FARRELL, Pa. – There will be a new District 10 Class 3A football champion in District 10 this season.
Zander Telesz accounted for three touchdowns, Kelvin Morrison ran for two more and No. 2 Hickory pulled away from two-time defending champions Grove City, 38-7 in the Class 3A semifinals on Friday.
Watch the highlights:
The tone was set right from the get-go, as Hickory drove 75 yards on 16 plays, chewing up 9:30 of the first quarter clock, capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Telesz to Luke Nevil.
“That was big for us,” Telesz said during the Cole Orthodontic Associates postgame interview. “Once you wear out a defense for nine minutes, there’s not very much coming back from that. Once you play defense for nine minutes, you’re honestly exhausted. It’s happened to us before, and that’s what we did. We put the pedal to the metal and scored.”
See Telesz’s full interview:
Hickory also contained a potent Grove City offense, led by record-setting quarterback Hunter Hohman. The senior quarterback did account for Grove City’s lone touchdown, a 3-yard run with three seconds left in the first half after a blocked punt set the Eagles’ up at the HIckory 33, but that was it.
Hickory’s defense held Grove City to under 200 yards of total offense (196), much of which came when the game was already in hand in the fourth quarter.
“We just came out ready to play,” said Hickory coach Bill Dungee. “We’ve been waiting for all three phases to play at the same time. Guys are just focused and locked in. I’m so proud of these guys.”
The Hornets (9-2) scored on their first three drives of the game. After holding Grove City to a three-and-out on the Eagles’ first possession, a 47-yard pass from Telesz to Tylon Cousin helped set up Telesz’s 16-yard scamper to make it 14-0 at the 9:57 mark.
On Grove City’s next possession, Telesz showed off on defense, picking off Hohman, which led to a Lukas Jones 38-yard field goal with 5:55 to go before halftime.
Grove City (7-4) looked like it was going to go into halftime down 17-0, but the blocked punt by Nathan Greer and a 26-yard run from Hohman set up his short touchdown run.
“I do want to say hats off to Grove City,” Dungee said. “Hunter Hohman, for four years he’s been a pain in my butt. Coaching against those guys, they just do a phenomenal job. To be a champion you have to beat the champion, and now we’ll get that opportunity.”
Telesz’s signature play of the game came late in the third quarter with Grove City driving. Hohman’s pass was deflected near the goal line and was caught by Telesz, who raced 98 yards in the other direction for a pick six.
For the game, Telesz was 8-of 13 through the air for 152 yards, ran for 43 and also had the two interceptions on defense.
“He came out, did it with his legs, did it with the pass and made a great play, an athletic play on that interception,” Dungee said. “Everything is working. He’s just getting better and better.”
Freshman running back Kelvin Morrison had a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs for the Hornets of 4 and 1 yards and finished with 51 yards on the ground. Sean Kennedy also ran for 42 yards before getting dinged up in the second half for the Hornets. Dungee indicated that he should be good to go for next week, however.
Fellow Hickory freshman Jakiah King also had a pair of sacks on defense.
For Grove City, Bode Stevenson ran for a team-high 63 yards, while Hohman ran for 25 yards and threw for 83.
In the game, Gavin Lutz became Grove City’s all-time receptions leader, passing his brother, Logan.
Cousin finished with five receptions for 103 yards as well for the Hornets, who move on to face Sharon for the D10 title.
Hickory’s last title came in 2020, and Sharon’s in 2019 (the last of three-straight).
“We’re going to enjoy this one,” Dungee said. “They beat us the last two times in the regular season, you couldn’t ask for more. We took care of business, they took care of business and now we get to fight it out.”
(1) SHARON 39, (5) OIL CITY 16
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Mister Ham threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more as Sharon beat Oil City, 39-16 to advance to the D10 3A title game.
It was still a one-score game going to the fourth quarter, with Sharon leading 24-16, but the Tigers (9-2) were able to pull away late.
First it was Ham scoring on a 1-yard run with 5:26 to play in regulation, and Ham connected with Bishop Root on a 45-yard touchdown pass with 1:40 to play to put the finishing touches on the win.
Oil City’s defense, as well as its running game, kept the contest within striking distance most of the way.
Ham connected with Lamont Austin on a 50-yard touchdown pass at the 6:15 mark of the first quarter to make it 7-0, but Oil City countered.
A fumbled punt gave the Oilers (7-4) the ball at the Sharon 15, and Ethen Knox was able to find the end zone from 1-yard out. Jon Hargenrader ran in the 2-point conversion, giving the Oilers an 8-7 lead with 6:33 to go before halftime.
It was Sharon’s turn to answer, as Ham threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this one a 49-yarder to Ike Friday to put the Tigers back on top, 14-8.
Ameer Kanan’s 25-yard field goal just before time expired made it 17-8 at halftime.
Ham capped a 59-yard drive to open the second half for the Tigers with a 1-yard rushing touchdown to make it 24-8, but the Oilers again were able to keep it close, this time through the air.
Cole Findlay connected with Knox on a 56-yard touchdown pass, and Findlay’s 2-point conversion pass to Gavin Stephens got the Oilers back within 24-16 with 2:17 to go in the third quarter.
In addition to his 227 yards through the air, Ham also had 96 yards rushing on 13 carries, while Cortez Nixon had 72 yards on the ground.
Austin had five receptions for 83 yards and Root four for 64.
Knox, District 10’s all-time leading rusher, capped his brilliant career with 94 yards on 25 carries in addition to the touchdown reception. Findlay was 5-of-11 through the air for 79 yards.
CLASS 4A SUBREGIONAL
JUNIATA 36, DUBOIS 22
MIFFLINTOWN, Pa. – The drought continues.
Juniata’s Wyatt Ehrenzeller threw three touchdown passes as the homestanding Indians handed DuBois its 17th consecutive postseason loss, 36-22, in the District 6-9 Class 4A subregional title game.
DuBois hasn’t won a postseason game since beating Hollidaysburg in 1996.
The Beavers had a chance in this one trailing just just eight, 22-14, at halftime, but Juniata scored the first two touchdowns of the second half to open up a 36-14 lead with just under nine minutes left.
Even an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Nathan Kougher after Ethan Espitia caught his second TD of the game (from 9 yards out) to put the Indians ahead 36-14 couldn’t ignite a DuBois comeback.
Juniata (7-5) jumped out early on DuBois taking a 15-0 first-quarter lead thanks to touchdown passes of 8 yards to Espitia and 70 yards to Jasper Shepps by Ehrenzeller.
DuBois got a 2-yard touchdown run from Carter Wilson to make it 15-7 going to the second quarter but Ehrenzeller scored on a 1-yard run to make it 22-7.
But Trey Wingard hit Carter Vos with an 18-yard scoring pass midway through the second quarter to get the Beavers (4-7) within eight at halftime.
Juniata, however, scored the first two touchdowns after the break with Heath Hutchinson scoring on a 6-yard run to make it 29-14 late in the third quarter and Espitia’s second touchdown catch pushing the lead to 22.
Juniata will face the Meadville/University Prep winner in the opening round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs next weekend. Meadville hosts University Prep at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.