By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE September 18, 2007 High school football fans were treated to a fantastic game on Saturday afternoon in Grahamsville.
The visiting Eldred Yellowjackets and Tri-Valley Bears combined to score 20 points in the fourth quarter as the outcome of the non-league game was in doubt until the final minute.
With 50 seconds remaining and the score knotted at 13-13, Eldred (2-1) faced a second-and-three at its own 44-yard line. Quarterback Bryan Henry took the snap and rolled to his right.
Looking upfield, Henry saw that Yellowjacket running back Tom Compasso was a couple of steps behind a Bears’ defensive back. Henry threw the ball to Compasso, who caught it in stride and sprinted down the sideline to the end zone.
Bobby Warden booted the PAT kick through the uprights to give the Yellowjackets a 20-13 advantage.
T-V (2-1) had one last possession to attempt to score a game-tying touchdown. But on a second-and-10 play near midfield with five seconds remaining, Eldred defenders Steven Combs and Gino Jones sacked T-V quarterback Charlie Edwards to seal the Yellowjackets’ 20-13 victory.
“We ran that quarterback rollout play in the first quarter, but the pass was incomplete,” Eldred Coach Frank Kean said of the game-winning pass play. “I told my son Patrick to save it for later. He called it at the perfect time.”
Patrick Kean, who is one of the Eldred assistant coaches, made the call and the Yellowjackets’ offensive line gave Henry the time he needed to roll out and find Compasso streaking down the sideline.
Approximately 30 seconds before Compasso’s game-winning TD, the Bears tied the score at 13-13 with a long pass play of their own.
On third-and-10 from their own 24, Edwards threw a slant pass to Sean Drown, who remained behind the line of scrimmage. Sean Drown then threw the ball about 30 yards down the middle of his field to his brother Kevin Drown, who was running free in the Eldred secondary.
Kevin Drown caught the ball and then outran a pair of Yellowjackets to the end zone.
Bo Murphy added the PAT kick to even the score at 13-13 with 1:12 remaining in the game.
As the fourth quarter began, T-V faced a 13-0 deficit. With 5:41 left in the quarter, Bears defensive tackle Garrett Grey recovered an Eldred fumble at the Yellowjackets’ 36-yard line. Three plays later, Edwards connected with Cassidy on an 11-yard touchdown pass to put the Bears on the scoreboard.
Eldred took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when Kevin Prunka scored on a 1-yard run and Warden added the PAT kick.
The Yellowjackets extended their lead with just 25 seconds left in the third quarter. Defensive tackle Bob Moriggia intercepted an Edwards’ pass and ran it back 18 yards for a touchdown.
Moriggia’s interception was one of five turnovers the Yellowjackets’ defense caused on the afternoon. Showing the same aggressiveness and intensity as the Eldred defense, the T-V defense forced five Yellowjacket fumbles in the game.
Leading the Yellowjackets’ offense were Prunka, who rushed 12 times for 48 yards, and Chris Leader, who carried the ball 14 times for 63 yards.
Leader also had 15 receiving yards and Compasso registered 50 receiving yards.
Henry completed 3-of-8 passes for 105 yards. He was also intercepted once.
Nick Simonelli and Cody Conklin paced the Eldred defense. The two seniors each recorded 11 solo tackles and three assisted tackles.
Moriggia added seven tackles and two assisted tackles, while Kojo Williams had one interception.
“Mr. LeGreci’s defense deserves all of the accolades today,” Frank Kean said of the work done by Assistant Coach John LeGreci, who serves as the Yellowjackets’ defensive coordinator, and his players. “They played a great game. They really limited Tri-Valley’s running game and forced turnovers.”
Daniel Byrne and Brendan Musa led the Bears’ rushing attack. Byrne had 11 carries for 55 yards and Musa ran 17 times for 48 yards.
Edwards completed 8-of-24 passes for 123 yards. He had one touchdown and two interceptions.
Kevin Drown paced the T-V receivers with two catches for 101 yards and a TD. Cassidy caught three passes for 42 yards and Musa caught three passes for 34 yards.
“Eldred played a great game,” T-V Coach John Rusin said. “They took advantage of our mistakes and made the plays they needed to in order to win the game.”
Although disappointed with the loss, Rusin was thrilled with the effort and attitude of his players.
“In the fourth quarter we were down 13-0, but they didn’t hang their heads and get down on themselves,” he said. “They didn’t quit and they played hard the whole game. I am very proud of them for that.”