JOHNSTOWN — Coming into Thursday’s crossover contest with Granville/Whitehall, Johnstown junior running back Ryan Hoyt had the opportunity to write his name in the school’s record book.
Hoyt did just that, setting four records in a 21-20 victory at Knox Field.
“I didn’t really know about the records until the last couple of games,” Hoyt said. “I give credit to my line because I could have done any of it without them. The records are nice, but my focus is on trying to win games and finish the season strong.”
Hoyt had 193 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries for the Sir Bills.
The performance pushed Hoyt’s season total to 1,386 yards, which broke the previous single-season record set by Chris Velicky in 1999. Hoyt also set school marks for single-season yards per carry (9.3) and single-season yards per game (154).
“Ryan is the type of player who is special,” Johnstown coach Paul Furman said. “He’s always rooting for the team. For him to get these kinds of individual records along the way is great.”
Hoyt broke the single-season yards per carry record of 8.1 yards, which was set by Jim Cleary in 1979. The single-season yards per game record of 143.6 was held by Joe Wager, who set the mark in 1972.
In addition to the single-season records, Hoyt also added another to his total.
With his 98-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Hoyt also set a record for longest touchdown run.
Hoyt also scored the Sir Bills’ final touchdown of the night on a 15-yard run in the third quarter. It was his 11th touchdown run of the season.
“Ryan is just a dynamic, electric player,” Furman said. “He’s the kind of player that can put a team on his back and he definitely did that tonight. He just makes plays.”
Granville/Whitehall got a 274-yard, two-touchdown effort on 31 carries from Matthew Barlow, while Troy Austin added 41 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
Granville/Whitehall piled up 324 yards on the ground, but had several drives stall out inside the Johnstown 20-yard line.
“We just couldn’t finish,” Granville/Whitehall coach Darin Eggleston said. “We moved the ball well, but once we got inside the 20, we couldn’t punch it in.”
For the Johnstown defense, stopping the opposition deep in its territory was something it became familiar with this season.
“Our defense has bent, but didn’t break all season. It’s been their motto,” Furman said. “They did a good job for us again tonight.”
Granville/Whitehall got out of the gates quickly, going 80 yards in five plays before Austin scored on a 3-yard run with 9:24 left in the first quarter to make it 6-0.
“These games are tough to get fired up for sometimes,” Furman said. “We definitely came out a little slow tonight.”
Austin’s touchdown accounted for the only points of the first quarter.
Hoyt put Johnstown on the board with 4:45 left in the first half with his 98-yard touchdown run. Braden Jones added the extra point to give the Sir Bills a 7-6 lead.
Johnstown extended its lead on its next possession when Brandon Frank scored on a 59-yard touchdown pass, breaking several tackles along the Sir Bills’ sideline on his way to the end zone to make it 13-6.
Granville/Whitehall answered with a four-play, 36-yard drive that was set up by a 41-yard kickoff return by Nick Crum. Barlow capped the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. Chad Monty added the conversion run to give Granville/Whitehall a 14-13 lead with 43.6 seconds left in the first half.
On its first possession of the second half, Granville/Whitehall scored on a eight-play, 47-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Barlow. The conversion pass was incomplete, leaving the score 20-13 with 7:11 left in the third quarter.
Hoyt took the ensuing kickoff 71 yards to the Granville/Whitehall 15-yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage, Hoyt scored from 15 yards out to pull Johnstown to within 20-19. Braden Jones scored on the conversion pass from Jack Miller to make it 21-20 with 6:49 left in the third quarter.
Hoyt’s touchdown was the final score for either side as the Sir Bills hung on for the win.
“We had a couple of tough losses in our last couple games and missed out on sectionals,” Hoyt said. “That was one of our goals for the season, but we wanted to finish the season strong.”
Johnstown, which had lost its previous three games, finished the season with a 4-5 overall record.
“It feels great for these boys. It’s nice to finish the season with a win after we lost a few close ones,” Furman said. “We’ve got a lot of juniors and sophomores coming back. We’re losing some key seniors for sure, but we can have a special season next year if we put in the work in the offseason.”
In its first season as a merged program between longtime rivals, Granville/Whitehall finished the season with a 3-7 overall record.
“This was such a great group of guys, and it was fun to get to know them all,” Eggleston said. “It felt like a football family.”
- Granville/Whitehall 6 8 6 0 — 20
- Johnstown 0 13 8 0 — 21
- G/W — Austin 3 run (kick blocked)
- J — Hoyt 98 run (Jones kick)
- J — Frank 59 pass from Miller (kick failed)
- G/W — Barlow 9 run (Monty run)
- G/W — Barlow 3 run (pass failed)
- J — Hoyt 15 run (Jones pass from Miller)