MERCER Sharon rallies past Grove City
The Tigers scored the final two touchdowns in a 14-6 victory.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
SHARON, Pa. -- For the first 13 minutes of Friday night's matchup with Sharon, things looked good for the Grove City High football team.
But after the Eagles opened a 6-0 lead over their hosts, the Tigers dominated action on both sides of the ball during the final 35 minutes of the game to tally 14 unanswered points for a 14-6 win.
"These guys just don't give up," Sharon coach Bo Reichart said. "Last week we came out in the second half and did what we had to do, and tonight they did it again."
Taking advantage of good field position on the Sharon 40, the Eagles used two big plays by quarterback Mike Bashline to get to the Sharon 6-yard line.
From there, it was 3 yards for Josh Bowser before Justin Robinson finished the job with a 3-yard TD run on the next play.
After an exchange of punts early in the second period, the field position advantage turned from the Eagles to the Tigers as Sharon took over on the Grove City 45.
Two running plays got the ball to the Grove City 34, and from there, it was two 12-yard runs by tailback Marcus Smith before he finished off the short drive with a 10-yard burst into the end zone. Adam Listopad's PAT made it 7-6 Sharon at the break.
"Marcus is a great running back," Reichart said. "If you give him the ball and he is running like he is capable of, he is hard to stop.
"The offensive line did a great job blocking for him and he held onto the ball for the most part. He is a player, a real gamer, and when he gets into the game, he knows it is show time."
With the slim 7-6 lead, the Tigers came out of the dressing room following the intermission and completely took over the game on both sides of the ball.
Combining a solid ground game with a swarming defense, it was all Sharon during the final 24 minutes as the Eagles had more than their share of problems just getting out of the shadows of their own end zone.
During the second half, the Tigers' defense limited the Eagles to three straight three-and-outs before intercepting a pass on Grove City's fourth possession.
"Grove City has an outstanding offensive football team, but our defense loves to challenge and that is what we are going to do all year long," Reichart said.
After watching his team lose for the first time in five starts, Grove City coach Jeff Bell also had a lot of praise for the Tigers' defense.
"My hat is off to the Sharon defense because they played as tough as they could have," Bell said. "The one big difference between their defense and ours is that they had some help on offense and we didn't."
Bell also pointed out that Sharon kept changing things up defensively and that confused his kids on offense.
"We would come out in a formation and when we saw where they were and called the same formation again, they weren't in the same look," he said. "That is good defensive play and coaching on their part."
With Sharon clinging onto the slim one-point advantage, Smith, who rushed 38 times for 136 yards, capped the game's scoring with 4:30 left in the third period with a 1-yard run to set the final.