NEW WILMINGTON – Cambridge Springs’ loss to Sharpsville in the first-round of the District 10 playoffs last night will go down as a 21-point loss, 35-14.

It was a much closer game than that, however, and certainly a much better showing than Crawford County’s Blue Devils made in their 49-6 drubbing at the hands of Mercer County’s Blue Devils in last year’s first-round installment.

Last year’s game was over somewhere in the second quarter. Last night’s final score wasn’t official until the final minute of the final quarter, even though Cambridge only held the lead for six minutes.

Holding a slim 10-6 lead at the half, Sharpsville came out in the third quarter with a plan in mind: make Cambridge Springs stop 200-pound fullback Tim Siege.

The same plan had worked well in the first half as Siege picked up 74 yards on 11 carries, and it worked even better in the second half as he went on to pick up a game-high 152 yards on 25 totes.

Siege carried five straight times on Sharpsville’s opening possession of the second half. On those carries he gained 38 yards and three first downs en route to Josh Taylor’s four-yard touchdown run, which gave Sharpsville a 16-6 lead.

“Timmy’s been there all year, and he’s a plugger” said Sharpsville coach Paul Piccirilli, who earned his 100th career win as head coach of the Blue Devils last night. “He’s not going to get you the 300-yard games … but we’re just like a turtle; we go four yards, then we go four more.”

But Sharpsville was far from clinching the game with a 10-point lead.

Cambridge Springs came right back on the ensuing possession and made it a two-point game when Josh Hobson broke a 62-yard touchdown run five plays later. Steven Kargol’s two-point pass to Lucas Acker completed the eight-point score.

Sharpsville pieced together the drive of the game with a perfect mix of the run and pass. A drive that started with 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter ended on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jarryd Summers to Ryan Maurice on a fourth-and-13 situation with 5:06 remaining in the game.

Down by nine, that’s when things went sour for Cambridge and freshman quarterback Steve Kargol.

Kargol was intercepted three plays into the Spa’s next drive by Taylor, who returned his prize down to the Cambridge 12 yard line. Sharpsville put the game away for good four plays later on fourth-and-10 from the Cambridge 12 when Siege ran up the left side for a well-deserved touchdown.

“That just kills you,” said Cambridge Springs coach Walt Nottingham of Sharpsville’s two fourth-down touchdowns. “You have to make those plays … (Sharpsville) did.”

Kargol was intercepted for the second time in the game on first down by Maurice, who returned the pick 26 yards to pay dirt.

Sharpsville outgained Cambridge by 74 yards on the ground, and ran the ball 22 more times.

“We had trouble stopping (Siege),” said Nottingham. “We tried to get (the defense) to do what they’re supposed to do. We were blitzing them, we were trying to move some of our kids around and shift our defense left and right. But their line is their strong point and they just took control.

“It was a good game. I feel bad for our kids that the final score does not indicate how good of a game it was. We gave up those touchdowns late and that just killed us. We just can’t seem to get over that hump.”

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