Line Mountain Rallies Past North Penn-Mansfield
As Brock Burleigh’s fourth down heave in overtime fell harmlessly to the ground Line Mountain’s entire sideline exploded with passionate enthusiasm. The Eagles had completed their comeback, rallying from 15 points down early in the fourth quarter to force overtime and eventually stun No. 4 seeded North Penn-Mansfield on the road Friday night.
Line Mountain entered the fourth quarter of Friday’s District IV AA playoff game trailing by a 28-13 margin – that would swiftly change in the Eagles favor. On its opening drive of the final quarter Line Mountain quarterback Kenny Boyer led his team on a five play scoring drive ending with Brenden Cregger hauling in a 21 yard pass to put six on the board. Boyer would convert for two points to trim the deficit to seven.
After forcing a North Penn punt, Line Mountain began what looked to be a promising offensive possession, moving the chains on back to back plays, only to be ruined by an interception on a deep and underthrown Boyer pass.
The Panthers were unable to translate what could have been a back breaking turnover into points.
With less than six minutes and a seven point lead it seemed likely the North Penn would play keep away and run clock. But, after gaining only three yards on its first two downs, the home team took to the air and Kenny Boyer capitalized on an opportunity. Boyer stepped in front of quarterback Brock Burleigh’s intended receiver on a third and seven screen pass and returned the ball to the North Penn 16 giving the Eagles prime field position and restoring their hopes of tying the game.
Just two plays later Boyer crossed the goal line from ten yards out and Kai Smith added the extra point to tie the game with just 3:37 remaining.
The Eagles took their turn on offense first to open the overtime period. Unlike in regulation, Boyer and Line Mountain didn’t waste any time before scoring, as Boyer took off straight up the middle on a quarterback keeper and scooted ten yards into the end zone on the Eagle’s first play from scrimmage in the extra period. Unfortunately for the visitors, the rushing attempt on the conversion was stuffed short of the goal line letting the door open for a possible North Penn victory.
The Panthers then had their opportunity to match or even win the game. Line Mountain and North Penn-Mansfield then traded short penalties, resulting in the ball returning to its original starting position at the ten yard line. After an incomplete pass sandwiched between two unproductive rushing attempts, North Penn was faced with a fourth and goal from ten yards out. Panther’s senior quarterback Brock Burleigh took the shotgun snap and rolled to his right, and under duress from the Line Mountain defense, lobbed the ball towards the corner of the end zone. Burleigh’s last gasp effort fell to the ground, out of bounds and incomplete, cueing a roar from the Eagle’s sideline.
“I just kept telling the kids to keep fighting. I knew if we kept fighting and kept fighting that we would be able to do what we did. We needed to get a couple stops and we needed to make some plays on offense and to the kids’ credit they did hang in there and kept fighting and I think that’s what we get out of this is that they kept believing in themselves,” said Line Mountain head coach Brandon Carson after his team’s dramatic win.
North Penn-Mansfield seemed to have the ball game under control through the first three quarters of play. The Panthers had for the most part dominated the time of possession, especially in the first half, due to the play of junior running back Brenden Hill.
Hill led North Penn’s rushing attack, totaling over 100 yards on the ground before the half and 199 for the game. 70 of Hill’s yards came on one single play as he rumbled into the end zone as the first quarter came to a close to giving his team a 14-6 lead.
Hill’s score came just 45 seconds after Kenny Boyer put Line Mountain on the board for the first time with a 30 yard touchdown scamper.
Boyer had a hand in all five of his team’s touchdowns on Friday evening, scoring four times on the ground and tossing the aforementioned 21 yard pass to Cregger. Boyer accrued 196 rushing yards and also threw for 113 in the win.
Line Mountain was able to survive four uncharacteristic turnovers, including two in the third quarter and one in the latter half of the last period. The Panthers were only able to capitalize on one of the four, as Brenden Hill took a handoff 36 yards for a score, his third touchdown of the day, with 10:11 remaining in the third quarter.
Carson’s bunch will have a stiff test next week as they advance to play an undefeated Southern Columbia team – winners in blowout fashion over Towanda – at Jim Roth Field next Friday night.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the whole team. The kids, coaches, boosters, everybody, we all do it together. It’s just a nice win for the program,” said Carson.
North Penn-Mansfield ends their season at 8-3.
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