Nov. 19—SLIPPERY ROCK — Gavin Lutz was deep to receive a punt toward the end of the first half. The punt was partially blocked and it rolled just inside Grove City territory.
Lutz picked up the ball and found some room down the right side, returning the kick 58 yards for a score.
That touchdown gave the Eagles the lead in a District 10 Class 3A title game. And they never looked back as they took a 42-23 victory over Slippery Rock Friday night.
"The team blocked well," Lutz said. "We did what we do."
The Grove City defense and quarter Hunter Hohman took over in the second half. The Rockets didn't pick up a first down in the third quarter. And Hohman got the Eagles' offense in rhythm.
Hohman finished 10-for-13 passing for 153 yards. He also ran for 55 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries.
Anthony Nemec was the leading rusher for the Eagles (9-3). He ran for 87 yards on 19 attempts.
Lutz was the leading receiver with 91 yards off five receptions. Nathan Greer also caught five balls for 62 yards.
Maddox Allen went over the 1,000-yard mark for the Rockets (7-5). He ran for a team-high 87 yards with two scores on 12 carries. Sal Mineo also scored and amassed 31 yards on four attempts.
Slippery Rock quarterback William Mokel was 18-for-26 passing for 140 yards. He carried the ball 11 times for 60 yards.
Lucas Allison led Rockets receivers with five catches for 49 yards. Sam Schwartz had four grabs for 39 yards, and John Sabo caught four balls for 23 yards.
The Rockets got on the board first. Nick Kingerski converted a 21-yard field goal on their opening drive.
The Eagles took the lead on a 5-yard run by Hohman. But Slippery Rock took the lead back on a 1-yard TD run by Mineo with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Following a punt, the Rockets increased their lead to 17-3 on a 33-yard touchdown run by Allen. The Eagles countered with a 12-play, 86-yard drive that was capped with a 1-yard QB keeper by Hohman.
The Eagles took the lead on Lutz's punt return with 38.1 seconds left in the half.
"He knew he could scoop it and see what he could do with it," Grove City head coach Sam Mowrey said. "He was able to catch them, maybe, a little bit off guard. Picked it up, got a couple nice blocks and finished in the end zone. That's just a heads-up play, and those are the types of plays that just change games."
Grove City received the kickoff to start the third quarter. The Eagles put together a 13-play, 8-yard drive with Hohman finding room on the left edge for a 12-yard rushing touchdown. The score gave the Eagles a 28-17 lead by the end of the third quarter at Slippery Rock U.
Hohman's fourth touchdown of the game looked similar to his previous score. Hohman had some room on the left side and ran for a 31-yard TD at the start of the fourth quarter.
Nemec recovered a fumble and took it 55 yards to the house for a 42-17 lead, pushing the game out of reach four plays later.
The Rockets put together one final drive that ended with an 8-yard TD run by Allen.
"Just couldn't get momentum," Slippery Rock head coach Larry Wendereusz said. "We had it at the start and into the second. I don't know what it was, I don't know what happened, but once they got it, we couldn't get it back."
The Rockets season came to an end for the second straight season at the hands of the Eagles. They lost to Grove City in the district title last season. But Wendereusz said his players should be proud to reach the title game two years in a row.
For Grove City, it's back-to-back district titles. They live on to play another week.
"It's the standard. We're making it the standard," Lutz said. "It means the world to everyone here. Just hope we can have a good week of practice and go out there and get another win."
DISTRICT 10 CLASS 3A
SLIPP. ROCK 10 7 0 6 23
GROVE CITY 7 14 7 14 42
SR — Kingerski, 21 field goal
GC — Hohman, 5 run (Stucchio kick)
SR — Mineo, 1 run (Kingerski kick)
SR — Allen, 33 run (Kingerski kick)
GC — Hohman 1 run (Stucchio kick)
GC — Lutz, 58 punt return (Stucchio kick)
GC — Hohman, 12 run (Stucchio kick)
GC — Hohman, 31 run (Stucchio kick)
GC — Nemec, 55 fumble return (Stucchio kick)
SR — Allen, 8 run (kick failed)
14 First downs 13
173 Rushing yards 152
140 Passing yards 153
26-18-0 Att-comp-int 13-10-0
313 Total yards 305
2-1 Fumbles-lost 0-0
5-55 Penalties-yards lost 5-32
Rushing: SLIPPERY ROCK — Allen 12-82, Mokel 11-60, Mineo 4-31; GROVE CITY — Nemec 19-87, Hohman 16-55, Lutz 1-10.
Passing: SLIPPERY ROCK — Mokel 26-18-0-140; GROVE CITY — 13-10-0-153.
Receiving: SLIPPERY ROCK — Allison 5-49, Schwartz 4-39, Sabo 4-23, Mineo 1-13, Bre. Galcik 1-8, Allen 3-8; GROVE CITY — Kutz 5-91, Greer 5-62.