CLAYSBURG - Mark Twain once said, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."
Though Twain obviously was not talking about the Claysburg-Kimmel Bulldogs when he said that, the thought definitely applied to Friday night's Inter-County Conference Silver Division match-up with Tussey Mountain.
The Bulldogs fought all the way back from a 14-point deficit with 8:42 left to play and pulled out the offensive shootout, 33-27, when Trey Claar hooked up with Matt Repko for the game-winner with 11.2 ticks to go at Bulldog Stadium.
"We knew that the play before that they had Devin [Weyandt], who we wanted to throw to, double covered. We saw that the play before and we knew they were [playing] man up back in the secondary, so we took a shot," Claysburg-Kimmel coach Joe Kitt said. "It was a heck of a play. To step up and make a catch in traffic like that, was a huge play."
The two squads combined for 782 yards and the fourth quarter was an offensive battle with a total of 40 points being put up on the scoreboard.
"Heartbreak is the word I want to use for it," Tussey Mountain coach Josh Smith said. "It comes down to opportunities and I have to give Claysburg credit because they kept fighting for those opportunities."
With C-K trailing 27-26, Claar fired a pass down the middle of the field that was just between and far enough behind two Titan defenders. As Repko turned to make a play on the ball, his feet failed him, and he began to fall backwards. Fortunately, the tight end was able to haul the pass in and land in the end zone for the 26-yard game-winning score.
"First, I was just hoping Trey saw me open because I came across the middle there," Repko said. "I saw the ball in the air and I don't know if I fell or what happened, but I caught it when I was on the ground and I was laying in the end zone."
The chance to even be in that situation was slim-to-none for the Bulldogs at the 8:42 mark of the fourth following back-to-back touchdown runs of 50 and 15 yards respectively by Tussey's Mitchell Corbin that had the Titans out in front 27-13.
C-K (3-5) was visibly shaken and it turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession.
On a fourth-and-6 from its own 45, TM punter Tyler Husick mishandled the punt and fumbled it away - setting Claysburg-Kimmel up at the Tussey 39.
Two completions of 14 yards and the final one for 25 to Weyandt got the Bulldogs on the board as they pulled closer at 27-20.
The Claysburg defense held and forced a punt on Tussey Mountain's next possession. Claar completed three passes to Weyandt totaling 45 yards, one to Repko for 22 and Zach Helsel ran four times for 18 yards, the last of which was a 3-yard burst to pay dirt that made the score 27-26.
Kitt elected to go for the win with 1:02 left in the game, and Helsel was stopped on a toss right for the two-point conversion.
Claysburg-Kimmel perfectly executed an onside kick as senior Jerime Musselman fell on the loose ball and gave the Bulldogs a fighting chance.
"I was back a little bit. The ball came out right between Matt Repko's legs and I just dove on it, held onto it and kept the rally going," Musselman said.
Helsel, who ran for 156 yards on 27 carries and scored on TD runs of 5 and 20 in addition to his 3-yarder, went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season.
Claar went 14-for-27 for 264 passing yards, while Weyandt hauled in nine for 177 yards and Repko had five for 87.
Corbin ran for 196 yards on 12 carries for Tussey (3-5), and Darrin Sipes, who scored on a 41-yard run and a 2-yard plunge, churned out 114 on 17 tries.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tussey Mountain7 0 6 14 - 27
Claysburg-Kimmel0 7 0 26 - 33
TM-Sipes 41 run (Wentz kick), 2:44.
CK-Helsel 5 run (Fickes kick), 8:04.
TM-Sipes 2 run (kick failed), 7:49.
CK-Helsel 20 run (kick failed), 10:54.
TM-Corbin 50 run (run failed), 9:40.
TM-Corbin 15 run (Barnett pass from K. Kline), 8:42.
CK-Weyandt 25 pass from Claar (Fickes kick), 4:14.
CK-Helsel 3 run (run failed), 1:02.
CK-Repko 26 pass from Claar (Fickes kick), 11.2.
RUSHING: Tussey Mountain-Corbin 12-196, T. Husick 11-31, Sipes 17-114, K. Kline 1-3, E. Husick 2-24, Taylor 1-6. Claysburg-Kimmel-Helsel 27-156, Weyandt 2-(-2), Pant 1-2, Claar 2 (-15).
PASSING: Tussey Mountain-E. Husick 1-6-0-0. Claysburg-Kimmel-Claar 14-27-0-264, Helsel 1-2-0-3, TEAM 0-4-0-0.
RECEIVING: Tussey Mountain-Corbin 1-0. Claysburg-Kimmel-Weyandt 9-177, Repko 5-87, Brown 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS: Tussey Mountain-None. Claysburg-Kimmel-None.