Penns Valley loses in a thriller to Tyrone, 27-21

TIM WEIGHT/For The Express Penns Valley's John Aston wraps up Tyrone's quarterback during Friday's game.

SPRING MILLS — With a postseason-type atmosphere, Penns Valley took undefeated Tyrone down into the final minutes before falling, 27-21, in a Mountain League thriller Friday night.

“The special teams is one of the three phases we work very hard at it,” said Penns Valley coach Martin Tobias. “Our kids take a lot of pride in it and it sure helped us tonight.”

The game had a little bit of everything, hard hits, special teams plays, lead changes and last second defensive stands and that was just in the first half alone.

Both teams had mixed a strong passing game with a grind-it-out running attack.

In the fourth quarter, the Rams found themselves trailing 13-7 after a scoreless third period.

TIM WEIGHT/For The Express Penns Valley Gage Ripka runs against Tyrone during Friday's contest.

Late in the third, the Rams got the ball on its own 47. They went immediately to the air where quarterback Aiden Brinker found his favorite receiver, Gage Ripka, for a 5-yard strike.

From there it took just six plays for Brinker and Ripka to hook up for for a 4-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 13-13 with 10:32 left in the game before the extra point had fans going wild. It gave the Rams their first lead of the game, 14-13.

With the momentum, Penns Valley kicked the ball to the Golden Eagles hoping that the defense could slow down quarterback Brandon Lucas and running back Tommy Hicks.

Starting with the ball at its own 41, Tyrone slowly and methodically worked its way down the field, marching down in a 12-play drive that culminated in a Hicks 1-yard touchdown run. The Golden Eagles converted the two-point conversion, giving Tyrone back the lead at 21-14.

In the following kickoff, Penns Valley got the ball to Ripka at the seven and he blazed his way down the field for the 93-yard kick off return for a touchdown to tie the game up, 21-21.

TIM WEIGHT/For The Express Penns Valley players swarm a Tyrone player during Friday's football game.

Both defenses took over and it would be the Rams that would catch the first break.

Mason Lieb picked off an overthrown pass by Lucas, giving his team the ball at their own 33. However, the Golden Eagles defense would force Penns Valley to punt the ball.

Starting at their own 29, Tyrone’s offense was again driving, marching down on a 5-play drive which ended in a Lucas 45-yard TD with his favorite target, Damon Gripp, giving them a 27-21 advantage with 1:38 left.

“He had a nice double move,” said Tobias. ” It was a well thrown ball. He’s a dynamic ball player. We knew we had to contain him. We knew we weren’t going to stop him and he got us on that one.”

But like it had for a lot of the contest, the Penns Valley special teams penetrated the extra point attempt, causing their kicker to speed up his kick which went wide right.

Penns Valley tried to march down the field on offense, but the Tyrone defense was too much. However, it would be the Penns Valley defense that would open up the scoring early in the game.

With Tyrone setting up for a punt, the Rams exploded through the line and blocked a kick in the end zone. With a pile of Rams near the football it would be Tanner Ilgen that would come up with it for the early 7-0 lead.

Tyrone tied it late in the first when Lucas hooked up with wide out Keegan Gwinn for a 17-yard TD to tie it at 7.

In the second quarter, the Golden Eagles added another score when Hicks blasted through the line for a 4-yard TD run. The PAT was blocked by the tough special teams unit.

Things almost got worse for Penns Valley as a turnover put the Tyrone offense deep in Rams territory.

Facing a fourth-and-goal at the three, the Penns Valley defense held, keeping them in the game and taking the two teams into intermission with just six points separating them.

It would be a back-and-forth-battle to the very end as both teams refused to give up.

Tyrone 27, Penns Valley 21

Tyrone 7 6 0 14 -27

Penns Valley 7 0 0 14 – 21

First quarter

PV – Tanner Ilgen blocked punt recovery in the end zone, (Gage Ripka kick), 3:14.

T – Brandon Lucas 17-yard TD pass to Keegan Gwinn (Kendall Markley),0:49.

Second quarter

T – Thomas Hicks 4-yard TD run ( kick blocked), 6:02.

Fourth quarter

PV – Aiden Brinker 4-yard TD pass to Gage Ripka (Ripka kick), 10:32.

T – Hicks 1-yard run ( 2-point conversion), 5:52.

PV – Gage Ripka 93-yard kick off return (Ripka kick), 5:37.

T – Lucas 45-yard TD pass to Damon Gripp (kick failed), 1:38.



First downs 17 15

Rushes-yards 27-65 29-96

Passing yards 207 122

Total yards 272 218

C-A-I 17-27-1 17-29-0

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1

Penalties-yards 3-25 4-50


RUSHING: Penns Valley – Seth Baney 9-24, Aiden Brinker 17-41, Gage Ripka 3-31. Tyrone – Tommy Hicks 15-45, Matt Clifton 2-8, Brandon Lucas 8-6, Ross Gampe 1-1, Anthony Lowery 1-5.

PASSING: Penns Valley – Brinker 17-29 122 . Tyrone – Lucas 17-27 207.

RECEIVING: Penns Valley – Stephan Ripka 6-38, Gage Ripka 8-35 Tanner Ilgen 1-6, Alex Hammer 1-38, Miles Brooks 1-8. Tyrone – Damon Gripp 11-141, Hicks 2-34, Clifton 1-5, Gampe 2-10, Keegan Gwinn 1-17.

INTERCEPTIONS: Penns Valley 1.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)


Starting at $4.39/week.

Subscribe Today