Edinboro holds on against Seton Hill

Contributed Photo: Sports Information
The Edinboro defense, including redshirt-freshman strong safety Corey Beck (above center), forced four Seton Hill turnovers to preserve the Fighting Scots’ second victory of the season.
Scots win against Griffins

By Tyler Trumbauer
Sports Editor /Spectator

On a day where the divisional winners were crowned for football in the PSAC, the game between Seton Hill and Edinboro, who were secondto-last and last in the western division, respectively, coming into the contest, did not have a lot of significance.

However, no one told that to these teams.

The Griffins and the Scots battled for over three-hours on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Sox Harrison Stadium. The two were entrenched in a fight that went down to the wire where Edinboro (28, 2-7 PSAC) came out victorious, 31-27, snapping its three-game losing streak.

“It was huge,” senior outside linebacker Kyle Matula said about the win. “Especially since I’m one of the seniors that doesn’t get to play here much longer with one more game after this.”

With it being the penultimate game for the outgoing senior class, it was important to get the victory, but the underclassmen were the ones taking care of business early on.

Sophomore free safety O’Sha Jackson halted Seton Hill’s offense on its first possession of the game, picking off Griffin quarterback Christian Strong near the sideline, reeling in the first interception of his collegiate career.

The Scots failed to capitalize on that turnover, and a few others, netting only seven points off takeaways on the day, but Boro did get on the scoreboard first by way of a 25-yard field goal from redshirt-freshman Paul Ortiz late in the first quarter.

Seton Hill needed just two plays to retaliate as Strong (43-69, 445yds., 3TDs, 1 INT) connected with Eric Brown on a 24-yard pass and then found FJ Williams for a 40-yard catch and run to give the Griffins a 7-3 lead heading into the second quarter.

To open the second frame, the Scots pieced together a six-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 7-yard touchdown pass from redshirt-senior Cody Harris (2734, 310yds., 2 TDs., 1 rush TD) to redshirt-sophomore Connor Hollenbeck to propel the Scots back into the lead, 10-7, with 12:56 remaining before halftime.

Head coach Scott Browning really valued the offense’s ability to take time and sustain long drives in the game.

“It was huge,” he admitted. “The next to last series of the game we probably should have taken some more time off the clock than we did, but we took a shot and kept doing what has been working for us.”

It especially worked for Boro in the latter part of the second quarter. After Seton Hill scored on short run to take a 14-10 lead, the Fighting Scots tore off 14 points before intermission by way off an eight-yard run by freshman Anfreenee Williams and a five-yard touchdown catch by redshirt-sophomore Darren Massey.

Williams had 11 carries for 66 yards and the touchdown, but left the game late in the second quarter due to injury. The Camilla, Georgia, native was carted off the field and was seen on the sidelines utilizing crutches in the second half.

Boro’s 24-14 halftime lead held true through a scoreless third that included an interception and fumble recovery by redshirt-freshman strong safety Corey Beck.

Matula was pleased with the defense’s play in the game.

“Turnovers are huge. Win or lose, you always have to win the turnover differential. We felt that when we had the fumble and the pick that it was really big for us momentum wise. We built off the other ones. The offense was able to do stuff after the turnovers and the defense was gaining momentum as well,” Matula said.

Edinboro’s halftime lead carried into the fourth until a three-yard rush by Harris made it a 31-14 advantage.

That comfortable lead would soon vanish.

Seton Hill managed two scoring drives of over 10 plays each to bring the deficit down to single digits.

However, Edinboro’s Jim Wilson blocked the Griffins’ extra point attempt after their final score to make it a four point margin, eliminating the chance of a game-tying field goal.

Despite the performances from all three phases and getting the win, it shouldn’t have been as close, according to Browning.

“We made some foolish mistakes. We are getting better, but I think we need to learn how to finish,” Browning said.

Edinboro will finish off its 2014 campaign on Saturday as the Scots welcome Millersville (1-8, 1-9) to Sox Harrison Stadium. That game is scheduled for a noon kickoff.

Tyler Trumbauer is the sports editor for The Spectator. He can be reached by sports.spectator@gmail.com