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Dragons overthrow Trojans

Written by: on Monday, October 22nd, 2018

 

Purchase Line freshman cornerback Brady Syster (26) tackles Saltsburg’s sophomore quarterback Gino Bartolini (8) during their matchup October 19. ABIGAIL GONCHER PHOTO

 

The Purchase Line Red Dragons celebrated their Senior Night, October 19, at Barry T. Madill field. The Dragons came out firing on all cylinders and defeated the Saltsburg Trojans, 56-22. The three seniors Quinn Scalese, Cameron Yoder, and Kaleb Yarger, proudly walked off of their home field for the last time. Senior lineman Quinn Scalese said, “It was a very bittersweet moment in my life to have the opportunity to win my last home game with my football brothers and coaches.”

The Dragons received the ball first, and on only the fifth play, sophomore runningback Joshua Syster ran the ball down the field for a 26-yard touchdown. The Dragons already had the advantage two minutes and nine seconds into the first quarter, 6-0. Eleven seconds later, Saltsburg’s Josh Gibbons threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Cindric. Saltsburg was also able to convert the 2-point conversion, leaving a score of 8-6. Junior fullback Cullen Goncher, then took control, scoring on the Dragons’ next two drives, with a 3-yard touchdown and a one-yard burst. Goncher said, “It feels good to get a ‘W’ but we have got to keep our focus and carry into next week and get another one.”

Saltsburg responded to a good first quarter for Purchase Line with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Gibbons to Nathan Slapinski. Once again, Saltsburg converted, putting Saltsburg only two points away from Purchase Line, 18-16. Right before the end of the first, Barnett had a one-yard burst, and Syster followed up with a two-point conversion, leaving the Dragons in a good position at the end of the half, 26-16.

In the third quarter, neither team was able to score. Both defenses held the opposite offense well, and kept each other from capitalizing on their carries. The third quarter ended with the same score of 26-16, and Purchase Line at the twenty-nine-yard line. Purchase Line’s defense was showing the aggression that the team has been waiting for.

Eleven seconds into the fourth quarter, Syster was able to take a handoff from Barnett, and sprint down to the endzone for a 29-yard touchdown. Senior runningback Cameron Yoder was successful in a two-point conversion, and the score became 34-16. Saltsburg was determined to get themselves back into this game. The Trojans were having little success in getting passed the Dragons’ line, so the only way they were going to succeed, was to pass. Gibbons threw a 62-yard pass to Cindric, in which he ran all the way to the endzone. Purchase Line held Saltsburg’s offense for the unsuccessful conversion, and the score was raised 34-22. The game was quickly taken away from Saltsburg when Goncher took a handoff and rumbled for a 30-yard touchdown run. Yoder successfully ran the ball in for the conversion and Purchase Line’s lead grew, 42-22. For the rest of the fourth quarter, the ball went to both teams’ numerous times, but neither of them could score. That was until Syster was able to make it through the line and score a 19-yard touchdown, with only one minute and forty seconds remaining in the game. Freshman Brock Lloyd then kicked for an extra point, which was Purchase Line’s first successful kick all season. Saltsburg only had one more chance to increase their score, but after a strip sack from Goncher the ball bounced to Barnett and he sprinted down the field. This was the Dragons’ second defensive touchdown of the year.  Time ran out, just as Barnett reached the endzone. Now it was Yoder’s turn to kick the extra point, and he succeeded. The Dragons exploded with the joyful cheer of their victory over the Trojans, 56-22. “Finishing strong,” said senior lineman Kaleb Yarger, “that was our goal.”

Yoder said, “Friday’s game was the night we really showed what we are capable of. Our line made big holes allowing us to carry the ball 7-12 yards almost every play with our backs running hard. Our defense did great stopping runs, getting sacks, and covering most passes. We finally worked as a team and held our mistakes to a minimum, which took us to a great win.” Purchase Line finished the game with two running backs over 100 yards rushing, one eclipsing the 200-yard mark. The defense sacked Gibbons eight times and were physical all night. This was a total team effort from the Red Dragons.

Head Coach Matthew Falisec said, “I am proud of how the kids responded after the loss to United. We took a step forward and this is a game we can build off of. The defense played a great game with constant pressure all night. The offensive line was creating huge holes and the backs ran great.  This was a great way to end our home season for 2018. I would like to thank the seniors for their dedication to the program and I wish them all the best in their next endeavor.”

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