SIDMAN - Forest Hills sophomore quarterback Joe Donoughe returned to the lineup on Friday night after missing the last two games with an injury, and he made his presence felt in one of the most memorable contests of the year.
Donoughe rallied the Rangers from a 12-6 deficit in the final two minutes by leading a 78-yard drive and scoring on the final play of regulation to force overtime. He then fired the go-ahead touchdown pass in the extra session and ran in what proved to be the game-winning two-point conversion in a 20-18 thrilling triumph over visiting Penn Cambria.
"What an exciting game," Forest Hills coach Don Bailey said. "It was a great effort by our players, but you have to give credit to Penn Cambria's kids. They are a tough, well-coached team. We bent but didn't break, and we're happy to come out with the win."
Penn Cambria coach Ernie Fetzer declined to comment.
Forest Hills improved to 4-3 and stayed alive in the District 6-AA playoff chase.
Donoughe completed 12 of 22 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for a team-leading 33 yards and another score.
"Our quarterback did a great job," Bailey said.
Penn Cambria saw an early two-touchdown lead slip away despite controlling the ball for much of the second half and outgaining the Rangers, 290-226. The Panthers lost three fumbles and saw several drives stall in Forest Hills territory.
The Rangers fumbled the opening kickoff, and the Panthers (4-3) quickly capitalized. Tyler Janosik, who rushed for a game-high 135 yards on 31 carries, scored on a 2-yard run to put Penn Cambria up 6-0.
Following a Forest Hills three-and-out, the Panthers put together an 11-play, 53-yard drive that consumed nearly five minutes. Penn Cambria ground out five first downs, and on fourth-and-goal, Devin Lawhead took the snap out of the wildcat and found Mack Behe on a 4-yard touchdown pass that made it 12-0 with 2:45 left in the opening quarter.
The Rangers cut that deficit in half with 4:36 left in the second when Donoughe threw deep down the left sideline to Jared Shope, who outjumped a Panther defender and hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass.
That 12-6 margin held until the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. Penn Cambria took over with 6:46 left in regulation and was in a position to run out the clock after picking up a pair of first downs and forcing the Rangers to use all of their time outs. However, the Panthers' Justin Fuller was stopped short on fourth down at the Ranger 22 with 2:03 remaining.
Donoughe then hit Doltyn Snedden for a 13-yard gain, and Donoughe picked up another first down on a 16-yard catch from Shope on a reverse throwback.
Behe subsequently sacked Donoughe to force a third-and-16 from the Ranger 49, but some trickery from the veteran coach Bailey led to two big plays. The Rangers lined up in the "polecat" formation with the center, quarterback and two receivers on one side of the field and the rest of the line spread to the other side. Donoughe hit Tyler Shima for a 10-yard gain and then found Snedden on fourth down for a huge 34-yard catch-and-run to the Panther 7.
With time running out in the final seconds, a pass from Donoughe to Zack Pinkas was stopped just short of the end zone. However, Donoughe hustled the Rangers up to the line, got the snap off on the final play of regulation, and plunged in on a sneak to tie the contest at 12.
Derek Dumm lined up for a potential game-winning extra point, but his attempt was blocked, forcing the overtime session.
The Panthers won the coin toss, but chose to play defense. Forest Hills took possession, and on fourth-and-goal from the Penn Cambria 6, Donoughe drilled a 6-yard touchdown strike to Snedden. Donoughe then ran in the conversion to put the Rangers up 20-12.
Penn Cambria responded, as quarterback Brendan Eckenrode scored on a 1-yard sneak to pull the Panthers back within two. However, the Ranger defense then sealed the win by slamming the door on Fuller at the goal line on the two-point conversion run.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Penn Cambria 12 0 0 0 6-18
Forest Hills0 6 0 6 8-20
PC-T. Janosik 2 run (run failed) 9:33
PC-M. Behe 4 pass from Lawhead (run failed) 2:45
FH-Shope 37 pass from Donoughe (kick failed) 4:36
FH-Donoughe 1 run (kick failed) 0:00
FH-Snedden 6 pass from Donoughe (Donoughe run)
PC-B. Eckenrode 1 run (run failed)
RUSHING: Penn Cambria-T. Janosik 31-135, Lawhead 14-41, Behe 7-14, B. Eckenrode 4-(-11), Delerme 1-2, Fuller 2-11. Forest Hills-Pinkas 3-7, Dell 3-(-2), Donoughe 14-33, Shima 1(-1).
PASSING: Penn Cambria-B. Eckenrode 3-7-0-50, Lawhead 2-2-0-48. Forest Hills-Donoughe 12-22-1-173, Shope 1-1-0-16.
RECEIVING: Penn Cambria-Lawhead 1-25, Keagy 1-44, Delerme 1-7, Behe 2-22. Forest Hills-Snedden 6-104, Donoughe 1-16, Shope 2-50, Pinkas 2-15, Dell 1-(-6), Shima 1-10.
INTERCEPTIONS: Penn Cambria-Schwaderer 1-5. Forest Hills-None.