 0-6 last year, and losing that game last week,” said Baldwin, whose team is now 1-1 on the year, “this was like a monkey coming off our backs. We worked hard this week cleaning up the unforced errors, and it showed. Hopefully this is something we can build off of and keep rolling.”