ST. MARYS, Pa. – Noah Cherry carried the ball 28 times for Elk County Catholic Saturday afternoon, but none was more important than his 2-yard gain with 2:18 left in the game that sealed the Crusaders’ 35-30 win over visiting Otto-Eldred at Dutch Country Stadium in St. Marys.
With ECC clinging to a five-point advantage that just four minutes earlier had been 17 points, the Crusaders faced a fourth-and-2 at the Terrors’ 34-yard run.
Running out of the Single-wing attack, Cherry took the snap and plunged forward. The officials called out the sticks, which showed ECC had the first down by the length of the football with 2:18 to play. The Crusaders were then able to run out the clock and secure the victory.
The first-down carry was a bit of redemption for Cherry, whose fumble with just over 4 ½ minutes helped Otto-Eldred make it a game.
ECC led 35-18 following Ben Reynolds’ 3-yard touchdown run with 7:19 to play only to see Otto-Eldred score twice in a span of 30 seconds than in part to the Cherry fumble.
A 28-yard Andrew Schenfield to Brendan Magee pass at the 4:51 mark made it 35-24.
Cherry’s fumble, after a 22-yard, pickup then gave the Terrors the ball at their own 44-yard line.
It took one play and a terrific effort from Hunter App to make it a one-score game.
App took a little swing pass from Schenfield and picked his way down the far sideline for the touchdown to make it 35-30.
But as it had done on its previous four attempts at a 2-point conversion, Otto-Eldred failed on this one too. Those failures proved to be the difference in the game, as ECC outscored the Terrors 5-0 on conversion attempts.
Cherry finished the day 181 yards and two touchdowns on his 28 carries and was also 1-for-1 passing for 11 yards.
Reynolds added 113 yards on the ground on 16 carries while going 1-for-3 passing for negative one yard with an interception.
Freshman Frankie Smith burst onto the scene with 10 carries for 95 yards and a score, as ECC racked up 390 yards on the ground on 55 carries.
While ECC was using the ground game, Otto-Eldred went airborne with Schenfield throwing 33 passes. He was 24 of 33 for 291 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
App caught eight passes out of the backfield for 123 yards and three touchdowns, while Manning Splain had six catches for 96 yards and Magee six for 63 and the score.
The Terrors, though, managed just 44 yards rushing on 18 carries led by 19 on six from App and 17 on nine from Schenfield. They did score on the ground on an 6-yard run by Ray’shene Thomas.
ECC led 14-12 at halftime thanks to an 8-yard run by Cherry and a 19-yard run by Smith. Thomas (6-yard run) and App, 3-yard catch) scored for Otto-Eldred before the half.
The Crusaders then scored three of the first four touchdowns after the break with back-to-back scores from Smith (53-yard run) and Cherry (16-yard run) opening up a 25-12 lead midway through the third quarter.
After App caught a 2-yard touchdown pass to back it 28-18, Reynolds scored on the 3-yard run to put the advantage at 17 with just 7:19 to play.
JUNIATA SPOILS JANOCKO’S QUEST FOR 300 WINS
MIFFLINTOWN, Pa. – In a game that started Friday and ended Saturday because of lightning on Friday, Juniata spoiled Clearfield head coach Tim Janocko’s quest for his 300th win with a 20-7 victory over the visiting Bison.
The Indians led 6-0 late in the first quarter when the game was suspended just before 9 p.m. Friday following a lengthy delay forcing Clearfield to make the nearly two-hour return trip Saturday.
Wil Domico had the lone touchdown for Clearfield on an 8-yard run.
Aaron Kanagy threw a touchdown pass for Juniata going 9 of 14 for 199 yards. The scoring toss went to Makih Hunt, who had a big day with three grabs for 105 yards and the score.
Waylon Ehrenzeller also scored on the ground for the Indians and ran 13 times for 85 yards.
Janocko has now failed to reach the 300-win plateau for the second consecutive game with Clearfield having lost to Bedford, 54-12, in the playoffs last season. He will go for win No. 300 Friday, Sept. 2, when Clearfield travels to Bald Eagle Area. The Eagles are coming off 20-9 loss to Troy.
It was the first opening-game loss for Clearfield since falling to DuBois, 30-20, in the 2016 season opener. The Bison went on to win 10 games that season.