George School, Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech combine for 120 points in wild high school football game
ALMEDIA – The George School and Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech found themselves in an old-fashioned shootout on Saturday afternoon in Columbia County, and like many offensive shootouts where defense is optional, all it took was for one team to fail to hold serve to turn the tide.
On Saturday, it was CMVT that blinked, as two key plays and a couple of key penalties on another drive, which ended up forcing the game’s only punt, ended up being the difference, as George School took advantage of those three sequences, and used them to outlast the Rams 68-52.
The two teams combined for 1,096 yards of total offense – 635 for the George School and 461 for CMVT. Along with those key plays, the other difference in the game was largely Brandon Enarusai, who scored five touchdowns and amassed 298 all-purpose yards. He ran for 143 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, and he also caught six passes for 155 yards and two scores.
“Enarusai is a special athlete and we had trouble staying with him. They got it to him and we couldn’t cover him,” said CMVT coach Mark Varner.
With CMVT clinging to a slim 30-28 lead late in the second half after the third of five rushing touchdowns on the afternoon by Toby Zajac, the Cougars began their ensuing drive at their own 27-yard line. The Rams, which had stopped the Cougars from scoring just once to that point in the game, forced a 22-yard field goal attempt with :04 left in the half. CMVT blocked the kick, but the ball did not cross the line of scrimmage and no whistle sounded, and George School’s Michael Pacitti scooped up the ball and ran it into the end zone, while most of the rest of the players on the field appeared to believe the half was over.
The play resulted in a touchdown, as the offense can advance a blocked kick as long as the ball doesn’t go beyond the line of scrimmage. Following the extra point, instead of leading at the half and receiving the second-half kickoff, the Rams trailed 35-30.
“That’s the first time something like that has happened in the 30-something years I’ve coached so that’s something they don’t see every day. It was just unfortunate that it happened right there,” said Varner.
“We try to teach that it’s the little things that can beat you, and that was a heck of a heads-up play by a freshman, picking that ball up,” said George School coach Dominic Gregorio. “I’d love to take credit for it, but it was really just a heads-up play by him.”
The Rams had an opportunity to answer right back but on their first second-half possession, a pair of holding penalties cost them 22 total yards, and they were forced to punt – the only punt of the game by either team, giving it back to the Cougars at their own 42.
George School didn’t waste that opportunity as the Cougars went 58 yards in six plays, capped by a six-yard touchdown pass from Jagger Matera to Joe Lifsted, the fourth of six touchdown passes on the afternoon for Matera, who threw for 443 yards on 15-of-20 passing.
That put the Cougars up 41-30, the first lead for either team that was by more than a single score, and the teams matched scores with each team scoring two more touchdowns each in the third quarter – the last two of which were single-play drives. Zajac had a 44-yard touchdown run to cut the Cougars’ lead to 48-44 with 1:06 left in the third, which was answered by a 62-yard touchdown strike from Matera to Braydon Bonfig with :55 left to make it 55-44.
The Cougars then elected to go for the onside kick and they recovered at the CMVT 47, giving them an opportunity to open up a three-score lead, which they did when Matera hit Brandon Enarusai for a 5-yard touchdown reception to cap a seven-play drive and give them a 61-44 lead.
“When we were able to get up two (scores), we wanted to go for an onside because we knew we couldn’t stop them defensively,” said Gregorio. “So, we gambled a bit – we weren’t stopping them anyway so what’s it matter whether you give them the ball at the 50 or the 20 – we were lucky enough to get it and get a touchdown.”
“Three plays in the game hurt us today,” said Varner. “The blocked field goal right before the half put us behind instead of being ahead, so momentum-wise that really hurt us. In the first series in the second half, we got two holding penalties and that put us behind the sticks. We’re not a team that does third-and-25, and the onside kick hurt us. Our offense was holding serve, we were going back and forth. It was going to be the last team to have the ball was going to win this game, but those three plays really turned the tide.”
The loss unfortunately for the Rams overshadowed another outstanding day by Zajac, who went over 1,000 yards for the second straight season with a 302-yard day on the ground to go with his five touchdowns. Caden Long threw for 129 yards on 6-of-12 passing, and the Rams didn’t turn the ball over. But, neither did the Cougars.
“We lost some guys up front to injuries but the young kids came in and they did the job opening up the holes for Toby, and he ran hard. We talked all week about running hard, not looking for a hole, just running to the hole and anticipating it’s going to be there and running through it hard and he did today,” said Varner. “We put 52 on the board, so we had a good offensive day, but unfortunately they just had a couple of better athletes. Sometimes you just have to give the other team credit. They played well and they didn’t make that one mistake.”
George School 68, Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech 52
George School (4-5) 20 15 20 13 – 68
Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech (3-5) 16 14 14 8 – 52
10:21 – (G) Frank Marchese 41-yard pass from Jagger Matera (Wiethrill kick), 4-64, 1:39
9:33 – (VT) Toby Zajac 65-yard run (Brown run), 2-70, :48
5:39 – (G) Brandon Enarusai 63-yard run (pass failed), 2-55, :34
3:46 – (VT) Chase Koncsler 35-yard pass from Caden Long (Zajac run), 4-58, 1:53
3:26 – (G) Brandon Enarusai 62-yard pass from Jagger Matera (Wiethrill kick), 1-62, :20
10:28 – (VT) Toby Zajac 18-yard run (pass failed), 10-81, 4:58
7:27 – (G) Frank Marchese 52-yard pass from Jagger Matera (Matera run), 7-67, 3:01
4:46 – (VT) Toby Zajac 40-yard run (Zajac run), 7-70, 2:41
:00 – (G) Michael Pacitti 12-yard run (Wiethrill kick), 11-73, 4:46
5:55 – (G) Joe Lifsted 6-yard pass from Jagger Matera (kick failed), 6-58, 3:12
2:54 – (VT) Shane Tomlinson 14-yard pass from Caden Long (Zajac run), 9-54, 3:01
1:26 – (G) Brandon Enarusai 5-yard run (Wiethrill kick), 5-50, 1:18
1:06 – (VT) Toby Zajac 44-yard run (run failed), 1-44, :20
:55 – (G) Braydon Bonfig 62-yard pass from Jagger Matera (Wiethrill kick), 1-62, :11
10:06 – (G) Brandon Enarusai 5-yard pass from Jagger Matera (kick failed), 7-47, 2:49
6:11 – (G) Brandon Enarusai 1-yard run (Wiethrill kick), 4-41, 1:54
3:28 – (VT) Toby Zajac 7-yard run (Brown run), 6-63, 2:43
First downs 25 19
Rushes-net yards 38-192 39-332
Passing yardage 443 129
Passing 15-20-6-0 6-12-2-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 11-85 7-51
RUSHING — George School: Brandon Enarusai (16-143-3), Frank Marchese (9-22), Braydon Bonfig (7-32), Jagger Matera (3-(-15)), Michael Pacitti (1-12-1), TEAM (2-(-2)); CMVT: Toby Zajac (31-302-5), Mason Haught (4-16), Ashton Smith (2-5), Braxtyn Brown (1-8), Caden Long (1-1)
PASSING — George School: Jagger Matera (15-20-443-6-0); CMVT: Caden Long (6-12-129-2-0)
RECEIVING — George School: Brandon Enarusai (6-155-2), Braydon Bonfig (3-95-1), Frank Marchese (2-93-2), Joe Lifsted (2-26-1), Akshay Fabrizzo (1-39), Sean Renshaw (1-35); CMVT: SHane Tomlinson (4-90-1), Chase Koncsler (1-35-1), Ashton Smith (1-4)
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