HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bobcats secure playoff berth
HOUTZDALE — District 6 playoff scenarios in the minutes just following a week 10 game can be a big question mark.
But the Blairsville Bobcats were certain of two things after they played Moshannon Valley at Hilltop Stadium Friday. Blairsville had put together its most dominant performance of the season in a 40-19 victory, and the Bobcats had played their way back into a postseason berth after a loss to Portage last week dropped them out of the top eight rankings required to make the Class A playoffs.
The only thing still left to sort out as the players left the field was where they finished in the top eight and where they would be going next week for the first round of the playoffs. The consensus seemed to be eighth, which would have them going to Portage to take on the top-ranked Mustangs.
“We played hoping to get in, and now (Cambria) Heights has beaten Northern Cambria,” Blairsville coach Rick Artley said. “I think that’s it. I think we’re in, because that was the big one. But the only thing we could take care of tonight was a win against Mo Valley. That’s all, and we did a great job of that.”
The Bobcats starting defense held Moshannon Valley to just 1.8 yards per play until the mercy rule took effect midway through the third quarter. Until then the Black Knights had no rushing first downs and were held to minus-4 rushing yards before halftime.
“We did a great job night,” Artley said. “Up front we kept our linebackers free, and that was one thing we struggled with this season. Tonight we did a nice job. Luke Ratkus, Scott Thompson and Tyler Lenhardt, those guys made some nice plays at those linebacker positions. Give our defensive line a lot of that credit for keeping their offensive line from getting to our backers.”
On the offensive side, junior tailback Deion Robinson celebrated his 17th birthday with five touchdowns and 170 rushing yards.
The teams’ total yardage — Blairsville’s 259 to Moshannon Valley’s 251 — didn’t indicate it, but Moshannon Valley was never in this game.
Before Robinson took the spotlight, senior wide receiver Anthony Faulk scored on a 17-yard pass from Scott Thompson on a slant route. Then the running game took over as Robinson scored three times in the second quarter on runs of 13, 6 and 24 and finished the half with 131 rushing yards.
Robinson scored two more times in the third quarter on runs of 7 and 10 yards.
Moshannon Valley tacked on three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and gained most of its yardage long after Blairsville starters had retired to the sideline.