Penn beats Ohio in Stateline Classic

Pennsylvania beat Ohio, 25-22, in the 34th annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic on Friday night.

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An offside penalty with just 1:50 remaining in the game crushed a second half comeback by the Ohio team in a 25-22 loss to Pennsylvania in the 34th annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic at Geneva College Friday night. With Pennsylvania clinging to a three point lead and facing a fourth and one at their own 20-yard line, unfortunately for the Ohio team, the Buckeyes nose tackle would jump into the neutral zone, giving the Keystoners a first down and enabling them to run out the game clock.

“That wasn’t the killer,” Ohio coach Mike Skrinjar said. “When your right in front of that football and there are just inches to go, that’s football, that’s intensity. If he gives a little bit of ground they get a first down. It’s tough. It hurt, it’s the most recent thing in my mind.”

But it was a number of mistakes and missed opportunities by the Ohio squad and big plays by Pennsylvania that led the Keystoners to a 13-0 first quarter lead. The Keystoners would take the opening kickoff and march 78-yards on nine plays, with quarterback Caleb Jakiel (Moon) hitting Alex Caratelli (Blackhawk) on a 54-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline. The score at the 7:44 mark of the first quarter gave the Pennsylvania squad an early 7-0 lead.

They would add to their advantage on their next possession when Anthony Keriotis (Beaver) picked-off a Luke Griffith (Southern Local) pass at the 50-yard line and returned the ball to the Buckeyes 32-yard line. From there the Keystoners used just six plays to score again, this time on an 18-yard pass to Caratelli. The extra point was blocked, and the Keystoners held a 13-0 lead with just two seconds remaining in the first quarter.

On the Buckeyes second possession they completed a 12-play, 60-yard drive with Nick Blower (Crestview) plunging into the end zone from just one yard out to cut the Pennsylvania advantage to 13-7 at the 6:16 mark of the second quarter. A 19-yard pass from Griffith to Blower on a 4th-and-17 play from the Pennsylvania 28-yard line proved to be the key play of the drive.

But it was another big play by the Keystoners that really put the Buckeyes in a hole when Griffith had a pass picked off by the Keystoners Colton McKay (Moon) at the 50-yard line and then avoided numerous tackles to ramble down the sideline for a 50-yard interception return for touchdown. The score with just 1:27 before halftime gave the Pennsylvania squad a 19-7 lead.

They were not done there. Following a possession by Ohio, the Keystoners were faced with a 4th-and-12 situation from their own 47-yard line. With Pennsylvania punting the ball, the Ohio returnees fumbled the ball deep in their own territory and Zach Medved (West Allegheny) recovered for the Keystoners.

The Pennsylvania team wasted no time in making Ohio pay. On the next play, Jakiel hit Caratelli for his third touchdown reception. This time it was an 11-yard toss. With the score just 6-seconds remaining before the half, the Pennsylvania squad took a commanding 25-7 lead.

In the second half, the Keystoners tried to keep the clock running with a pounding running game, but late in the third quarter Beau Ewing (Ellwood City) coughed up the ball at the Ohio 30-yard line. The Buckeyes Britton Steiginga (Columbiana) scooped up the ball and raced 72-yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. Blower added a two-point conversion and the Ohio team trailed 25-15 with 1:38 remaining in the third quarter.

Pennsylvania would once again drive deep into Ohio territory on their next possession, but they would come up a yard short on a fourth-and-goal play at the Ohio one yard line. The defensive stand gave Ohio the ball at their own one yard line with six and a half minutes remaining in the contest.

Following a nice run by Nick Blower that got the Buckeyes out from the shadows of their own goal post, Griffith was able to hit Rob Seman (South Range) on a 71-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline with 3:33 remaining in the game. The score cut the Pennsylvania lead to 25-22.

Nick Blower was named the Ohio Most Valuable Player as he rushed for 89 yards on 22 carries and scored one touchdown and one two-point conversion. He also had four receptions for 31 yards.

The Pennsylvania Most Valuable Player was Alex Caratelli. He collected six receptions for 127 yards and three touchdowns.

With the victory, the Pennsylvania team holds a 24-10 advantage in the series.

Courtesy: Lowell Spencer,

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