Tioga runs over Notre Dame
TIOGA CENTER, N.Y. - Freshman Jesse Manuel scored four TDs, including a decisive 69-yard interception return late in the first half, to lead Tioga to a dominating 48-6 win over Notre Dame Friday night at Haggerty Field in a key Section IV, Division X football match-up.
Manuel rushed for a team-high 171 yards and three TDs on just 10 carries in the game, while senior Tyler Spires added 98 yards and a TD on 13 carries putting him over 3,000 yards for his career. Brad Jump tacked on 95 yards and a TD on 10 carries.
Tioga coach Nick Aiello had nothing but praise for Spires after the game.
"Getting 3,000 yards is a great milestone for him," he said. "I'm very proud of him and I hope he's proud of himself."
"Defensively, Tyler was all over the field that was good to see," said Aiello. "With the big games early on, I haven't really seen him fly around lately.
"He's always in the mix, but tonight was the first time in a while it seemed like he was all over the ball," added Aiello.
The Tigers, now 5-1 overall and 3-0 in divisional play, got a big play from its defense on the third play of the game when Ryan House picked off a pass at the Tioga 33.
On Tioga's first play, Manuel squirted through the middle of the Notre Dame line and raced 67 yards for a TD. Spires' run for conversion gave the Tigers an 8-0 lead less than 1 1/2 minutes into the game
After an exchange of punts, Tioga took over at its 41-yard line. Eleven plays and exactly 5 minutes later, Manuel swept off the right side of his offensive line and scampered 15 yards for a TD to make it 14-0.
After forcing another punt Notre Dame punt, Tioga took over at its 26. On just eight plays all on the ground, the Tigers marched 74 yards, capped by an 11-yard run by Spires to make 20-0 with 6:31 remaining in the half.
The drive was highlighted by runs of 17 and 13 yards by Jump, 11 yards by Spires and 15 yards by Manuel to set up Spires' TD run.
Notre Dame's offense, which was held without a first down and to just seven yards on its first four possessions, finally showed some life late in the first half, clicking off three first downs two on runs of 12 and 13 yards by Tom Agan to move the ball to the Tioga 41.
However, Manuel ended the threat and drove a stake into the Crusaders heart with a leaping interception and a 69-yard return down the far sidelines for a score. Spires' run for conversion made it 28-0 with 2:33 remaining in the first half.
"That (interception) was huge," said Nick Aiello. "It was a nice leaping interception and he's got that speed to take it the house.
"That was a big play, it definitely took a little momentum out of them," added Aiello. "They were moving the ball on that drive."
The Tigers nearly added to their lead in the final seconds of the half when Dalton Wojcuich picked off a pass and raced 79 yards for an apparent TD, but a pair of flags negated the score.
"We were a little sloppy in the first half," said Aiello. "The kids didn't have school today, so I don't know if there legs were dead or what, but I thought we were a little flat coming out.
"I know that's tough to say when you're up 28-0 at the half," he said. "I thought in the second half, the first two drives by the first team were much, much better, much sharper."
The Tigers opened the second half with the ball (after recovering an on-sides kick) and promptly marched 50 yards on seven plays for a score.
Jump had the big play in the drive, bulling 34 yards for an apparent TD only to have a holding call at the ND 12 move the ball back to the 22.
On the next play, Ryan Vergason fired a perfect strike over double-coverage to Manuel for another apparent TD, but an illegal procedure call nullified that score.
Jump then ripped off a run of 23 yards to the ND 4, then covered the final yards on the next play. Manuel's PAT kick put Tioga ahead 35-0 with 9:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Notre Dame answered with a 14-play drive to the Tioga 9 on its next possession, but on the 15th play, Spires picked off a pass in the end zone to keep the shutout alive.
Four plays later, Manuel broke outside and raced 60 yards down the home sidelines for a score. He added the PAT to make it 42-0 with 19 seconds left in the third quarter.
Notre Dame found the end zone on its next possession on a nine-play, 63-yard drive that culminated with a 38-yard TD pass from Chris Thurber to Devon Jackson with 9:04 left in the game.
The Tigers second offensive unit tacked on the last score with an impressive 14-play, 65-yard drive that chewed up more than 8 minutes from the clock.
Dylan House gained 28 yards on four carries in the drive, including a 3-yard TD run, and Matt Jump added 16 yards on three carries. Sammy Burns also completed a 26-yard pass to Dan Graves on the drive.
Tioga amassed 419 yards in total offense, including 393 yards on the ground, while the Crusaders totaled 187 yards.
The Tigers will travel to S-VE (5-1, 3-0) next Friday in a game for the Division X crown, while Notre Dame (now 4-2, 2-1) hosts Candor.