Dunmyre, Karns City capture 11th district championship, advance to PIAA tournament
It’s not time yet for Christmas carols, but Karns City running back Collin Dunmyre did his share of dashing through the snow.
Dunmyre ran for 202 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries Friday to lead Karns City to its third consecutive District 9 Class AA title by beating St. Marys, 49-12, under light but steady snowfall at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium.
Dunmyre, a junior running back, scored on runs of 28, 82, 31 and 32 yards to propel the Gremlins (10-1) to their 11th district title and another appearance in the PIAA Class AA tournament.
“When I’m doing that good, pretty much it means our line is getting it done,” Dunmyre said. “I can make a couple of moves here and there, but without them, I’m not doing anything.”
Karns City will face District 5 champ Chestnut Ridge (10-2), a 17-14 winner over Bedford, for the third straight year in the PIAA first round next week at a time and site to be determined.
The Gremlins came into the district final with some key offensive weapons sidelined because of injuries. Quarterback Cody Deal and receiver Tyler Dunn did not play, and running back Tristan Rhoades was in uniform for emergency use but also did not play.
That didn’t slow down the Karns City running game, which also got 64 yards from senior fullback Christian Turner as part of a 332-yard night on the ground.
“Whoever’s out there has to step it up. It’s what you have to do, or you’re not going to win a playoff game,” Dunmyre said, “and we did that.”
Karns City scored first on a 16-yard option keeper by quarterback Caleb King, and Jimmy Thompson added a 2-point conversion run.
St. Marys (8-4), which lost to Karns City, 42-0, in the regular season, battled back with a 10-play drive that ended on a 22-yard pass from Pat Schlimm to Brady Bauer, and the first quarter ended with the Gremlins ahead 8-6.
“St. Marys played hard, and they were physical like I thought they’d be,” Karns City coach Ed Conto said. “They made us work, and I don’t think we played real clean tonight. I thought we were a little sloppy, but we got it done.”
The Flying Dutch moved the ball thanks to workhorse junior back T.J. Hogan, who finished with 159 yards on 37 carries.
But what they lacked was a big-play threat, which Dunmyre provided for Karns City.
Dunmyre’s 82-yard scoring run, which came after St. Marys had another strong drive halted by an offensive pass interference call, made the halftime score 21-6.
After the break, Karns City came out strong on defense. St. Marys’ first three possessions ended with a sack by Turner forcing a punt, an interception by Colt Beham and a fumble recovery by Chandler Turner.
The Gremlins scored on three of their first four possession of the third quarter to extend the lead to 41-6 and put the game into a running-clock situation.
“A lot of time, when you come out from halftime with a lead, you come out soft, then the other team scores and gets some momentum,” Conto said. “We didn’t let that happen, and then, we started rolling.”
Logan Moroney had the only pass reception or the Gremlins on an 11-yard touchdown catch, and backup quarterback Cullen Williams’ 19-yard run wrapped up the scoring for Karns City.
Nathan Straub had a 9-yard touchdown run late for St. Marys, which had its highest win total for a season since 1969 despite having just three senior starters.
Karns City turns its attention to a Chestnut Ridge team it has beaten each of the past two season.
“It’s great to get this win. If we didn’t get this, the season was a failure,” Dunmyre said. “Now we’ve got next week against a tough team, and we’re going to keep training for the ultimate goal: a state championship.”