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Written by: Shane Lux on Saturday, November 20th, 2021
Slippery Rock – For the first time since 2017, the Grove City Eagles are District 10 Champions.
“What a four-quarter battle,” said Grove City head coach Sam Mowrey. “We knew it was going to be this type of game where you never feel comfortable because of the playmakers and talent they have. My hats off to Slippery Rock and coach Wendereusz for their program. What a great high school football game people got to witness today; it’s a shame somebody had to lose.”
The Eagles avenged a 34-7 loss to the Rockets on September 17th by ending Slippery Rock’s season 28-20 Saturday afternoon at Slippery Rock University.
“The boys played their hearts out today,” said Mowrey. “They got a taste of it the last three years, but it feels amazing to bring this one home for our community.”
Saturday marked the second time in two weeks that Grove City had turned the tables on an opponent that had beaten them in the regular season.
The Eagles had knocked off Fort LeBoeuf 35-21 last Saturday after suffering a 17-14 loss to Bison on September 4th.
Grove City made a statement from the opening kickoff as the Eagles went on a 13-play 80-yard drive that ate up nearly seven minutes game clock. Anthony Nemec capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.
“The was key for us to gain the confidence to be able to run the ball and move it downfield,” said Mowrey. “To able to finish the drive in the end zone was a big moment in the game.”
Nemec led the Eagles’ ground game rushing for a game-high 129 yards on 26 carries.
The Rockets bounced back early in the second quarter after stopping Grove City on 4th-and-1 from their 46-yard line.
Two plays later, William Mokel connected with Ryan Montgomery for a 46-yard touchdown pass that gave Slippery Rock a 7-6 lead.
“The turnovers at the beginning of the game were the biggest difference between the first game and today,” said Slippery Rock head coach Larry Wendereusz. “Today, they took the kickoff and scored. That gave them the momentum they needed to get rolling.”
Undaunted, the Eagles bounced right back with a pair of touchdowns to grab a 21-7 lead.
Following a strong kickoff return by Gavin Lutz, Nemec scored on an 8-yard run five plays later.
Quarterback Hunter Hohman capped a 72-yard drive with 1-yard with 3:56 to play in the first half. Hohman’s 52-yard run was the highlight of the drive.
After the teams traded punts, Slippery Rock went on a 12-play drive that reached the Eagles’ 10-yard line. However, the final play of that drive was Mokel being sacked for an 11-yard loss that ended the half with Grove City in front 21-7.
“It’s a football game between two great teams,” said Wendereusz. “We talked about how this game would be a matter of one or two plays. We’ve been fortunate to get the turnovers in games past, but today they did. That was my mistake at the end of the first half by not getting us the timeout.”
In the third quarter, Grove City extended their lead when Hohman connected with Zach Rodgers for a 3-yard touchdown.
The Rockets made it a game, scoring twice in the fourth quarter.
Shane Thompson capped a 10-play 62-yard drive with a 5-yard run, 48 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Slippery Rock had an opportunity to pull themselves right back into the game on their possession with just under nine minutes to play.
Following a pass inference penalty of Grove City, a backward pass that was ruled a fumble was scooped up by Montgomery, who ran 17 yards to Eagles 1-yard run but had the ball stripped away with Grove City recovering with 8:41 to play.
The Rockets scored on their next possession when Mokel connected with Lucas Allison on an 11-yard touchdown with 3:30 to play.
“We did our jobs after falling behind 28-7,” said Wendereusz. “All year long, when we’ve done our job, we’ve been a good football team. When we haven’t done our job, that’s when things have gotten rough. We got ourselves back in the ball game and got things going.”
Slippery Rock had one more chance with one timeout, 1:45 left on the clock starting at their 8-yard line.
Two plays later, their season was over. However, a 13-yard completion to Joh Sabo was fumbled, with Grove City recovering.
The Eagles move on and will District 6 Champion Central Martinsburg in the quarterfinals. The Scarlet Dragons are 13-0 on the season.
“We haven’t practiced on Thanksgiving in a while. That is going to be a special moment for us,” said Mowrey. “Any championship is special. Our recipe doesn’t change. Our program is about vision, process, and love.”
Slippery Rock concludes a fantastic season at 7-2.
“We’ve had a season of adversity, with some crazy things going on,” concluded Wendereusz. “From losing games to having makeup games happen the day of, this group has handled themselves extremely well. This group has had the attitude and effort that we can only ask for. I’m proud of my guys.”
Stats by Protime
Grove City 28 Slippery Rock 20
Score by Quarters
Grove City – 6 15 7 0 – 28
Slippery Rock – 0 7 0 13 – 20
GC – Anthony Nemec 4 yd run, (kick blocked), 5:14
SR – Ryan Montgomery 46 yd pass from William Mokel, (Nick Kingerski pat), 11:14
GC – Nemec 8 yd run, (Hunter Hohman rush), 9:01
GC – Hohman 1 yd run, (John Hake pat), 3:56
GC – Zach Rodgers 3 yd pass from Hohman, (Hake pat), 3:11
SR – Shane Thompson 5 yd run, (Kingerski pat), 11:12
SR – Lucas Allison 11 yd pass from Mokel, (kick failed), 3:30
Rushing: Grove City – Nemec 26-129, Hohman 14-86, Curtis Hovis 3-15, Rodgers 1-1, Team 2-0. Totals: 46-231. Slippery Rock – Thompson 14-71, Mokel 8-18, Montgomery 1-17, Team 1-(-16). Totals: 24-72.
Receiving: Grove City -Gavin Lutz 4-34, Nemec 3-26, Joey Hathaway 3-82, Rodgers 1-3. Slippery Rock – Montgomery 4-70, John Sabo 8-82, Thompson 1-(-8), Colton Glass 3-14, Allison 1-11, Brendan Earl 1-15.
Passing: Grove City – Hohman 11-for-16, 145 yards 1 touchdown. Slippery Rock – 18-for-25, 184 yards, 2 touchdowns.
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