For the third straight year, the Mount Joy Cyclones have completed an undefeated season and won the Great Eastern Football Association championship. The team beat the Moshannon Valley Vikings 62-48 in the Keystone Bowl at Memorial Field in Philipsburg on Saturday, June 30. The Cyclones have won four of the last five GEFA titles, with their last loss coming in the 2015 Keystone Bowl to the Dubois Area Mountain Lions.
After both defenses forced stops on fourth down to begin the game, the Vikings struck first when quarterback Billy Thompson found wideout Sean Steave on a screen pass for a touchdown. Cyclones defender Dakotah Lightfoot sacked Thompson on the ensuing point-after try to keep the score at 6-0.
The Cyclones drove inside the Vikings 10-yard line on the next series, though they were stopped when Tyler Osterhout picked off a Greg Medina pass in the end zone. However, Ivan Rivera got an interception of his own to give the Cyclones the ball back four plays later, which led to a touchdown pass from Medina to Michael Stum. Median found Stum again on the point-after to give the Cyclones an 8-6 advantage.
It didn’t take the Vikings long to respond. Thompson tossed a bomb up to Steave for a deep touchdown pass shortly after the next drive began. The Cyclones once again got a sack on the point-after try, this time from defensive lineman James Buckner, to keep the score close at 12-8. However, the Vikings would get a turnover on downs on the following series, leading to a Malik Breon touchdown off a pass from quarterback Shane Scott. The Vikings got four point-after tries due to penalties, but the Cyclones finally stopped them on a fullback run from Stevie Eisenhuth.
Medina found Stum, who made a nice tiptoe catch to stay in bounds, for another touchdown on the next drive. Slot receiver Jonathan Hulyo caught the point-after pass from Medina to put the score at 18-16. Steave caught yet another long ball on the first play of the next series to extend the Vikings lead to 24-16, with Scott throwing an incomplete pass on the point-after.
The Cyclones finally tied the game at 24-all when Median found tight end Matthew Tavarez wide-open for a touchdown and again on an end zone fade. The Vikings punted on the next series, giving the Cyclones a chance to take the lead before halftime. They succeeded, as Medina threw to Stum again for the TD and the point-after, putting the score at 32-24.
Tyler Fink got an interception on a forced pass from Scott on the following drive, though the Cyclones then turned the ball over on downs. Scott redeemed himself somewhat by finding Breon on a screen pass to give the Vikings a TD before the break, though they failed to convert the point-after again due to a combined sack from Buckner and Ray Smith-Chant, leaving the score at 32-30 in favor of the Cyclones.
With the ball to start the second half, Medina threw another TD pass to Stum, who caught a nice back-shoulder throw, and got him again on the point-after to put the score at 40-30. Scott threw a high arcing pass to Steave for a Vikings score on the next series. Running back TJ Judene was stuffed on the point-after, however.
Medina took off on a scramble to score the first touchdown on the ground for the game, finding Jason Nyhart on the point-after to put the score at 48-36. Ronald Luckenbill then picked off Scott to give the Cyclones the ball again. Medina found the end zone again on a QB keeper and threw to Stum for the point-after.
Breon made a circus catch in the front of the end zone late in the third quarter for the Vikings, with Fink forcing a pass breakup on the point-after to keep the score at 56-42. Medina got his third rushing TD of the night on a draw play to open up the final period for the Cyclones, who finally missed on a point-after when Stum came down out of bounds in the back of the end zone.
The Vikings’ comeback attempt fell short on the next drive as Scott had tossed his third pick of the night to Dajone Fairell, who lateralled the ball to Ivan Rivera on the return for a TD. The two teams traded the ball back and forth for the rest of the game, with the Cyclones draining the clock and the Vikings failing to convert multiple fourth downs.
Finishing with more than 2,000 passing yards on the season, Medina earned the MVP award for both the Keystone Bowl and the Valley Division. Offensive lineman Ryan Contento was awarded the “Big Ugly” of the year as the division’s top blocker, while head coach Brett Melhorn was named coach of the year as well.