A first for JT
There's nothing more appropriate than having an overtime game to kick off this week's OVERTIME column.
Friday night at Mahanoy Area, Jim Thorpe won the first overtime game in school history. The Olympians actually needed a pair of overtime periods to defeat Mahanoy Area, 18-12, in a game that had significant playoff implications for both teams.
With the win, Jim Thorpe became the final TIMES NEWS area team to post an overtime victory. The Olympians had played two prior OT contests, losing to Shenandoah in 2002 and to Lehighton in 2006. It was also only the 10th multiple overtime period game involving an area team since the PIAA overtime rule went into effect in 1995.
The high school overtime format alternating possessions beginning on the opponents' 10-yard line favors a power football team and that's exactly what the 2010 Olympians are. It also helps to be prepared for the situation something Thorpe obviously was.
"We practice for all type of situations that might occur during a game and overtime is obviously one of those situations," said Rosenberger. "I thought we also benefitted from the fact that in our [pre[JUMP]season] scrimmage against Palmerton, we set aside time to play an overtime format.
"I think the fact that the kids got to experience that during the scrimmage was a big help. I think our kids knew what to expect and stayed calm during what can be a very intense and pressure packed situation."
With Mahanoy Area currently sitting atop the District 11 Class A rankings and Jim Thorpe now tied for the fourth and final Class AA playoff berth, the game was extremely important for the Olympians.
But Rosenberger didn't want to talk about how the dramatic win impacted the Olympians' postseason possibilities.
"It was intense, exciting and fun," said Rosenberger about the overtime victory. "It was a great win for our kids. But now we need to focus on getting another win this week against Schuylkill Haven.
"We're not even thinking about anything else. We haven't talked about playoffs. We just need to keep winning games and the playoff scenerio will work itself out. Playoffs aren't even on our mind."
BEARS BATTLE BACK ... Pleasant Valley rallied from a 10-0 second quarter deficit to beat East Stroudsburg North, 21-10, on Friday night.
It was just the sixth time since 1984 that Pleasant Valley has rallied from a deficit of 10 or more points and won the game.
The other five times were:
* 13-point deficit against Williamsport on Sept. 7, 2007 and rallied to win, 42-35
* 12-point deficit against Wyoming Valley West on Sept. 9, 1994 and rallied to win, 21-19
* 12-point deficit against Notre Dame on Sept. 20, 1991 and rallied to win, 15-12
* 11-point deficit against Pocono Mountain on Nov. 13, 1992 and rallied to win, 28-23
* 10-point deficit against Whitehall on Sept. 22, 2000 and rallied to win, 34-10
* 10-point deficit against Pocono Mountain on Nov. 12, 1993 and rallied to win, 21-17
NO YARDAGE, NO PROBLEM ... Jim Thorpe managed just 198 yards of total offense in its victory over Mahanoy Area.
How rare is it for the Olympians to produce that little total offense and still pick up a victory?
In Mark Rosenberger's 13 years as Jim Thorpe's coach, his teams had been held under 200 yards of offense just 19 times before Friday night and the Olympians record in those games was 1-18.
Jim Thorpe's only other victory during the Rosenberger-era when it failed to produce 200 yards of offense came on Oct. 20, 2007 when it had 171 yards and defeated Schuylkill Haven, 10-0.
RARE THREE ... Marian's Paul Martin kicked a 23-yard field goal in last week's game against Minersville.
Field goals are pretty uncommon in Colt Country. The three-pointer was just the seventh at Marian over the past 20 years.
The other six were:
* Paul Martin, 25 yards on Oct. 23, 2009 at Shenandoah
* Shawn Gates, 24 yards on Sept. 26, 2008 at North Schuylkill
* Neil Andrews, 27 yards on Nov. 10, 2007 vs. Jenkintown
* Neil Andrews, 25 yards on Sept. 21, 2007 at Halifax
* John Boyle, 33 yards on Oct. 26, 2001 at Danville
* John Chuma, 21 yards on Sept. 10, 1994 at Mahanoy Area
ANOTHER GOOSE EGG ... Northern Lehigh's 21-0 victory over Northwestern on Friday night was its third shutout of the season.
When was the last time the Bulldogs had at least three shutouts in a season?
If Northern Lehigh fans believe in omens then it might be a good sign that the last Bulldog team to accomplish that feat was the 2003 team that reached the PIAA State Championship game. That year, Northern Lehigh had a total of eight shutouts, including an amazing streak of seven consecutive shutouts.
TIGER TACKLER ... Northwestern junior David Tirpak had a record-breaking night last Friday in the Tigers' 21-0 loss to rival Northern Lehigh.
The team's defensive end set a new team record for solo tackles in a game, finishing the evening with 15. That total eclipsed the mark of 14 that Matt Sulzer set in 1981 against Palmerton.
For good measure, Tirpak also assisted on six stops to give him 21 tackles in the game. Not surprisingly, Tirpak leads the Tigers in tackles this season.
LEHIGHTON SOUTH .... The Nazareth football team is enjoying a very good season. The Blue Eagles are currently 5-2 and are the only team this year to defeat Pleasant Valley.
The Nazareth coaching staff has a lot of faces that Lehighton football fans will find familar.
Among the assistants on head coach Rob Melosky's staff are former Lehighton head coaches Dave Parsons and Bill Brong. In addition, former Indian gridders Vinnie Andrews and Mike Cebrosky are also on the staff.
But Lehighton isn't alone when it comes to area connections with the Blue Eagles. Also on the staff are former Tamaqua coach Tom Edwards and former Pleasant Valley coach Dan Muir.