Tioga County Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — Newark Valley executed its game plan for most of the first half, but Tioga’s high-powered offense roared to life late in the second quarter on its way to a 46-15 romp here Friday night in Section IV, Division VI football action at Haggerty Field.

The Cardinals, ranked 14th in the state in Class D, did everything it wanted to do except put the ball in the end zone in the first 19 minutes of the game, running 29 offensive plays to Tioga’s 10, and building a time-of-possession advantage of 14:37 to 4:18, but trailed 7-0.

“We had a game plan,” said Newark Valley coach Ed Mertson. “We wanted to keep the ball on the ground, keep the clock running, and keep the ball moving.

“We know they’re an explosive team, and have some real big weapons … we wanted to keep the ball away from them.

“We thought if we kept control of the ball, and kept moving it, we could make this a nice ground-it-out, old-fashion Tioga County battle,” added Mertson.

Newark Valley mishandled the opening kickoff, and started its initial possession on its own 12.

The Cardinals picked up a pair of first downs on runs by Landon Spoonhower, but were forced to punt.

Tioga, the state’s top-ranked team in Class D, took over at its own 22, and quickly took the lead. After a 9-yard run, Wood broke through line, and sprinted 69 yards to paydirt. Gavin Fisher’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 7:35 remaining in the first quarter.

Newark Valley’s next possession ended on down on Tioga’s 22. The 11-play possession, which featured a 17-yard pass from Mikey Wandell to Spoonhower, took more than four minutes off the clock.

Tioga picked up a pair of first downs, but on fourth-and-1 at the Cardinal 45, Wood was stopped short by Wandell, and Newark Valley took over on downs.

The Cardinals used a 12-play drive to move the ball deep into Tioga territory, but on fourth-and-1 at the Tioga 3, the Tiger defense came up with a big stop.

The remainder of the game was all Tioga.

The Tigers finished the game with 538 yards in total offense, including 529 rushing yards. Wood led the way with 299 yards and five TDs on 18 carries, while Gavin Godfrey added 94 yards on eight carries, Osumane Duncanson added 81 yards and one TD on just two carries, and Drew Macumber chipped in with 47 yards and one TD on just six carries.

“We thought we had the defensive pieces in place … we learned a little bit about ourselves tonight,” said Mertson. “We hope to shape that up over the next few weeks, and hopefully we’ll see them again in the playoffs.”

Tioga took over at its own 3 following the fourth-down stop, and drove 97 yards on 10 plays. Wood, who had seven carries for 50 yards in the drive, capped the possession with a 1-yard TD run with 40.6 seconds remaining in the half to make it 13-0. Godfrey had runs of 17 and 23 yards on the drive.

Tioga opened the second half with a three-play, 65-yard drive to make it 19-0. Godfrey opened the possession with a 36-yard run, and Wood capped it with a 32-yard TD run with 10:29 left in the third quarter.

The Cardinals again moved the ball deep into Tioga territory, turning the ball over on downs at the Tiger 20.

On the first play, Wood ripped off an 80-yard TD run FIsher’s PAT kick made it 26-0 with 4:38 left in the third quarter.

Moments later, Max Flesher returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a score to put the Cardinals on the board. Wandell’s PAT kick cut the deficit to 26-7.

The Tigers recovered the ensuing onside kickoff, and quickly answered Newark Valley’s score with one of their own — driving 55 yards on eight plays, capped by a 17-yard TD run by Wood to make it 33-7 with 3.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Newark Valley’s next possession ended when Tioga’s Drew Macumber picked off a Wandell pass at the Tiger 32.

Duncanson broke free on a counter trap for a 68-yard TD run to make it 39-7 with 9:50 remaining in the game.

Newark Valley finished off a drive on its next possession when Luke Rinkavaage scored on a 5-yard run with 4:50 remaining to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive. Wandell’s run on the conversion trimmed the deficit to 37-15.

Tioga tacked on a TD on a 9-yard TD run by Macumber with 1:00 remaining.

The Cardinals ran for 205 yards in the game on 49 carries. Wandell led NV with 78 yards on 20 carries, while Spoonhower had 60 yards on nine carries, Max Flesher added 34 yards on 11 carries, and Rinkavage chipped in with 25 yards and one TD on six carries.

Wandell completed 6 of 19 passes for 90 yards, and was intercepted once. Spoonhower led the Cardinals with four receptions for 73 yards and Joe Sherwood added two grabs for 17 yards.

Newark Valley, now 3-2, returns to action next Saturday at Delhi, while Tioga, 5-0, hosts Harpursville-Afton.


IN PHOTO 1: Newark Valley’s Mikey Wandell. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.