MOGADORE — Mogadore backup quarterback Kody Jaber took a knee and the clock ran out. It was an end to the Pymatuning Valley football team’s playoff journey.
The Wildcats beat PV 32-14 on Saturday in a Division VI Region 21 quarterfinal.
The Lakers (7-1) had trouble against Mogadore’s running game. The Wildcats (6-1) compiled over 200 yards rushing in the first half. The Lakers, who were used to running all over opponents, allowed 320 yards rushing on 46 attempts. Four of Modagore’s five touchdowns came via the run game.
Tyler Knight led the Wildcats with 15 carries for 135 yards and three touchdowns, and Nick Skye also ran for 133 yards on 17 attempts. Both running backs went over 100 yards before halftime.
“It’s tough, but you just gotta try to match their physicality,” senior Mason Inman said.
The scoreboard didn’t tell the whole story. Pymatuning Valley hung in with the Wildcats for most of the game, but the Lakers’ offense had trouble finding its rhythm.
Mogadore jumped out to a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. But PV quarterback Tyler Bean found Robert Verba for an 8-yard touchdown pass in the second. But the offense went cold from there, and Knight scored his third touchdown to push it to a two-possession game.
PV committed five turnovers -- two fumbles and three interceptions -- that prevented the Northeast Athletic Conference champs from keeping pace. And with the Lakers trailing 20-6, three penalties killed a drive that started in Mogadore territory before the half.
"Our guys never quit, and we played a tough team there,” Pymatuning Valley head coach Neal Croston said. “Hats off to those guys over there. I’m proud of our guys for what they did so far this year and they came out and competed.”
Injuries also started to pile up on the Lakers’ bench in the third quarter.
Jonah Wilkerson took over at quarterback for PV after Bean left the game in the third quarter with an injury. Croston said he didn’t feel comfortable having his quarterback return to the game.
Wilkerson ran for a team-high 78 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts. He finished 2-of-9 passing for 21 yards and two interceptions. Bean was 3 of 6 from the field with 13 yards with an 8-yard touchdown to Robert Verba and threw an interception. Bean also ran for 36 yards on 10 attempts.
“It was tough going in with Bean going down with stuff, but we didn’t give up ‘til the end,” Wilkerson said. “We fought hard the whole game.” It was a fun ride for players like Inman. The team got a chance to make it to the quarterfinals -- the first round in a normal season. That proves the Lakers belonged in the playoff conversation.
“Not happy with the outcome today, but happy to get here, happy to be here against a team like Mogadore. Twenty something straight playoff appearances. That’s crazy,” Inman said.M
Mogadore advances to play New Middletown Springfield on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Lakers still have a season finale to play. Pymatuning Valley has a road game against Edgewood on the schedule.
“Once we get around to looking at Edgewood or whoever, we’ll do it,” Croston said. “Our seniors have done that week in and week out. I know they’ll be focused when we need ‘em to be.”