Cowboys Empty Their Guns, But Fall to Steelers
Fulton County’s Cowboys struggled the second half of the regular season. After starting the season 3-0, they dropped a big week four matchup to Woodcock, then scored only one touchdown over the next three weeks while being blown out of each contest. That streak included a 25-0 throttling at the hands of the North Huntingdon Steelers in week six. While the Cowboys had beaten the Steelers in overtime in week three, this playoff game looked like a potential blowout. Then the teams took the field.
From the opening kick, the Cowboys showed they had found their swagger. Austin Schreiver fielded the kick for the Cowboys and made a solid return. Running backs Aaron Schepis and Owen Hawkins followed effective blocking to march the ball deep in to Steeler territory. The Cowboys called an option play near the goal line, and Novack’s pitch to Schepis led to the first score of the day. The PAT failed, but the Cowboys had their first lead in weeks at 6-0.
The Cowboy defense made the lead look large. As improved as the run blocking was this week, the defensive line play was just as noticeable. Dylan Everts returned to his disruptive form of the early season, making numerous tackles in the Steelers’ backfield. Bryce Ulsh, Hawkins and Schepis made big defensive plays throughout the half, and the Cowboy “D” forced a Steeler fumble, recovered by Schreiver as the first quarter closed.
As the second quarter opened, the Cowboys began their second march down the field. Novack tossed a short completion to Quentin Miller, followed by a quarterback keeper for a first down. Novack then found Schepis down the far sideline for a 17- yard completion and a first down inside the Steelers’ 10 yard line. Schepis made a strong run on first down but lost the ball as he fought for the goal line. The Cowboys recovered salvaging the scoring opportunity. Following two short runs, the Cowboys faced fourth and goal from the 3. The Steelers’ defense this time stepped up, corralling Novack in the backfield to end the drive. The goalline stand would prove huge, as the half ended with the Cowboys still leading 6-0.
Huntingdon’s first drive of the second half showed some life, as they Steelers were able to advance the ball for the first time on the day. A huge illegal formation call negated a big run, but the Steelers were starting to win the line of scrimmage. Following a Cowboy punt, downed by Quintin Miller at the Steelers’ 16, Huntingdon faced a fourth and long with just under five to go in the game. The Steelers broke a 58-yard touchdown run on the next play to tie the score. The Cowboy D stuffed the PAT, but the score was even again, and neither team could break the tie in regulation.
The Cowboys had the first possession of the overtime, which gives each team an opportunity to score with a first-andgoal from the 10 yard line. A short run and holding penalty had the Cowboys facing a third and goal from the 19-yard line. A short pass on third down fell just out of the reach of Hawkins, bringing fourth and goal. Novack lofted a beautiful ball to the goal line intended for Schepis streaking down the near side. Schepis made a diving attempt, but the ball fell just beyond his outstretched fingertips.
Huntingdon now had the ball with an opportunity to win and advance to round two. Following a short run on first down, Huntingdon drew the Cowboys offside to move the ball to the 3-yard line. The Cowboys D dug deep to stop the second down run just short of the goal line, but the Steelers’ third attempt just made the goal line, setting the final at 12-6 and eliminating the Cowboys.
JV Cowboys fall to Steelers 19-0
Fulton County’s JV Cowboys dropped their first-round playoff game to the Huntingdon Steelers on Saturday. The Steelers took control of the game from the opening kickoff, fielding the kick and returning it for a touchdown, with the point-after conversion good for a 7-0 lead. On the Cowboys’ ensuing possession, they fumbled the ball, and Huntingdon recovered at the Cowboy 7. The Steelers immediately punched in their second score of the day, but failed on the point-after attempt for a 13-0 lead. Following a Cowboy punt, the Steelers again scored, this time on a fourth down run, setting the score at 19-0 and ending the scoring for the half and the day. Following the initial barrage by Huntingdon, the Cowboy defense dug in and proved effective the rest of the way. Zane Webber, Aurora Webber, Kole Kendall, Logan Deshong and Weston Brunner all made big defensive plays as the Cowboys stonewalled the Steelers throughout the second half. In addition to his strong tackling, Zane Webber made an exceptional leaping interception late in the second half to force a turnover.