HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Line Mountain falls to Millersburg
MILLERSBURG - Line Mountain won the statistical battle but Millersburg used big plays on offense, defense and special teams to upset the Eagles, 28-26, Friday in the teams' Tri-Valley League openers.
Line Mountain (1-1, 0-1) had a 19-8 advantage in first downs and a total yardage advantage of more than 250 yards, and had possession of the ball in the final three minutes, but the Indians (1-1, 1-0) converted more big plays.
"We gave up too many big plays and made too many mistakes," said Line Mountain coach Rodney Knock. "We have young guys and we have to learn from tonight."
Cory Warford had his second straight 200-yard-plus rushing game, junior quarterback Ryan Reed added 128 yards, and Hunter Hojnacki scored a pair of touchdowns, but it just wasn't enough on one of those strange nights of football.
The Indians had two defensive stops inside their 10-yard line, recovered a muffed kick to set up a touchdown and had a kickoff return touchdown. Line Mountain also continued its extra-point woes of recent years, making only one of four conversion attempts.
The Eagles looked to be in control early when Hojnacki scored on a 10-yard run to finish a 10-play, 68-yard drive for the first touchdown but Millersburg blocked the extra point attempt by Warford, who caught the deflection and almost took it into the end zone.
But sophomore Austin Lehman returned the ensuing kickoff 34
yards to near midfield for Millersburg and the Indians used a pass interference call against the Eagles to set up a 15-yard touchdown run by another sophomore, Tylor Erdman.
The Indians got the ball right back when Connor Keim recovered a muff by the Eagles on the kickoff. Another pass interference call against Line Mountain set the Indians up on the 22, and Ethan Troutman completed his only pass of the night, a 22-yarder to Lehman for the score.
Line Mountain later pinned the Indians back on their own four-yard-line and Garrett Hepner recovered a fumble by Keim at the six, setting up a six-yard touchdown by Hojnacki and the Eagles tied the game with their only successful conversion.
But Erdman went through a big hole on the left side of his line and ran 70 yards untouched for Millersburg on the Indians' first play of their next series to regain the lead, then stopped the Eagles on downs at the two-yard line as the half ended.
Alex Frederick returned the second-half kickoff 80 yards, finding an early seam and went untouched, and the Eagles were down by two scores.
Warford broke off a 77-yard run to Millersburg's seven in the third quarter, but a holding penalty pushed the Eagles back to the 20 and Reed came up two yards short of the goal on a fourth-and-goal run from the seven.
Warford's 56-yard touchdown run with 7.4 seconds left in the third quarter cut the lead to 28-20 and the Eagles scored again on a nine-play, 79-yard drive in which Reed had a 41-yard run to the one on a fourth-and-7. He scored on a sneak with 3:58 remaining.
The Eagles got the ball back at their own 17 with 2:38 to go and picked up a first down, but Lehman made a good defensive play on a pass to set up another fourth down and an incompletion to end the game.
Line Mountain 6 8 6 6 - 26
Millersburg 0 21 7 0 - 28