Running backs power Sharon past Bison in D-10 quarterfinal

Nov. 5—GREENVILLE — When in doubt, do what you do best. So with the District 10 Class 3A quarterfinal on the line, Sharon went to its running game.

The Tigers called 13 straight runs against Fort LeBoeuf on Friday night in Greenville. That strategy led to a 28-21 win over the Bison.

In the midst of the running frenzy, the Tigers found themselves at the Bison 8-yard line with a little over two minutes to play. Isaac Friday broke a 21-all tie with an 8-yard run that he bounced to the outside to provide the go-ahead score.

"We came out here, pushed them around," Friday said. "It felt good. Playoff win. Going on to the next round."

Then it was the defense's turn to make an impact. The Tigers (6-4) forced a fourth down and 5 at the Fort LeBoeuf 41. But a bad snap resulted in a turnover on downs at the Bison 5 to clinch the win for the Tigers.

The Tigers amassed 162 yards rushing on 30 carries. Jayveerh White led the Sharon attack with 113 yards rushing and a touchdown on 30 attempts. Mikey Rodriques ran the ball 10 times for 57 yards and a score, Friday added 13 yards and his touchdown on two attempts and Cortez Nixon had a pair of carries for 4 yards.

"(Running the ball) is what we do best," White said. "Whenever the game's on the line, we know who we gotta go to."

Rodriques finished 10-for-16 passing with 116 yards and a touchdown.

Lamont Austin was his go-to target with four catches for 46 yards, but Bishop Root had a game-high 48 yards with a touchdown on two receptions. White added two grabs for 16 yards and Friday had a pair of catches for 6 yards.

Rodriques opened the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run. But the Bison responded with a 1-yard QB sneak by Isaac McGuire to tie the game at 7 with 3:22 left in the first quarter.

After a Sharon fake punt failed, the Bison capped a 14-play, 39-yard drive with a McGuire 20-yard field goal. The drive took 8:43 off the clock, but that was just enough time for the Tigers.

Sharon drove down the field and took the lead after Rodriques rolled to his left with the buzzer sounding. He found Root, who leaped over two Bison defenders, for a 29-yard touchdown pass to end the first half.

"That was the difference in the football game. That and the couple times we were able to hold them to field goals," Sharon head coach Jason McElhaney said. "When they drove down deep those were big turning points, obviously.

"Mike being able to break the pocket, Bishop going up there ... for momentum and everything, that was a huge on going into half."

Following a punts by each team, the Bison went down the field on eight plays. But they had to settle for another field goal by McGuire — this time it was a 26-yard attempt — to cut the Sharon lead to 14-13 with 3:27 remaining in the third quarter.

The Tigers began to utilize their running game at the start of the fourth quarter. They punched the ball in on a 15-yard quick pitch to White for a 21-13 lead.

Fort LeBoeuf (7-4) tied the score, however, on the next drive. Conner McChesney returned the kickoff 66 yards to set up a short field. McGuire capped the drive with his second QB sneak, a 2-yarder with just under seven minutes to play.

That's when the Tigers used all four primary ball carries. White, Friday, Rodriques and Nixon each touched the ball at least once on the following drive. It ended with Friday's eventual game-winning touchdown.

"This was good. This was a character builder," McElhaney said. "This was 'Welcome to playoff football' for a lot of our guys."

The Tigers limited the Bison's ground attack to 124 yards rushing on 39 carries. Fort LeBoeuf was held to 52 yards rushing on 13 carries in the second half prior to the botched snap.

Justin Leuschen was the leading rusher for the Bison. He accounted for 69 yards on 14 tries. McGuire added 34 yards and two touchdowns on five attempts.

McGuire completed 6-of-8 passes for 43 yards. Raphel Blose was the leading Bison receiver with two catches for 29 yards.

The Tigers will see a familiar face in the semifinals. They will go up against Region 3 foe Grove City, who beat the Tigers 41-25 earlier this season in Sharon. The Eagles — who are the top seed in the bracket — beat Fairview 35-21 in their quarterfinal on Friday at the Pegues Sports Complex in Farrell.

"We want to win districts," Friday said. "We want to win states to be honest. We're not just settling for districts, we want to go all the way. and if we want to be the best, we gotta beat the best. and (Grove City's) the best right now."

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FT. LeBOEUF 7 3 3 8 21

SHARON 7 7 0 14 28

Scoring plays

S — Rodriques, 4 run (Schimp kick)

FL — McGuire, 1 run (McGuire kick)

FL — McGuire, 20 field goal

S — B. Root, 29 pass from Rodriques (Schimp kick)

FL — McGuire, 26 field goal

S — White, 15 run (Schimp kick)

FL — McGuire, 2 run (Leuschen run)

S — Friday, 8 run (Schimp kick)

Team stats

LeBOEUF SHARON

15 First downs 11

162 Rushing yards 124

116 Passing yards 43

16-10-0 Att-comp-int 8-6-0

278 Total yards 167

3-0 Fumbles-lost 3-1

4-25 Penalties-yards lost 3-30

Individual stats

Rushing: FT. LeBOEUF — Leuschen 14-69, McGuire 5-34, McChesney 7-19, D. Blose 7-13, Lesik 4-13, Welka 1-12, Team 1-(-36); SHARON — White 14-113, Rodriques 10-57, Friday 2-13, Nixon 2-4, Team 2-(-25).

Passing: FT. LeBOEUF — McGuire 8-6-0-43; SHARON — Rodriques 16-10-0-116.

Receiving: FT. LeBOEUF — R. Blose 2-29, Leuschen 1-10, McChesney 3-4; SHARON — B. Root 2-48, Austin 2-46, White 2-16, Friday 2-6.