Marauders fend off Trail, 11-7, in final seconds
Written by: Ed Weaver on Friday, November 29th, 2019
In a game that came down to the very final play, Bishop Guilfoyle held off Lackawanna Trail, 11-7, in the PIAA Class A semi-finals at Danville to advance to next week’s state championships.
With 1:55 remaining, and after a Guilfoyle punt, Lackawanna took over for the game’s final drive at their own 27. In their two-minute drill offense, QB Nico Berrios completed a pass to Jeffrey Resto on 2nd down to move the chains to the Trail 42. The Lions picked up 3 more 1st down on the drive, their final one with 22.4 seconds left on a Berrios pass to Miguel Ella down to the Guilfoyle 7.
What momentum Lackawanna Trail had ended their, however, as a false start penalty pushed them back to the 12 and allowed the Marauders’ defense to pin their ears back and attack. On 4th down with 2.4 seconds remaining, Guilfoyle attacked Berrios, dropping him for a big loss, to end Lackawanna Trail’s hopes of pulling off a come-from-behind victory.
“It says a lot about these kids,” Trail head coach Steve Jervis said. “They never stopped believing, they never stopped fighting, to be able to cover the length of the field in the two-minute drill to give ourselves a chance to win at the end. It just speaks volumes of these kids and their heart. I’m very proud of them and proud of what we were able to accomplish this year.”
“That is a really good football team,” said Guilfoyle head coach Justin Wheeler. “We knew it was going to be a battle, they gave us everything they could, and the game wasn’t decided until the very last play. You couldn’t ask for a better high school football game. I give those guys and those coaches a lot of credit, but I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and us hanging in their at the end.”
Early on the Lions controlled the line of scrimmage and ran off 10 minutes in the first quarter on game’s opening drive. The 18-play drive, that started from the Lions’ 20-yard line, featured Trail picking up 5 1st downs, 2 of them coming on 4th down, and ended on a 5-yard run by Ray Melnikoff, for an early 7-0 lead.
Later in the 2nd quarter, on the 1st half’s fourth possession, Guilfoyle mounted a scoring drive from their own 8-yard line. A 13-yard pass from Konner Kiesewetter to Keegan Myrick gave the Marauders a little breathing room, then on 3rd down Kiesewetter completed a pass to Ryan Negola into Trail territory at the 41. Another Kiesewetter pass, again to Myrick, moved Guilfoyle down to the 7, where Myrick would score on 4th and goal as time expired.
Guilfoyle trailed, 7-6, however, preventing Deven Wyandt’s extra point attempt on a bad snap.
“There was a couple things they were doing getting us out of position on defense that we wanted to make sure we cleaned up,” said Wheeler on his halftime adjustments. “Offensively there were a couple of kids we wanted to go away from and a couple we wanted to try and run the ball against but we told our guys to trust and believe. We’ve been down at halftime, or close, in the last five games. We knew we are a 2nd half team and we pulled it out again this afternoon.”
When the second half started Guilfoyle’s buckled down and forced 3 Lackawanna Trail turnovers. Two of those turnovers were interceptions by Myrick, the other a fumble by Melnikoff late in the 3rd quarter.
Following the Melnikoff fumble at the Guilfoyle 39, Myrick hit a seam and broke off a 60-yard run to the Trail 9 to setup a 1st and goal to begin the 4th quarter. Guilfoyle was unable to find the end zone, but settled for a Wyandt field goal to take a 9-7 lead with 10:24 remaining.
“In big games you want your best players to make big plays,” concluded Wheeler. “He [Myrick] is our best player, he’s been that way all year. He’s played defense for the first time in a while because he’s been battling some injuries but you see what kind of difference a kid like that can make.”
Guilfoyle will take on Farrell in the PIAA Class A championship game on Thursday, December 5 at Hersheypark Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m.
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