Ressler leads miracle comeback for Bisons
JOHNSTOWN — For most of the second half, Bedford seemed to be down and out against Westmont Hilltop Saturday afternoon.
The Bisons had every reason to. Gregory Edwards went down late in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury and had to be taken off the field in an ambulance. Westmont’s Camden Moors was running wild, scoring all four touchdowns for the Hilltoppers while accumulating 141 yards on the ground. To make matters worse, Moors broke off a 24-yard run on fourth down to score on the first play in the fourth quarter, putting Westmont up two scores. To make matters worse, it took Bedford until the nine-minute mark in the fourth quarter to finally muster a first down in the second half.
“You can’t say we didn’t have our doubts,” Bedford coach Kevin Steele said. “Certainly there were times where things didn’t look so good, but credit to our kids for battling and finding a way to win.”
Westmont could seemingly see the finish line, anticipating a win after what seemed to be a moral victory for the Bisons with 2:10 remaining in the game, as Steven Ressler called his own number under center to score from seven yards out to put Bedford within reach after the extra point.
From there, Bedford recovered the onside kick. The ball didn’t travel the required 10 yards, but a pair of Westmont players bumped into each other after the ball went 8 yards, allowing Bedford to recover. From there, the playbook opened up for the Bisons, who only attempted one pass in the first half.
Going 52 yards in 72 seconds, Ressler connected with freshman Mercury Swaim from 19 yards out across the middle. Then came decision time for Steele and the Bisons.
“We said on the way down (the field) that if we scored we were going to go for two regardless,” Steele said. “To me, (Westmont) is not a good team to go against in overtime, because it’s so tough to stop them the way they run the ball.”
Bedford put the ball on the left hash for the two-point try. Ressler flipped the ball to Swaim, who swooped in motion from left to right just before the snap. Swaim took the pitch and thought about turning the corner, but then pulled parallel with the line of scrimmage to flip a pass to Zach Price, who was wide-open in the corner of the end zone on the run-pass option play.
“We practice that all summer, I had confidence in (Swaim),” said running back and linebacker Dylan Arnold. “He made a great play and (Price) made a great catch.”
While most of the focus on the afternoon was the rushing attack of Moors, Arnold put up impressive numbers of his own. The senior scored twice on the ground, as he accumulated 126 yards off 22 carries, an impressive workload in the first week of the season.
“Conditioning paid off in the end,” Arnold said. “Coaches told me that I was going to get most of the workload, but respect to my offensive line, they did a tremendous job.”
In the grand scheme of a lengthy season, the come-from-behind victory is just one game for Bedford. But Arnold sees plenty of value in what the Bisons can take away moving on to the next opponent.
“This gives us confidence,” said Arnold. “Last year we got blown out by Westmont. This year this game gives us confidence that we can hopefully use going forward.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bedford 0 14 0 15 — 29
Westmont Hilltop 7 6 8 7 — 28
WH–Moors 1 run (Kaseler kick), 4:40.
B–D. Arnold 5 run (kick failed), 11:55.
WH–Moors 3 run (run failed), 3:20.
B–D. Arnold 2 run (D. Arnold pass from Ressler), 0:41.
WH–Moors 11 run (Moors run), 4:26.
WH–Moors 24 run (Kaseler kick), 11:52.
B–Ressler 7 run (D. Arnold kick), 2:10.
B–Swaim 19 pass from Ressler (Price pass from Swaim), 0:58.
TEAM STATISTICS B WH
First downs 12 15
Total yards 277 269
Rushes-yards 42-226 43-261
Yards passing 51 8
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 4-5-0 2-4-0
Punts-avg. 2-36.0 1-38.0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 5-30 3-17
RUSHING–Bedford, Price 4-22, Washington 8-40, D. Arnold 22-126, Ressler 8-31, Foor 1-7. Westmont Hilltop, Holbay 8-42, Moors 16-141, Muto 10-34, Kushner 8-47, Santee 1-(minus 3).
PASSING–Bedford, Ressler 4-5-0-51. Westmont Hilltop, Santee 2-3-0-8, Moors 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING–Bedford, Price 1-14, Swaim 2-28, Washington 1-9. Westmont Hilltop, Webb 1-6, Holbay 1-2.