BEAVER FALLS, Pa. - If you look at the key numbers that usually lead teams to lose, Ohio should have had no chance late in the game against Pennsylvania in Friday's 34th annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic at Geneva College.
The Buckeyes had five turnovers and committed 10 penalties for 115 yards, but just had to stop Pennsylvania on a fourth-and-1 from the Pennsylvania 20 with 1:50 to go to possibly steal a win.
Instead, Pennsylvania quarterback Caleb Jakiel drew the Ohio line offsides and that was all she wrote in a 25-22 win for the Keystoners.
Blackhawk's Alex Caratelli stole the show for the Keystoners as he hauled in six passes for 126 yards and three first half touchdowns to claim MVP honors. Caratelli, who will play at Robert Morris in the fall, is Beaver County's all-time leading single-season pass catcher with 71 last season.
"Ohio's defensive backs made adjustments in the second half," Caratelli said. "I had a harder time getting open. They were definitely good defenders."
Ohio's MVP honors went to Crestview's Nick Blower, who rushed 14 times for 77 yards and a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He also caught four passes for 31 yards.
"It's an honor to get the MVP," Crestview's all-time leading rusher said. "I was so excited. It was a great experience. It just came down to a couple of bad plays, but hey that's life."
Pennsylvania, who leads the series 24-10, put the Buckeyes in the hole early with two Caratelli touchdown receptions in the first quarter. The second one was set up by Luke Griffith's first of two interceptions. The Southern Local graduate, who played the entire game under center, struggled under intense defensive pressure and completed eight of 18 passes for 149 yards. He was sacked four times and lost a fumble.
Ohio had a chance to go into the half down 19-7, but Steubenville's Tajuan Lawson fumbled a punt return at the Ohio 10 leading to Caratelli's third touchdown and a 25-7 Keystoner advantage at the break.
Columbiana's Britton Steiginga ignited the Buckeyes in the second half as he stripped Beau Ewing and raced 70 yards to make it 25-15 with 1:40 left in the third.
Pennsylvania's offense sputtered the rest of the way and the Buckeyes found themselves in great position after South Range's Robby Seman caught a 71-yard touchdown from Griffith with 3:33 left in the game.
Seman had three catches for 106 yards.
"Luke asked me if I wanted the ball before the play and I told him absolutely," Seman said.
That drive almost stalled out completely earlier as the Buckeyes, coached by Southern's Mike Skrinjar, were called for a sideline infraction. Seman's catch more than saved it.
"The refs weren't on our side tonight," Seman said.
Everything was in place for the Buckeyes to sting the home side in the end, but the offside penalty brought it to a crashing halt.
"I really thought they wouldn't fall for it," Caratelli said. "Their coach was out there warning them. I personally didn't think it would work, but (quarterback Caleb Jakiel) did a great job."
Even though scattered thunderstorms were around the region, the weather held out for a relatively clear night at Geneva College. Last year's game at Springfield Local High School was delayed by 90 minutes because of storms.
Crestview's Kaleb Baker led Ohio with 10 tackles.
Crestview's Dylann Douglass and Steubneville's Tajuan Lawson had the defensive play of the game when they stopped Beaver Falls' Rob Bell on a fourth and 1 at the Ohio 1 with 10:10 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Quad County Football Coaches Association awarded four $500 scholarships to recent graduates Zak Leko of Lisbon, Brandon Dattilio of Leetonia, Cole Krumpak of South Range and Joe Johnson of Springfield.
West Branch's Zach Ruggles was presented with Ohio's Enlightened Warrior Award at halftime.
Caratelli, the all-time Beaver County single season receptions leader with 71, was the Enlightened Warrior Award winner for Pennsylvania.
Blower is the fourth Crestview player to be named the Ohio MVP - joining Carter?Hill (2011), Jordan Reynolds (2006) and Chuck?Geiss (1989).
Geiss was the guest speaker at this year's Crestview graduation.
OHIO: 0- 7-8-7-22
P-Alex Caratelli 53 pass from Caleb Jakiel (John Rebich kick)
P-Caratelli 18 pass from Forest Petcovic(kick failed)
O-Nick Blower 1 run (Doug Maslowski kick)
P-Colton McKay 50 interception return (pass failed)
P-Caratelli 10 pass from Jakiel (kick failed)
O-Britton Steiginga 70 fumble recovery (Blower run)
O-Robby Seman 71 pass from Luke Griffith (Maslowski kick)
RUSHING-Ohio, Nick Blower (Crestview) 14-77, Zak Leko (Lisbon) 5-13; Penn, Kellen Mackey (New Brighton) 12-42, Rob Bell (Beaver Falls) 17-44.
PASSING-Ohio, Luke Griffith (Southern) 8-18-149-2; Penn, Caleb Jakiel 5-11-106-0 (Moon), Forest Petcovic(Freedom) 1-1-18-0, Devon Kelosky (Riverside) 1-1-7-0.
RECEIVING-Ohio, Blower 4-31, Robby Seman (South Range) 3-106, Penn, Alex Caratelli (Blackhawk) 6-126.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES-Ohio, Britton Steiginga (Columbiana); Penn, Zach Medved (West Allegheny), Jordan Diven (West Allegheny) 2-2.
INTERCEPTIONS-Penn, Colton McKay (Moon), Anthony Keriotis (Beaver).