ORWIGSBURG – In the first half of last night's game against Blue Mountain, the Jim Thorpe football team appeared to have put last week's loss behind them by correcting everything that went wrong against Tamaqua the week prior.
* Limit turnovers – check!
* Avoid giving up big plays – check!
* Control the opponent's ground game – check!
The result was a 20-13 halftime lead that saw the Olympians shooting for their first win of the season.
However, for all of the good things that came out of the first half, the second half was a complete disaster that saw the Olympians shoot themselves in the foot over, and over, and over again.
In the words of Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger, it was "a total embarrassment."
In the second half alone, the Olympians threw four interceptions, gave up three touchdown runs longer than 65 yards (80, 69, 66) and allowed the Eagles to rush for 362 yards in the final 22 minutes.
"We played a great first half offensively and defensively, and I was very proud of our kids in the first half," stated Rosenberger. "It was a totally embarrassing second half though – the effort was embarrassing and the execution was awful."
"Tonight was reminiscent of how we practiced during the week. We get one good day and then we get a bad day. It all comes back to consistency, and unfortunately we weren't consistent in our efforts tonight."
Jim Thorpe took an early 7-0 lead when Pat Duvigneaud hooked up with Mike Harleston for a 40-yard scoring strike on the Olympians third play from scrimmage.
However, Blue Mountain only needed two plays to tie the game, when Mike Donovan plunged in from two yards out following a 60-yard reception from Tristan Dickey.
Donovan gave the Eagles a 13-7 lead off a 57-yard touchdown run, but Duvigneaud followed with two one-yard runs on quarterback sneaks that put the Olympians up by seven points at the break.
After forcing a Jim Thorpe punt on the first possession of the second half, Justin Gilfillan took Blue Mountain's first play of the third quarter 80 yards to paydirt to tie things up at 20-20.
Jim Thorpe's next four possessions ended in interceptions, as Sean Greenawalt picked off two Duvigneaud passes, while Dakota Robets and Austin Minnich added the others.
Blue Mountain turned three of those turnovers into touchdowns, as the Eagles scored 21 points in a span of nine minutes.
In two games, Jim Thorpe has now turned the ball over 10 times, including nine interceptions.
Donovan added his third touchdown run of the day from 69 yards out on the play following Blue Mountain's first interception. Gilfillan added a 7-yard score for his second rushing touchdown, and Will Bornstein got in on the action with a 66-yard touchdown run. With 9:35 left in the fourth quarter, the Eagles turned a seven-point deficit into a 41-20 lead.
After allowing Tamaqua to rush for 308 yards last week, Blue Mountain gouged Jim Thorpe for 479 yards rushing on just 36 carries (13.3 yards per carry), including seven rushing touchdowns. Donovan ended the night with 11 carries for 195 yards, while Gilfillan added 137 yards on just nine carries.
"Our run defense was awful and I'll just leave it at that," summed up Rosenberger. "Tonight we got physically beat up front and that's not good enough. We need to get better, period!"