SHARPSVILLE 39 REYNOLDS 0
Sharpsville 39 Reynolds 0
SHARPSVILLE - You can never have too many good running backs and fortunately for the Sharpsville Blue Devils, they have a lot of them.
"We have about four or five running backs and we are trying to get all of them a lot of time," said Blue Devil coach Paul Piccirilli. "Because as the season goes on you usually where out in running backs so as long as all of the guys keep producing we are going to keep subbing them."
In Friday's night Region 1 opener against visiting Reynolds the group led by Tyler Wansack, George Keck, Greg Popatak and Khaliq Ragster was very productive in helping Sharpsville post a 39-0 shutout victory.
In the first half alone the quartet combined to rush for over 200 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another four receptions for 43 yards and one more score.
"We came out with good intensity and our line came out real strong, they came out with the right mindset and we couldn't do it without our line," said Wansack, who capped Sharpsville's first two drives with touchdowns runs and had 77 yards on just six carries in the opening 24 minutes.
Along with Wansack's first half production, Popatak had 40 yards rushing and two pass receptions for 26 yards and a score, while Keck also had a pair of pass reception for 17 yards as well as 68 yards on the ground and Ragster rushed for 30 yards on only three carries before halftime and added a 19-yard touchdown sprint in the third quarter.
"We have a real good mix and we all work hard and come out ready on game day," said Wansack.
Sophomore quarterback Luke Henwood was also impressive for the Sharpsville offense, adding a 37-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Fyffe to go along with his 13-yard scoring toss to Popatak. Sharpsville scored on each of its first three possessions to go up 20-0 and increased the advantage to 27-0 by halftime.
While the Blue Devil offense was putting up points the team's defense was also holding up its end of the bargain by allowing Reynolds to gain only two first downs - one that came on a penalty - on seven first half possessions.
"We always just play hard defense," said Wansack. "We come out to hit and we play aggressive all game long."
Things didn't change much after halftime as the Ragster touchdown run came on Sharpsville's second possession of the second half and the team's final score came less than a minute into the fourth quarter, at which point the PIAA's 35-point mercy rule was invoked and the game clock ran continuously the rest of the way.
For Sharpsville (3-0 overall, 1-0 region), blowout wins have become the norm as they have yet to have a game decided by fewer than 34 points, while outscoring the opposition by a cumulative mark of 127-14.
"The thing that concerned us going into this game is that our first two games weren't very difficult and they were against two teams that were struggling right now, but we did scrimmage Greenville and Slippery Rock so it did give us some hope," said Piccirilli. "Since two-a-days started we've had two or three guy out every week, so we haven't had the continuity so to come out and do this against a team like Reynolds is a very positive thing for us."
Reynolds is now 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the region and was coming off of a hard fought 13-21 home loss against Farrell last week, in a game that it led 10-0 at halftime. Both teams return to action next week as Sharpsville is at Mercer (1-2, 0-2) in a region game and Reynolds hosts Franklin (0-3) in a non-region contest.
"(Wilmington) is the cream of the crop (in Region 1) and everybody else is fighting for the other three playoff spots," said Piccirilli." "The nice thing about our (region) though is that if anybody, even Wilmington, has a bad night, somebody can beat them and that's what we are hoping for. We need to get better and hopefully we have an opportunity, but our focus right now is going against Mercer and (star quarterback) Logan Clarke next week."
NOTES: Popatak intercepted a pass for the Sharpsville defense.
REYNOLDS 0-0-0-0 0
SHARPSVILLE 14-13-6-6 39