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.
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 (15). It's unfortunate the season had to end like this.”