Northern Bedford rally comes up just short
THREE SPRINGS — Northern Bedford had fallen down by two scores at the 10:34 mark of the fourth quarter.
However, the Black Panthers refused to quit and found themselves within striking distance late in the game.
Unfortunately, when quarterback Thad Leidy’s pass was intercepted by Southern Huntingdon’s Jordan Bailey with just 10 seconds to go in the contest, the opportunities had run out as NBC suffered a hard-fought 33-28 loss to the Rockets on Thursday night in high school football action.
“I’m really, really proud of our guys,” Northern Bedford coach Garry Black said. “I would have thought coming in here, I thought whoever was going to score 20 (points) was going to win the game. I never expected this.”
Trailing by five with just over 30 seconds to play, Northern Bedford was sitting on the Southern Huntingdon 9 faced with a second-and-7.
Dalton Smith, whom the Black Panthers rode heavily on the drive to get them in that position, took the handoff and then tried to reverse it to Case Donaldson heading back to the left. Unfortunately, the exchange wasn’t clean, and by the time Donaldson fell on the ball, NBC had lost 14 yards back to the 23.
“I’ll take that one because you don’t go away from what’s working and sweep was just pounding them,” Black said. “My thought was they’ve seen sweep about eight times on this drive. They’re going to come flying to it. If there’s ever been a time to run our reverse, this is it. The ball just hit the ground.”
“He’s (Black) the king of gadgets. So, we knew we were going to see four or five trick plays,” Southern Huntingdon coach Ryan Garlock said. “… (on that drive) he’s pounding and pounding. We just keep reminding them (Southern Huntingdon) there’s something coming. There’s a gadget play coming.”
With only 23 ticks left in the game, time was not on the Black Panthers’ side. Leidy’s third-down pass would have been picked off by Bailey if not for Kainen Baker knocking it out if his hands.
On fourth down, Leidy threw a pass to Donaldson, who played the entire first half as the QB, but the throw went a little deep and Bailey came up with the interception in the end zone.
“The end we sort of ran out of time. I just told our guys the mark of a good football team is when the other team knows what’s coming and they still can’t stop it,” Black said. “We just didn’t have enough time to keep running the play we were running at that point.”
The Rockets’ Eric Patton, who proved to be a tough tackle all night for Northern Bedford, rushed for 181 yards in the contest and his only touchdown of the night came on a 3-yard burst to give the home team the 33-21 advantage to open the final quarter.
“He (Patton) ran outstanding tonight,” Ryan Garlock said. “He’s been our quarterback for the past two years, but running back is his more natural position. That’s why we made the switch.”
The Panthers knew they needed to get points on the ensuing possession and they did just that. Helped by a pass interference call on a fourth-and-10 that set them up at the SH 9, Cadin Ebersole found his way through the line to the 1 before fumbling the ball across the goal line. Fortunately, for NBC, Caleb Diehl was able to fall on the ball in the end zone for the score to close the gap to the final margin.
“It’s a game we thought we were capable of winning, so yeah, we certainly wanted to win it,” Garlock said.
The Black Panthers got the scoring started in the second stanza when Ebersole, who rushed for 123 yards, reached paydirt on a 52-yard sprint at the 7:06 mark.
The Rockets answered right back with two TDs of their own on a 21-yard pass from Scott Garlock to Colby Varner and then on a Scott Garlock keeper from a yard out.
Black ran a gadget play to set up the second Panther TD as Donaldson handed off to Brady Clark running right. Clark then set his feet and threw back to Donaldson who took it down the left sideline for a 71-yard score with 1:53 to go before the half.
Scott Garlock and the Rockets regained the lead for good just before the half when the junior found Bailey from 6-yards out with just 12 seconds to go.
Ebersole would cross once again on a 35-yard scamper and States would add the PAT to tie the game at 21-21 with 5:38 showing in the third.
However, Scott Garlock, who threw for 140 yards, connected for a TD throw once again — this time to Mason Smith from 24 yards away. Patton would follow that up with the 3-yard TD.
With the loss, Northern Bedford drops to 0-2 and they’ll host Moshannon Valley on Sept. 7. Meanwhile, Southern Huntingdon improved to 2-0 and they’ll travel to Williamsburg on the same night.
“At one time, I think there were six sophomores on the field at the very end of the game,” Black said. “We’re a young team and these games are helping us to grow up.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Northern Bedford 0 14 7 7 — 28
Southern Huntingdon 0 21 12 0 — 33
NB–Ebersole 52 run (States kick), 7:06.
SH–Varner 21 pass from Garlock (Marino kick), 4:25.
SH–Garlock 1 run (kick failed), 2:37.
NB–Donaldson 71 pass from Clark (States kick), 1:58.
SH–Bailey 6 pass from Garlock (Bailey pass from Garlock), 0:12.
NB–Ebersole 35 run (States kick), 5:38.
SH–Smith 24 pass from Garlock (pass failed), 2:50.
SH–Patton 3 run (run failed), 10:34.
NB–Diehl recovered fumble in endzone (States kick), 7:23.
TEAM STATISTICS NB SH
First downs 14 18
Total yards 391 395
Rushes-yards 38-223 49-255
Yards passing 168 140
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 11-18-1 8-11-0
Punts-avg. 2-29.0 1-29.0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-41 7-65
RUSHING–Northern Bedford, Ebersole 11-123, Clark 2-16, Donaldson 4-(-5), Smith 15-82, Imler 4-5, Leidy 2-2. Southern Huntingdon, Patton 26-181, Bailey 8-52, Hunsinger 5-25, Garlock 5-(-13), Marino 4-11, TEAM 1-(-1).
PASSING–Northern Bedford, Donaldson 7-9-0-57, Clark 1-1-0-71, Leidy 3-8-1-40. Southern Huntingdon, Garlock 8-11-0-140.
RECEIVING–Northern Bedford, Ebersole 2-14, Clark 0-3, DIehl 1-8, Smith 5-36, Zimmerman 1-8, Donaldson 2-99. Southern Huntingdon, Patton 1-8, Bailey 3-48, Varner 3-60, Smith 1-24.