Mars overcomes miscues, tops Moon, 23-13

September 5, 2018 Cranberry Local Sports

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Mars quarterback Tyler Kowalkowski tries to break free from Moon's Brady Sunday in a non-conference football game at the Mars Athletic Complex on Friday. The Planets defeated the Tigers, 23-13.

ADAMS TWP — Having two punts blocked and allowing five turnovers do not comprise a recipe for victory.

Garrett Reinke and a staunch defense do.

For Mars, the latter trumped the former in a 23-13 non-conference football victory over Moon Friday night at the Mars Athletic Complex.

“I don't know why we're making the mistakes we're making. We've got to clean things up,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer.

“But 2-0 is 2-0. We'll take it.”

Both of Moon's scores came as a result of the blocked punts. Matt Owczarzak covered the first one in the end zone with 5:04 left in the first half, enabling the Tigers to knot the score at 7.

A 31-yard field goal by Blake Edwards gave the Planets a 10-7 lead two seconds before halftime. Those points came as a result of a shanked Moon punt that sailed out of bounds at the Tigers' 14-yard line.

Reinke touchdown runs of 35 and 24 yards in the second half extended the Planet lead to 23-7 before Moon blocked another punt — this one onside the Mars 30 — with 2:53 to play.

Moon scored a quick touchdown, but the Tigers' two-point conversion attempt failed, as did their ensuing onsides kick, and Mars was able to run out the clock.

“Our defense played a solid game tonight. It's the offensive side of the ball where we need the work,” Moon coach Ryan Linn said. “When you block two punts and force five turnovers, you should win the game.”

Not on this night.

On third-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 1:32 left in the first half, Reinke fumbled the ball and lineman Brenan Luffey covered it for Moon.

“Yeah, that bothered me,” Reinke said. “But you just have to forget about it, put it out of your mind and move on to the next play.”

Reinke wound up with 25 carries for 210 yards and the two touchdowns. He had 169 yards in the second half.

Heinauer had no problem giving his senior standout the ball despite four lost fumbles in the season's first two games.

“He's our best guy and you give your best guy the ball,” Heinauer said. “Sometimes Garrett spends too much time lookng for the hole. He just has to take the ball, cut and go.

“He's fast. They're not gonna catch him. I thought he ran a lot more aggressiv ely in the second half.”

Mars' defense was as much the story as Reinke's running. The Planets produced four takeaways in their own right.

Tyler Kowalkowski recovered a fumble that thwarted a Moon scoring threat in the first quarter. Drew Schlegel, Tom Sheehy and Chuck Green intercepted passes.

Moon (1-1) threw for only 35 yards in the game.

Other big plays for the Planets were a 38-yard pass from running back Teddy Ruffner to Sheehy and a 63-yard kick return by Green.

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