SALEM — They say speed kills in football. That was clear and evident in the 44th annual Penn-Ohio Game Thursday night at Salem’s Sebo Stadium.
The Keystone team utilized a pair of speedsters Trey Singleton from Beaver Falls and Raequon Troutman from Cornell to carry them to a 47-30 victory. Pennsylvania scored the only points of the second half after the contest was tied at 30-30 at halftime.
“That’s how football goes,” Salem’s Jackson Johnson said. “It has its ebbs and flows. It was like a tennis match for a little bit and then we came up a little short.”
It didn’t take long for the speed of the Keystone receivers to show their presence when Singleton hauled in a 38-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage. He scored seven plays later when he caught a 19-yard pass to put them up 7-0.
But the Buckeyes answered on their first possession when Southern’s Colton Soukup plowed into the end zone from 1-yard out. Jackson Johnson added a two-point conversion to give them an 8-7 lead at the 2:29 mark of the first quarter.
For his efforts on the night, Johnson was named the Ohio offensive player of the game. He rushed for 55 yards and pass for another 76 with one touchdown.
“There were a bunch of guys that could have gotten this,” Johnson said. “I’m glad that they recognized me for this, but it is also a big tribute to our whole offense for scoring a bunch of points tonight.”
The Buckeyes started digging themselves a hole early in the second stanza when Johns had a punt sail over his head into their own end zone resulting in a safety. Then on the ensuing free kick, Singleton returned the kick 61-yards for a Pennsylvania touchdown and a 17-8 lead with 10:45 remaining in the first half.
“Kickoff returns tonight,” Beaver Local’s Caleb White summed up the difference in the game. “They had so many yards off of kickoff returns, it was incredible. They had a lot of speed.”
The Buckeyes scored three more times before the half with United’s Grant Knight hauling in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Johnson, followed by a 40-yard pass from South Range’s Billy Skripac to Salem’s Caden Swiger with 3:24 left in the second quarter. Ohio scored their last touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Skripac to Christian Martig from West Branch with just 4 seconds remaining before halftime. That made it a 30-30 score at the intermission.
“It has obviously been quite a ride,” Skripac said of winning a state championship and playing in an all-star game. “I’ve been playing football since I was in first grade and to finish my football career like this and be so successful in the regular season, plus have so much fun these past two weeks it was all for the love of football.”
White took home the defensive player of the game. He intercepted a pass late in the first half to deny the Keystone from scoring, breaking up a couple of passes, and he figured in on several tackles. White only came to practice this week after missing the end of the high school track season with an injury.
“It was very unexpected,” White said of the honor. “I think of myself more of as an offensive player, so I’m just blessed, it’s amazing.”
White went on to explain the play that help propel him to the award, “Coach Dota was screaming wheel, wheel play, so I knew it was coming. (The receiver) faked me out a little bit, but then I got him at the last second.”
Following a punt by the Buckeyes to start the second half, the Keystoners took control of the contest with a 69-yard, 17-play drive with Beaver Falls quarterback Jaren Brickner diving into the end zone from 1-yard out. The score came with just 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Pennsylvania added a 29-yard field goal at the 10:25 mark of the fourth quarter to make 40-30. Pennsylvania sealed the game away with a 14-yard run with only 36 seconds left to reach the final 47-30 score.
OHIO: 8-22-0- 0–30
PA–Trey Singleton 19 pass from Jaren Brickner (Devon Thomas Kick)
OH–Colton Soukup 1 run (Jackson Johnson run)
PA–Safety, Johnson tackled in end zone
PA–Singleton 61 punt return (Thomas kick)
OH–Grant Knight 33 pass from Johnson (Zane Kinsey run)
PA –Singleton 23 pass from Brickner (Thomas kick)
OH–Caden Swiger 40 pass from Billy Skripac (run failed)
PA–Brady Cooper 26 pass from Brickner (Thomas kick)
OH–Christian Martig 11 pass from Skripac (Kinsey run)
PA–Brickner 1 run (Thomas kick)
PA–Thomas 29 FG
PA–Liam Gibson 14 run (Thomas kick)
First downs 14 19
Total Yards 267 344
Rushes-yards 25-58 34-170
Passing 209 174
Comp-Att-Int 10-20-1 11-18-1
Punts 1-22 1-23
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-0
RUSHING–Pennsylvania, Liam Gibson (Beaver) 6-23; Ohio, Zane Kinsey (Toronto) 12-59, Jackson Johnson (Salem) 10-55, Billy Skripac (South Range) 9-45.
PASSING–Pennsylvania, Jaren Brickner (Beaver Falls) 10-20-209-3-1; Ohio, Jackson Johnson (Salem) 4-8-76-1-1, Billy Skripac (South Range) 7-10-98-2-0.
RECEIVING–Pennsylvania, Trey Singleton (Beaver Falls) 4-111, Ohio, Caden Swiger (Salem) 2-69, Grant Knight (United) 3-43, Christian Martig (West Branch) 3-36.
INTERCEPTIONS– Pennsylvania, Raequon Troutman (Cornell); Ohio, Caleb White (Beaver Local).
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