HANOVERTON, Ohio (WKBN) –
Led by their powerful senior tailback Tyler Lippiatt and
his 262 rushing yards, the United Eagles upset the Wellsville Tigers 46-30
Friday night at home. The Eagles were
very opportunistic all night as they took advantage of 3 critical turnovers by
the Tigers to jump out to a 38-14 halftime lead and then rode that momentum to
knock off the 5-2 Tigers (3-1 EOAC). The
Eagles improve to 3-4 on the season (2-1 EOAC).
“It was a great team effort. Our line did a great job blocking and our perimeter blocking was there and creating the holes for me and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” Lippiatt remarked.
“We came in and knew we needed to be able to out-tough them,” Lippiatt added. “We needed to ply physical on defense and being able to move the ball on offense would be a key factor.”
The Eagles held a 16-14 lead following a 6 and 26-yard touchdown runs by Lippiatt and two successful two-point conversions. The Tigers had scored on two 1-yard dives by their quarterback Troy Carter with a little over four minutes remaining in the first half of the contest. But that is when the game took a decided turn in favor of the Eagles.
Following an interception by the Tigers Valen Krzyston at their own 29, on the first play of scrimmage Carter would have his pass tipped and intercepted by sophomore Tyler Dickens who returned the ball 25-yards for a touchdown at the 4:16 mark of the second. That made the score 24-14 in favor of the Eagles.
“During practice, we have blitzed that all-day, then pick up the player out in the flat. I was late to it and fortunately he tipped it and I got it. I saw it and so I went for it,” Dickens described the pick interception return that started the Eagles avalanche. “It definitely boosted our confidence.”
But that was just the beginning of the problems the Tigers suffered as the Eagles pounced on a fumble just 20-seconds later and converted the miscue into a 32-14 advantage on a 10-yard run by Lippiatt with 1:36 remaining in the half. Then on the following kickoff, the Tigers Justin Wright would fumble the kickoff with the Eagles recovering at the Tigers 33. They would score again with only 0:37 left before halftime to make it 38-14.
“It was big for United and bad for us. Kudos to coach Ogilvie and his staff. We didn’t show up to play tonight and it showed, especially in the first half. We let them take advantage there,” Tigers head coach Robert Ramsey stated.
Coming into the game the Tigers defense had only surrendered 15-points as the most to any opponent, while the Eagles posted 38 in just the first half. Adding insult to injury, the Tigers suffered a devastating injury to their standout senior receiver Darien Suggs as it appeared they were treating him for a broken arm early in the second quarter.
“That’s one of our leaders and you saw the look of ‘wow, what are we going to without our leader,” Ramsey said of losing Suggs. “We have to learn how to handle adversity better than what we did.”
The Eagles took that momentum at the end of the first half and scored quickly to start the second half as Lippiatt raced 58-yards for a touchdown at the 8:57 mark of the quarter. That gave the Eagles a commanding 46-14 lead and began a running clock.
But to the Tigers credit, they kept fighting as they answered quickly on just their second play following the Eagles on a 61-yard pass from Carter to Justin Wright. That score with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter made it 46-22 in favor of the Eagles.
On the night, Tigers quarterback Troy Carter would connect on 19 of 33 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Greathouse would catch 4 of those passes for 66 yards and Just Wright added 61 on his touchdown reception.
The Tigers would threaten to cut into the deficit even more on two consecutive drive but the Eagles defense would come up big as the Tigers drove to the Eagles 4 and 9-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. They would finally hit paydirt with 7:08 left in the game when Carter found Garrett Krzyston on a 24-yard touchdown pass to make it the final 46-30.
“We have a lot of young guys on this team and I try to take the role of boosting their confidence but all the guys that have come in are doing a phenomenal job of stepping up and learning what to do. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Lippiatt said about his Eagle teammates.
Next Friday the Tigers will try to bounce back as they play at Columbiana in a key league contest. The Eagles will try to keep the momentum going as they travel to league-leading Southern.
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