CLARION - Reaching the District 9 football playoffs for the first time is going to have to be good enough for the Sheffield Wolverines.
Sheffield ran into a buzzsaw in undefeated Moniteau on Saturday in the District 9 Class AA semifinals at Clarion University. The Wolverines dropped a 40-0 decision to the Warriors. The Warriors and the Karns City Gremlins will next meet in Friday's Class AA championship also at Clarion's Memorial Stadium.
Saturday's victory was convincing.
Times Observer photo by Mitchell Wilston
Sheffield defenders, including defensive end Nate Charlton (79), chase after Moniteau quarterback Kyle Armagost during Saturday’s District 9 Class AA playoff semifinal at Clarion University. Moniteau improves to 10-0 with a 40-0 win. Sheffield finishes 4-7.
Moniteau jumped out to a 20-0 first-half lead and held the Sheffield offense to just nine yards while improving to 10-0 for the first time in school history. The Wolverines finish the campaign at 4-7.
While 4-7 doesn't exactly jump off the page, it was a special season for the kids from Sheffield; a season that included four wins in a stretch of six games and the school's first playoff appearance. The playoff run was even more impressive considering the Wolverines started the campaign 0-3 and were outscored 97-6 in those games.
"We started off slow this season and I called the seniors over to my house for a meeting," said Sheffield coach Bryan Gould. "I told them that this is where we are at and this is not where we want to be. I said here's what we need to do to turn it around and they took that information and ran with it. I've never been more proud of a team that I've been associated with. They showed their true guts and character and became the first group in school history to qualify for the playoffs."
On Saturday, Sheffield never got out of the blocks. The tenacious Warriors defense recorded nine sacks of Sheffield quarterbacks and only allowed Sheffield into the red zone on one possession.
The Wolverines hoped to punch Moniteau in the mouth early, but the Warriors had none of that. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Kyle Armagost connected with wideout Ethan Pry for 53 yards all the way to the Sheffield 8. Three plays later, Dustin Geagen scored from one yard away to make it 6-0 Moniteau.
Just eight minutes later, Moniteau upped its advantage to 12-0. Taking 12 plays to drive an impressive 94 yards, the Warriors scoring drive ended when Armagost hit Brayden McCorry with a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Armagost would add a one-yard touchdown plunge with 8:02 left in the half and then hit Joey Deal with the two-point conversion to make it 20-0 at the break.
"We gave up some big plays on defense, which helped lead to those scores," said Gould. "You can't give a team like Moniteau that big of a lead. To be honest, we played them tough for three quarters. We just shot ourselves in the foot too often with some ill-timed penalties and against a team like that, you just can't afford for that to happen."
The Wolverines defense played an improved second half, stopping Moniteau on three third quarter possessions and forcing two Warriors turnovers. However, the tournament's top seed had one last scoring barrage in them, adding three touchdowns in a five-minute span during the fourth quarter.
Armagost had a 13-yard run with 8:19 to play, Geagen had his second touchdown with 5:19 to go and Armagost hit McCorry with a 26-yard touchdown toss with 3:10 remaining to close the scoring at 40-0.
Nick Bonavita and George Fitch were the only two Sheffield backs to finish with positive rushing yards. Bonavita had 36 yards on 12 carries and Fitch had 13 yards on three totes. Ike Nearing was 5-of-11 through the air for 36 yards and Shequan Wright caught three passes for 20 yards.
"These seniors are truly an amazing bunch," said Gould. "I thanked them after the game and I'd love to thank them again right now. They were amazingly positive leaders and hopefully role models for these underclassmen."
M- Dustin Geagen 1 run, 10:28, kick failed
M- Kyle Armagost to Brayden McCorry 13 pass, 2:44, pass failed
M- Armagost 1 run, 8:02, Armagost to Joey Deal pass
M- Armagost 13 run, 8:19, pass failed
M- Geagen 2 run, 5:19, run failed
M- Armagost to McCorry 6 pass, 3:10, Geagen run
RUSHING-S- Kalil Slaughter 5 for -10, Nick Bonavita 12 for 36, Ike Nearing 11 for -47, George Fitch 3 for 13, Kwante Johnson 1 for -5, Shequan Wright 2 for -13; M- Dustin Geagen 13 for 151, 2 TD, Kyle Armagost 15 for 96, 2 TD, David Campbell 1 for 0
PASSING-S- Ike Nearing 5 of 11 for 36, Bonavita 0 of 1 for 0, Wright 1 of 4 for -1; M- Armagost 12 of 20 for 234, 2 TD