Tigers improve to 5-0 despite several miscues

It’s no secret that Shadyside hadn’t been tested in its first four games.

Friday night at Fleming Field, the state-ranked Tigers found themselves locked in a scoreless battle with small school rival Linsly at the half.

And to complicate matters a little more, head coach Mark Holenka and offensive coordinator Mark Bonar spent much of the halftime break involved with their daughters during Homecoming 2012 in Tiger Town.

No problem.

Shadyside (5-0) scored on all three of its second-half possessions on its way to a 17-3 decision over the Cadets (2-3).

“It’s a great credit to these young men that they faced that adversity and they didn’t keep their heads tucked down between their legs,” Holenka said. “You can either tuck your tail or come out in the second half and give it all you’ve got.

“We knew we were moving the ball in the first half. We knew what we could do. We just had to come out and execute. Mistakes put us behind the 8-ball in the first half, but we overcame it.”

Shadyside shot itself in the foot twice in the first half with fumbles deep in Linsly territory, but the Tigers’ defense kept hard-running Chinelo Oparanozie under wraps for the most part.

The Tigers took the second-half kickoff and marched 80 yards on eight plays. A 21-yard hookup from senior quarterback Chase Kinemond to classmate Ian Baker moved the ball over the midfield stripe, and five plays later, Kinemond struck again.

After play-faking into the line, he rolled to his right. The strong-armed, athletic Kinemond lasered a strike to Cody Hudson at the seven. The senior turned and dove across the goalline to snap the scoreless drought at the 8:07 mark. Hudson then changed shoes before splitting the uprights with the PAT for a 7-0 reading.

The Cadets picked up a pair of first downs on their first possession of the second half, but on a 3rd-and-seven from the Shadyside 32, the snap from center sailed past quarterback Jibri Blount. The Tigers’ Eric Howell finally pounced on it at the Cadets’ 48.

Brooks Ramsey picked up 14 yards on first down, and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty against the visitors pushed the ball to the 19. The hosts moved to the nine where they had 1st-and-goal, but two keepers by Kinemond resulted in minus seven yards. A third-down pass in the end zone was dropped, forcing a field goal attempt.

Hudson was perfect from 32 yards out, making it 10-0 with 38.6 seconds remaining in the third frame.

Linsly refused to quit and drove inside Shadyside territory early in the fourth quarter. The Cadets had made it to the Tigers’ 26 before the march stalled out.

Ranier Whiteside kept Linsly from being shut out when he connected on a 43-yard field goal that would’ve been good from at least 50. It capped a 10-play, 50-yard drive.

Shadyside answered right back with another 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive as Chris Littell bulled his way over from two yards out. Hudson capped his outstanding evening with the extra-point. The drive took 5:48 off the clock.

“We made our fair share of mistakes. Take nothing away from them (Shadyside) because they made their fair share in the first half, as well,” Linsly head coach B.J. Depew lamented. “They were able to get it together at a critical time, and we kind of came unglued and made some mistakes.

“They’re an excellent football team. The credit goes to the way their kids played all night.”

Kinemond led the Tigers with 238 yards of total offense, of which 151 came via the ground on 15 carries. He had a 51-yard jaunt that set up the final touchdown. Through the air, he was 6-for-10 for 87 yards and the aforementioned TD.

Shadyside amassed 275 infantry yards as Ramsey added 89 on 17 totes. Austin Dorris grabbed half of Kinemond’s completions for 24 yards, while Hudson hauled in two for 42.

Oparanozie ran the ball 28 times for 153 yards, but three other ballcarriers accounted for minus 33 yards on half-a-dozen carries. Blount was 9 of 17 for 46 yards and an interception, which Kinemond came up with.

“We know we’re going to get a good effort from Chinelo, but we also know that we have to get some other offense from other players,” Depew added. “It can’t be all him.”

The Tigers moved the chains six more times at 18-12. They lost two of their three fumbles and were penalized three times for 25 yards. The Cadets recovered one of their two fumbles, but were flagged seven times for 63 stripes.

“To hold them to zero points offensively, that’s a heck of an effort by our defense,” Holenka praised. “They’ve been working hard each week. The Oparanozie kid is just one or two steps from breaking a long one each time he touches the ball, but we kept him bottled up for the most part.”

Karli Bonar was voted the Shadyside Homecoming Queen during halftime festivities.

Shadyside takes back to the road next week as it travels to Beallsville Friday. Linsly hosts Bishop Ready a week from today.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com