CORRY - A 47-0 loss to West Middlesex in the District 10 Class A quarterfinals provided a nightmare end to a dream season for the 2011 Youngsville Eagles' football team.
When the season is looked back upon, Friday night's loss at Corry Area High School won't be the focal point.
Instead, an undefeated regular season of 10-0, a Region 2 championship and the togetherness and cohesiveness of a special group of kids will be remembered.
Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg
The last yard
Youngsville quarterback Cory Craig tries to get out of the grasp of a West Middlesex defender during Friday’s District 10 Class A playoff quarterfinal loss at Corry Area High School.
"They are just such a hard working group of guys," said Youngsville coach Luke Alex. "There isn't a group of guys anywhere in this state or this world that I would rather coach. I'm extremely proud of these guys and what they have brought to this program."
The Eagles entered Friday night's postseason game as the top seed out of Region 2. From the opening kickoff, the undefeated club had trouble getting anything going. Things they avoided all season - injuries, turnovers and poor tackling - plagued the Eagles in their attempt to win the school's first postseason football game.
West Middlesex took T.J. Hardy's kickoff and needed just five plays to travel to 57 yards for a touchdown. The scoring play came when senior Colin Patten took a toss, found daylight to the right and sprinted 27 yards to the end zone. The extra point attempt was botched and the Reds led 6-0.
Youngsville's first possession finished like four of its first five offensive tries would end - with a turnover. An Eagles fumble gave West Middlesex the ball at the Eagles 34 and the Reds quickly moved to the Youngsville 14.
The Eagles appeared to get the break they needed on the next snap when the Reds fumbled and Dalton Maze recovered the loose pigskin for Youngsville. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they would fumble the ball back to West Middlesex on the very next snap.
The defense tried to stiffen and keep the deficit at six as the Reds were soon faced with a fourth and 22 at the Youngsville 31. Instead of a big stop that could have turned the momentum of the game, disaster struck.
West Middlesex quarterback Jeremy Jancso found James Wills open in the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown that made it 12-0. Youngsville's Cory Craig was picked off on the Eagles' next possession and West Middlesex turned the turnover into a two-yard touchdown run by Patten to make it 20-0 Reds after one.
"It was exactly what I said earlier this week," said Alex. "Turnovers and big plays. We turned the ball over too much and couldn't stop them when we really needed to. It's as simple as that."
Youngsville remained stuck in neutral in the second quarter while West Middlesex stretched the advantage to 34-0. First, Jancso hit Wills with a 24-yard touchdown pass that made it 28-0 with 10:10 left in the first half. Later, Patten added his third touchdown of the half - a 55-yard score - that put West Middlesex up 34-0 at the break.
Neither team was able to score in the third quarter, but the Reds took advantage of some poor Youngsville tackling in the fourth to add a pair of late touchdowns. Clay Allen scored on an eight-yard run with 10:40 to play in the game and Jancso scored on a one-yard plunge with 5:08 remaining.
Sam Lucas led the Eagles in rushing with 60 hard-earned yards on 10 carries. Craig added 57 yards on 14 carries, but was just 4-of-14 for 28 yards with a pick in the passing game. Both Rocco Gatta and Maze caught two passes.
Youngsville was just a part of an extremely rough night for Region 2. All four Region 2 teams in the D-10 field - Youngsville, Mercyhurst Prep, Saegertown and Cambridge Springs - were defeated by Region 1 opponents - Sharpsville, Mercer, Farrell and West Middlesex.
While it was a difficult way for a fantastic season - and the fantastic careers of nine seniors - to end, the Eagles have a lot to be fond of when thinking back on the 2011 season. The team completed the first perfect regular season since 1966, qualified for the D-10 playoffs for the third time in school history and first time since 1994 and set a new school record for wins in a season with 10.
"The things this group of kids were able to accomplish can not be overlooked," said Alex. "They have absolutely nothing to hang their heads about. What this season meant to the community, the fans and this school is unbelievable."
West Middlesex-Youngsville Stats
W- Colin Patten 27 run, 10:19, kick failed
W- Jeremy Jancso to James Wills 31 pass, 5:31, run failed
W- Patten 2 run, 0:19, Jancso to Brett Michaels pass
W- Jancso to Wills 24 pass, 10:10, Jancso run
W- Patten 55 run, 9:27, pass failed
W- Clay Allen 8 run, 10:40, pass failed
W- Jancso 1 run, 5:08, Trey Staunch kick
RUSHING-W- Colin Patten 19 carries for 172 yards, 3 TD, Clay Allen 15 for 131, TD, Jeremy Jancso 9 for 38, TD, Nate Patten 5 for 9, Eric Lucich 1 for -4; Y- Sam Lucas 10 for 60, Cory Craig 14 for 57, Sage Sivak 1 for 0, Jordan Gurdak 6 for -11
PASSING-W- Jancso 7 of 11 for 110, 2 TD; Y- Craig 4 of 14 for 28, INT
RECEIVING-W- James Wills 2 for 55, 2 TD, Eric Patten 2 for 20, Austin Mirizio 2 for 24, Christian Porterfield 1 for 11; Y- Dalton Maze 2 for 20, Rocco Gatta 2 for 8