Shenango holds off Riverview
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A handful of big plays and a run-heavy, clock-devouring offense led Shenango to a 22-15 nonconference victory over Riverview under the lights Friday night at the typically lightless Riverside Park in Oakmont.
“Anytime you get a victory, you'll take it,” Shenango coach Ryan Mayo said. “But we've still got a lot of things to work on.”
Riverview (1-5) jumped out to an early lead after a Shenago turnover. Senior receiver Tim Wagner, who had scored all of the Raiders' touchdowns this season, took an end-around, cut upfield and ran 28 yards for the score.
“Tim's our playmaker,” Riverview coach Todd Massack said. “He's not our only playmaker … but he's our go-to guy.”
The Raiders lined up for the two-point conversion operating out of a modified swinging-gate formation, with most of the offense lined up to the left of quarterback Tyler Nigro. Nigro took the snap and fought his way into the end zone.
But Shenango (3-3) struck back, going on a 12-play, 68-yard drive that consumed 7 minutes, 58 seconds before quarterback Brian Tanner punched the ball in from the 1.
Operating mostly out of a compact double-wing formation, the Wildcats tore off steady chunks of yards at three- and four-yard clips.
“For better or worse, it's a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense,” Mayo said. “Some fast teams try to spread you out and make you defend them. ... We try to compress you and make you play in a phone booth.”
Riverview followed with a time-consuming drive and took the ball deep into Shenango territory. Faced with third-and-goal at the Wildcats' 1, Riverview went back to the modified swinging gate. But Shenango junior linebacker Sam Sibeto picked off Nigro's lateral and ran the ball back to midfield.
Shenango rattled off two touchdowns on its next two possessions: The first was a 31-yard catch by tight end Matt Pherson as time expired in the half; the latter came on a 3-yard run from running back Tyler Welsh in the third quarter.
Nigro capped a nine-play, 67-yard drive with a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter. But the Raiders were unable to level the score.
“I'm disappointed that we lost,” Massack said. “But Shenango's a good football team. ... I'm proud of the way our kids battled.”
Stephen Catanese is a freelance writer.
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