MCMURRAY — Michael Carmody pounced on a fumble early in the first quarter which gave the Mars football team a chance to make Peters Township sweat.
But, after being set up at their opponent's 18-yard line, the Planets suffered a sequence which reflected how the final month of their season went.
Mars didn't capitalize on the opportunity — turning the ball over two plays later — and struggled to move the ball Friday night during a 47-6 WPIAL Class 5A road playoff loss to the fifth-seeded Indians.
“They're fast,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer said. “They deserve all the accolades. They are fast defensively and offensively. They do a good job.”
The Indians, who limit opponents to an average of fewer than nine points per game, were as advertised on defense. Peters Township (9-1) limited Mars to 94 yards of total offense, including 69 on the ground.
Most of the Planets' yards came on a 59-yard run by Teddy Ruffner late in the fourth quarter. Ruffner, who was limited to 75 yards on 11 carries, scored Mars' only touchdown with 9 minutes, 30 seconds remaining on a 12-yard run.
The Planets' most crushing offensive sequence came on their second possession. Mars had created the possession when Peters Township quarterback Logan Pfueffer fumbled after being hit and Carmody tracked it down.
Two plays later, Quinn Fuller was intercepted by Josh Casilli on the 4-yard line.
“You can't do those things like that against good football teams,” Heinauer said. “That's something that's happened all year long. That's something that's plagued us all year long.”
Peters Township coach T.J. Plack wasn't worried following the turnover.
The Indians' defense had faced many similar situations without folding during the season.
“I knew our defense was going to hold there,” T.J. Plack said. “Our guys are even keel. They are excited to win, but they know we are going to be in the office tomorrow morning watching this, making corrections.”
Casilli gave Peters Township its first lead on the game's opening possession. He hauled in a 61-yard touchdown pass from Pfeuffer on the fourth play of the game.
Following the interception, the Indians went on a nine-play, 96-yard drive that culminated with a 6-yard touchdown run by Ryan Magiske.
Magiske, who scored three touchdowns, finished with a game-high 130 rushing yards on 12 carries.
It was the start of an onslaught for Peters Township, which would score on its final four possessions of the half. Magiske had scoring runs of 21 and 2 yards, while Pfeuffer found Casilli for a 6-yard score with 17 seconds left in the half that put the Indians ahead 33-0.
Pfeuffer finished with a big night, completing 15 of 21 attempts for 302 yards and two sccores. Cassilli led the Indians with 131 yards on six catches.
Heinauer was proud of how Mars made a return to the playoffs.
The Planets just never found a way to take advantage of others' mistakes.
“That's the way the season has gone,” Heinauer said. “We were fortunate to make the playoffs for how many seasons in a row now. It's unfortunate the season had to end like this.”
Mars 0 0 0 6 — 6
Peters Twp. 12 21 7 7 — 47
PT — Josh Casilli 61 pass from Logan Pfeuffer (kick blocked), 9:20
PT — Ryan Magiske 6 run (kick failed), 3:14
PT — Magiske 21 run (Andrew Massucci kick), 9:18
PT — Magiske 2 run (Massucci kick), 5:55
PT — Josh Casilli 6 pass from Pfeuffer (Massucci kick), :17
PT — Anthony Williams 12 run (Massucci kick),.4:48
M — Teddy Ruffner 12 run (kick failed), 9:30
PT — Sam Miller 17 run (Massucci kick), 3:58
Rushing:Mars, Teddy Ruffner 12-75, Joe DeLuca 1-5, Carlos Orr 1-(-5), Nick Spotti 12-(-5). Peters Township, Ryan Mahiske 12-130, Adrian Williams 10-48, Sam Miller 1-17, Vincent Sirianni 1-2, Logan Pfeuffer 4-(-13).
Passing:Mars, Quinn Fuller 5-12-25-2. Peters Township, Logan Pfeuffer 15-21-302-0.
Receiving:Mars, Drew Schlegel 4-8, Joe DeLuca 1-8, Teddy Ruffner 1-6, Zach Schlegel 1-3. Peters Township, Josh Casillui 6-131, Anthony Carrington 4-83, Adrian Williams 2-59, Brenmdan McCullouigh 1-37, Lucas Culan 1-20, Donovan McMillan 1-8, Corban Hondru 1-3.