Oil City Falls to Thomas Jefferson in PIAA Semifinals
The Jaguars were simply too big and too strong for the Oilers, who struggled to contend with Thomas Jefferson’s quick-hitting and diverse offense. All night long, the Jaguars were able to control the line of scrimmage, making it almost impossible for the Oilers to gain any yards on the ground. Thomas Jefferson was also able to efficiently rush the passer, making passing equally difficult for the Oilers.
To begin the contest, the Jaguars started with the ball and immediately entered Oilers’ territory, connecting on two screen passes for big yardage. Two plays later, Jake Pugh hooked up with Preston Zandier on a slant for a 21 yard touchdown, quickly putting the Jaguars up 7-0.
Thomas Jefferson quickly regained possession of the football, as Jordan Mayer forced a Holden Stahl fumble that was recovered on the Oilers’ own 30-yard line. After a series of offensive penalties looked to kill the Jaguars’ drive, Thomas Jefferson came up with a big play, as Pugh found Zandier for a long 37-yard touchdown. The pair’s second score of the night put the Jaguars up 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
A three-and-out resulted in a quick Oilers punt, and the Jaguars got back on the board on the first play of their next possession. On a run up the middle, Conner Murga broke a tackle and used his speed to accelerate away from the defense for a 40-yard touchdown run. A third successful PAT put the Jaguars up 21-0 inside the first quarter.
Yet another Oilers three-and-out forced a punting opportunity, where an errant snap provided the Jaguars with possession on the Oilers’ own 15-yard line. Thomas Jefferson took advantage of the good field position, as Pugh hooked up with Zandier for his third touchdown of the night. The score and PAT made the score 28-0 with 2:00 left in the first quarter.
After another Thomas Jefferson stop, the Jaguars regained possession. On the second play of the drive, Pugh found Ian Hansen for a big 55-yard completion to put the Jaguars on the Oilers’ two yard line. Murga powered his way into the endzone to give Thomas Jefferson a 35-0 lead with 11:17 left in the second quarter.
A Sean Stack interception was the lone bright spot of the first half for the Oilers, who went into halftime trailing 49-0.
Thomas Jefferson started the second half by scoring again, increasing their lead to 56-0. A big tight end pop pass from Stahl to Seth Yeager gave the Oilers their first scoring opportunity of the game, as the Oilers entered Jaguars’ territory. Unfortunately for the Oilers, a fourth-down stop on a Stack outside run forced a turnover on downs. A late touchdown by the Jaguars made the final score 62-0 in favor of Thomas Jefferson, who advance to the PIAA title game.
Thomas Jefferson advances to the PIAA Class 4A title game where they will face the Jersey Shore Bulldogs from District 4.
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