Eagles stun Bruins in final minutes of contest
LIZTON -- It only took 2:30 for it to happen.
Trailing 20-10, the Bruins were on the one yard line and threatening to score again, South Putnam needed a stop to have a chance of coming back.
That's what they got.
After stuffing Tri-West's Cody Coll twice in a row for a loss, South Putnam took over on a failed fourth down conversion on the their own three-yard line and that is when it happened.
"That stop was a huge stop for us," SPHS head Coach Troy Burgess said "Our middle linebacker, Deano, was cramping up so we had to take him out for the play and put our No.2 middle linebacker in and he did a great job. That's our guys being on the sideline being ready to step it up. That was a huge stop for us."
With just over a minute left, the Eagles used their work horse Drew Cash to push the ball 14-yards to their 17-yard line, setting up John Spencer to be a hero.
Spencer missed his first pass of the series, but nailed Cash on his next throw for a 14 yard gain. Then Spencer did it again, this time for 49-yards to Rob Gibson. Then with less than 17 seconds to go in the game, Spencer nailed Cameron Chestnut in the far corner of the end zone for the touchdown.
After Jake Gould hit the extra point, South Putnam had 16.5 seconds left to get an onside kick and score again. That's exactly what they did.
The Eagles recovered Gould's onside kick after the Bruins botched their try at picking up the ball, putting them on their 49-yard line. But an intentional grounding call on Spencer pushed the Eagles back to their 38-yard line and even farther away from a victory.
That is when Cash went to coach Burgess and told him he wanted the ball. He could beat the guy in the middle and score.
He was right.
As the clock ticked away, Spencer took the ball and laced to Cash into the middle of field and like a bolt of lightning he was gone. He rushed up the middle and broke for the sideline midfield and continued for a 62-yard touchdown reception, giving the Eagles a 23-20 victory over Tri-West.
"Our kids never quit," Burgess said. "They kept trying, you have to give these kids credit they never gave up and played through until the last whistle.
"Cash called that play," Burgess said."We done it before and he came to me and said 'I think I can beat the guy in the middle' and Cash is like E.F. Hutton to me. When he speaks, I listen."
Cash rushed for 147 yards and one touchdown along with catching three passes for 79 yards in Friday nights win at Tri-West.
"Cash is our playmaker," Burgess said. "He is a senior and a captain and this is what he works for. He has put the time in the weight room to make these kinds of plays. He's our playmaker"
Cash scored the Eagles first touchdown with 1:07 left in the firstquarter on a 20-yard run after the Eagles recovered a fumble by Tri-West's John Frederick.
The Bruins got on the board in the second quarter after they forced the Eagles to punt in four plays after they recovered another one of their fumbles. Then after two unsuccessful downs, Frederick connected with Coll for a 78-yard touchdown pass. But the Bruins overshot Joe Gramling for the extra point and failed to tie the game.
The second half proved to be a little more difficult for the Eagles.
After Gould nailed a 30-yard field goal with 5:42 left in the third, the rain stop coming down and the Bruins offense started to get hot.
The Bruins' Austin Moxley returned the Eagles kickoff for 69-yards, setting Tri-West up for a four-play 20 yard touchdown drive that was capped by a four yard run by Coll. The Bruins then did it again on their next possession, after their defense forced the Eagles to fumble. Frederick connected with Brock Sellers for a 67-yard TD pass and Gramling nailed the PAT, giving Tri-West its 20-10 lead that they retained until the last 2:20 of the game.
"We made a lot of mental mistakes to get into he position that we were in," Burgess said. "Tri-West is too good of a team to make mistakes like that because they are going to capitalize on it.
"Tri-West is one of those programs and I've said this for years, this is a program that we have targeted. This is a first class program and nothing has changed. So for us to come in here and get a win is great for our program," Burgess said.
John Spencer went 5-for-17 for 138 yards, while Gibson and Chestnut had one catch each for a combined 66 yards.
South Putnam is back in action Friday when they host.