Fumbles cost Ford City in loss to East Allegheny
East Allegheny didn't just win. It got a win the way its coach wanted to get it.
Senior quarterback Kyle Whipple scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 13-yard run with 10:30 to play, and the Wildcats ran out the final five minutes of the game with their rushing attack to earn an Allegheny Conference win over Ford City, 14-7, and snap a 10-game losing streak.
Whipple was 7 of 13 passing for 156 yards, and junior running back Taizjon Brown had 73 yards on 19 carries for East Allegheny (1-2, 1-2). Senior running back Chantz Schrecengost led Ford City (1-2, 1-2) with 118 yards on 19 carries.
The win was also the first at East Allegheny for coach Dom Pecora.
“I told the kids at the end of the game, that was a program win for us,” Pecora said. “There were no trick plays and no gimmicks. We ran the ball and played good defense, and that's where you have to start with a program.”
After Whipple's touchdown, the Sabers had just one possession in the fourth quarter, and they drove to the East Allegheny 11-yard line. But on third-and-1, fullback Garrett Virostek was upended, and the ball came loose for East Allegheny's Deon Smith to recover.
With 5:10 remaining in the game, East Allegheny won by putting together an 11-play drive that included six runs and a catch by Brown and ended with Whipple taking a knee after the team picked up three first downs.
“How many times do you watch football and the team in our situation has to punt?” Pecora said. “That was the offensive line and our kids running the heck out of the option.”
Brown was East Allegheny's best defensive player, as well, as he was frequently in the Ford City backfield disrupting the Sabers' offense.
“If you could draw a football player, you would draw Taizjon,” Pecora said. “He's just a great high school football player. He ran the ball hard, and he played a great game defensively. I can't wait to watch it again on film.”
Ford City had its chances, but the Sabers twice fumbled in the red zone and were unable to capitalize on two East Allegheny fumbles.
“We've gotten better every week, but those two fumbles killed us today,” Ford City coach John Bartolovic said.
“We've got a lot of sophomores and freshmen out there, and that inexperience shows up sometimes in a game like this.”
Ford City led at halftime on an 8-yard run by Schrecengost, but East Allegheny tied the game on a 48-yard pass from Whipple to Rocco Dunn in the third quarter.