JOHNSTOWN - The Oak Hill Oaks had two costly miscues in the second half, leading to two of three unanswered touchdowns by Johnstown Monroe in Friday's 35-0 loss in the opening round of the Division V, Region 19 state playoffs.
The sixth-seeded Oaks (7-3), making the playoffs for the first time since 2013, were out of sync most of the evening against the third-seeded Johnnies (9-2).
Obviously, turnovers and penalties proved to be huge drive killers for the Oaks.
"That just what happens in football sometimes. It's one of those things we talked about as we started preparing for the game this week," said Oak Hill head coach Nathan Dugan. "In film, we saw other teams gain yards on them but teams weren't able to be consistent and that's a mark of a good defense.
"The penalty situation, that happens in football. A lot of times, especially in the playoffs, they tend to call things a little stricter, especially in the early quarters to set a tone."
The Oaks were held to a mere 66-yards rushing for the game and were limited to only eight-yards of total offense in the second half. They only crossed midfield three times, but never got past the Johnstown 42.
Dylan Lewis, in his first start at quarterback for the Oaks this season, completed 2 of 6 passes for 19 yards and was sacked four times for minus-10 yards. He completed 2 of 6 passes for 21 yards.
Lewis took over at quarterback after starter Caleb Johnson suffered a broken hand on Wednesday at practice.
"I don't even know what the odds would be on that. You have your starting quarterback break his wrist on a non-contact drill in practice and your backup quarterback (Colin Hughes) has a separated shoulder," said Dugan. "Dalton played quarterback last year but he hasn't taken any snaps this year.
"He had two days to prepare for the number three team in our region and I told him I was really proud of his effort. He worked his tail off to get into this position and with the shortened practice time to get ready for this game, I think he did an outstanding job."
Johnstown outgained the Oaks 390-87 in total offensive yards, but the big number for Oak Hill was three - as in fumbles - and minus-3 in the turnover margin, in which Johnstown converted into points.
The Johnnies capitalized on a second half turnover by the Oaks to extend their lead to a three score game, highlighted by Bryce Barasch's 5-yard touchdown run to give the Johnnies a 21-0 lead with 5:37 left in the third quarter.
Barasch ran for 196 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns for Johnstown, while quarterback Caden Calhoun added 109 yards rushing and a touchdown, coming on the Johnnies next drive to extend their lead with 3:07 left in the third quarter.
Following a three-and-out by the Oaks, Barasch took a hand-off on the first play for a one-yard gain before Calhoun went right on a keeper and sprinted 69-yards for the score for a 28-0 lead.
The Johnnies opened up a 35-0 lead after they forced an Oak Hill fumble that was recovered by Johnstown at the OH 35. On the second play, Luke Myers took it straight ahead for a 4-yard touchdown run with 2:17 to go in the third and forced a running clock for the remainder of the game.
There was a level of frustration by the Oaks in the fourth quarter, as they were flagged for three consecutive personal foul penalties. For the game, Oak Hill was penalized eight times for 75 yards, compared to Johnstown, who had eight penalties for 51 yards.
The Oaks trailed 13-0 at the half but Coach Dugan was optimistic coming out for the second half.
"Going in at halftime, we thought we had ideas of what we could do to exploit what they were doing on defense," he said. "We drew up a little different style of defense we were going to get into and we were able to hold them on downs on their opening drive in the third quarter.
"At that point, I thought we might be in pretty good shape, and then we have the turnover to give them the ball back on the short side of the field. Those (turnovers) are momentum killers."
In the first half, the Johnnies took control of the contest with a 6-play, 52-yard drive on their opening drive after the Oaks turned the ball over on downs to start the game. The key play was Meyers two-yard rush on a fourth-and-1 play to keep the drive alive.
Two plays later, Barasch capped the drive with a 30-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead with 8:24 left.
Then the Oaks were forced into a punting situation and Johnstown drove from their 27-yard line. The big play was a 42-yard run by Barasch on a second-and-11 at the 38-yard line, followed by a 13-yard run by Myers, who would cap the drive two-plays later with a two-yard touchdown run, giving the Johnnies a 13-0 lead.
It was the final curtain call for 14 Oak Hill seniors, but the playoff experience was a positive for many underclassmen returning next season.
"We had some juniors who stepped up and played really well tonight," Dugan said. "A kid that has just been there all year for us, Bailey Clutters, played outstanding on defense. We have younger guys who are seeing a lot of time on the field.
"We haven't been in the playoffs since 2013 and you need to have a group to break that ice. What this does for our freshmen and sophomores, is it gives us an extra week of reps in practice. The outlook toward next season is really positive."