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Central Columbia wins 24-21 in overtime thriller

Written by: on Saturday, October 19th, 2019. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


LEWISBURG – Whenever a team never trails during regulation of a game but still manages loses the game, that feeling is arguably worse than being blown out in the same contest.

That is what happened to Lewisburg on Friday against Central Columiba, and judging from the blank looks on the faces of the coaching staff, this one strung a little bit extra, and it left the Green Dragons searching for answers.

Lewisburg never trailed the Blue Jays during the game until it was over, as Mason Yorty kicked a 24-yard field goal in the first overtime and Central Columbia escaped from Lewisburg with a 24-21 win over the Green Dragons.

“We made a lot of mistakes tonight but is the first week that we were really challenged to overcome adversity and our kids did it time and time again,” said Central Columbia coach Scott Dennis. “We were making mistakes but we kept pulling it together and we won the game and it’s really important going into the playoffs because now they’re battle-tested. They’ve been challenged and they know what it takes to win.”

“We beat ourselves, that’s it,” said Lewisburg coach Marc Persing. “We talk to our players about having a high football IQ and running into the punter in the back of the end zone when we would have got the ball inside the 20 is a low football IQ play. When we’re punting and we whip a guy out of bounds when he’s potentially in the white, that’s a low football IQ play.”

Those two plays, which had they gone differently may have resulted in a different outcome of the game, aided Central in mounting its late comeback to tie the game. Central’s defense also bore down in the second half, holding Lewisburg to only 82 yards in the second half after the Green Dragons had outgained Central in the first half.

With the game tied 14-14 early in the fourth quarter, Nick Shedleski found an open Jackson Landis in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown pass after scrambling around the pocket with 9:25 remaining in the fourth quarter to give Lewisburg the lead once again. That play capped an 85-yard drive that featured a pair of third and a fourth-down conversion. Aside from that drive, Lewisburg only had 22 offensive yards in the rest of the second half and overtime.

Central went three and out and got pinned deep in their own territory after consecutive sacks on its ensuing drive. Punting out of their own end zone, the Blue Jays shanked it, appearing to give Lewisburg the ball at the Central 17-yard line. However, a five-yard running-into-the-kicker penalty gave the Blue Jays another shot to flip the field, and this time they punted to midfield, where on the first play of Lewisburg’s possession, the Green Dragons lost a fumble for their only turnover of the game.

Central was unable to capitalize, but it flipped field position as the Blue Jays drove into the red zone before turning it over on downs with 2:49 remaining. Lewisburg was unable to do anything on its ensuing drive and was forced to punt with just over a minute left in regulation.

On the punt return, Lewisburg was hit with a personal foul for a late hit out of bounds on punt returner Jacob Reifer, which gave the Blue Jays the ball at the Lewisburg 34 with 1:02 left.

Two plays later, Garrett McNelis hit Troy Johnson for a 31-yard touchdown pass on a screen, and the PAT narrowly sailed through to tie the game 21-21. The Green Dragons would get the ball to midfield but a bad snap lost them 15 yards and any chance it may have had at setting up a potential game-winning field goal in regulation.

The Blue Jays won the coin flip for overtime and Lewisburg took the ball first. On the third down play, Shedleski was sacked for an eight-yard loss, leaving the Green Dragons a 37-yard field goal attempt, which came out flat and was missed by Logan Moore. Central ran three straight running plays and got it to the 7-yard line to set up Yorty for the game-winner, which split the uprights.

“I don’t think there’s any type of drill or anything that we can do (physically),” said Persing. “We encourage our kids to watch film, we talk about down and distance and situations but we have to do more as coaches because it’s c pearly not getting to them so we’re just going to continue harping on the same message (of football IQ) to the players.”

The Green Dragons took a 14-0 lead on a pair of first half touchdowns. The first of those was a Shedleski two-yard run on their second possession, which came after Central muffed a punt for its only turnover of the game, giving Lewisburg the ball on the Central 27. The second came when Shedleski found Ethan Spaulding for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 10:40 remaining.

It looked like they would take that into halftime until a series of plays with under a minute to go in the half resulted in Central cutting the lead in half. On a third-and-8 play from the Lewisburg 35, Shedleski was called for intentional grounding when his pass sailed high and well out of bounds, even though it appeared to go rightover the head of his intended receiver, and that resulted in a loss of 19 yards, setting up a fourth-and-27 from the Green Dragon 16. Central then blocked the punt by Shedleski, and Johnson beat Shedleski to the ball in the end zone and recovered it for the touchdown.

Central would tie the game on a seven-yard touchdown pass from McNellis to Zander Bradley late in the third quarter before the Green Dragons went back ahead on their next possession, setting up the back-and-forth finish.

Central Columbia 24, Lewisburg 21 (OT)
Central Columbia (6-3)    0   7   7   7   3 – 24
Lewisburg (5-4)               7   7   0   7   0 – 21

First quarter
7:45 – (L) Nick Shedleski 2-yard run (Logan Moore kick), 4-27, 1:37

Second quarter
10:40 – (L) Ethan Spaulding 10-yard pass from Nick Shedleski (Moore kick), 8-52, 2:26
:48 – (CC) Troy Johnson blocked punt recovered in end zone (Mason Yorty kick)

Third quarter
3:49 – (CC) Zander Bradley 7-yard pass from Garrett McNelis (Yorty kick), 4-65, 2:39

Fourth quarter
9:25 – (L) Jackson Landis 22-yard pass from Nick Shedleski (Moore kick), 12-85, 6:24
1:02- (CC) Troy Johnson 31-yard pass from Garrett McNelis (Yorty kick), 2-34, :14

(CC) – Mason Yorty 24-yard field goal

                                                      CC                      L   
First downs                                    13                      17
Rushes-net yards                       33-113               43-149
Passing yardage                           138                     74
Passing                                     9-18-2-1             8-15-2-0
Fumbles-lost                                 1-1                     2-1
Penalties-yards                            9-60                   8-73

RUSHING: Central Columbia: Troy Johnson (15-80), Jacob Reifer (11-55), Garrett McNelis (4-(-26)), Dylan Devlin (1-5), Zander Bradley (1-0), Auston Rainier (1-(-1)); Lewisburg: Ethan Dominick (24-108), Nick Shedleski (14-40-1), Cameron Michaels (2-9), Gavin Sheriff (2-7), TEAM (1-(-15))
PASSING: Central Columbia: Garrett McNelis (9-17-138-2-1), Jacob Reifer (0-1-0-0-0); Lewisburg: Nick Shedleski (8-15-74-2-0)
RECEIVING: Central Columbia: Eli Morrison (3-27), Jacob Reifer (2-59), Zander Bradley (2-11-1), Troy Johnson (1-31-1), Zachary Smith (1-9); Lewisburg: Ethan Spaulding (3-24-1), Jackson Landis (1-22-1), Ethan Dominick (1-13), Owen Ordonez (1-13), Dante Sims (1-8), Gavin Sheriff (1-(-6))

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