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Purchase Line falls short in overtime

Written by: on Monday, October 8th, 2018


Purchase Line defensive end Andre Wray (57) brings down Penns Manor halfback Tommy Hamilton (1) during the 6-overtime battle between the rival schools. TAMMY SCHMITTLE PHOTO


The Penns Manor Comets and the Purchase Line Red Dragons met in yet another backyard brawl Friday, October 5, 2018. The Dragons were returning home from a loss against the Ligonier Valley Rams. Unfortunately, for Purchase Line, the Dragons fell short in a game that lasted over three and a half hours, and had six overtime segments, with a final score of 42-36.  “We fought hard and gave it our all,” stated junior lineman Giovanni Scott. “We just made a few mistakes at crucial times. We should have won.” Although the score makes the game sound usual, Purchase Line and Penns Manor’s time on the field was far from it.

The first half was a defensive battle.  Both teams were struggling to get any movement into the opponent’s territory.  The best scoring chance of the first half came when Purchase Line drove deep into Comet territory as time was running out in the second quarter. A costly penalty moved the Dragons back and time expired in the first half.  As both teams went to the locker rooms, the score board read 0-0.

After the half, it was almost like two new teams on the field. The Dragons were forced to punt the ball, which led to the Comets driving their way down the field to the 2-yard line, and that’s when Penns Manor’s Matt Somogyi scored the first touchdown, making the score 8-0. Shortly after, the Dragons ran an option play that junior quarterback Jacob Barnett took advantage of. Barnett ran down the field and scored a 64-yard touchdown, and the first one of the night for Purchase Line. Barnett stated, “The line blocked it well and made it an easy read. I just had to get past some secondary players, and then took off.” Then, sophomore runningback Joshua Syster followed up with a successful two-point conversion. After the Comets got the ball back, Purchase Line made a stop, but was penalized for roughing the punter. The Comets, once again, began to grind down the field, and Purchase Line was unable to stop them. Somogyi struck again with a 3-yard run into the endzone. At the end of the third quarter the score became 14-8, Comets.

The fourth quarter was very important for the Dragons. They needed another touchdown to tie the game. Even so, the Comets continued to have defensive success, and kept the Dragons from the endzone. The Dragons’ defense was also blocking the endzone, and was able to keep Penns Manor from scoring another touchdown. Just before time in the game was running out, junior fullback Cullen Goncher, ran the ball four yards into the endzone, tying up the game, 14-14.  Goncher’s touchdown came with only 16 seconds remaining in the game.  The 2 point try by Barnett fell short setting the stage for a very exciting overtime period.

The first five overtimes were played evenly. When one team scored a touchdown, the other team followed up with one, too, as well as two-point conversions, and holding the offense of each team. The score became 36-36. The fifth overtime was when things started to get chaotic. The Red Dragons were only a few yards away from the endzone and Syster ran the ball in, scoring a touchdown. Immediately after, the officials called it back due to an illegal block in the back. The crowd erupted with anger because they thought the game was won. The game continued on to the sixth overtime. The Dragons were first to go on offense, after three downs, they were unable to reach the endzone. The Dragons now looked to air it out on their fourth down.  Barnett threw the ball to Syster, who was unable to make a play on the ball, giving the Comets a chance to win if they could score. After stopping the Comets on their first three downs the Dragons were looking to the fourth. The Comets went to the air and Tommy Hamilton brought the ball in on a four-yard quick slant giving the Comets the win 42-36.

Goncher said, “The game was long but we fought the whole time. I couldn’t be prouder of my team. It’s sad we couldn’t come out with the “W,” but we’ll get after it next week.” Goncher scored all of Purchase Line’s touchdowns in overtime.

Head Coach Matthew Falisec said, “After battling for six overtimes, it was a really tough one to lose. But, I’m proud of the kids, they battled to the very end.”

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