COUDERSPORT, Pa. – Never say die.
Trailing 20-7 with 4:15 to play in the fourth quarter, fourth-seeded Coudersport rallied for a wild 21-20 win over fifth-seeded Cameron County in the District 9 Class 1A quarterfinals.
Rewatch the game:
Gavyn Ayers threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes, while Dylan Howard hauled in one of those passes and also had the crucial go-ahead extra point to send the Falcons to a semifinal date with No. 1 Redbank Valley.
“I still don’t know what to think,” Ayers, the Allegheny Grille of Foxburg Player of the Game said during the Cole Orthodontic Associates postgame interview. “We were just trying to make things happen at that point. Not much to do at that point except throw it up and try and make a play and it worked out pretty well.”
See Ayers’ full interview:
Ayers’ 35-yard touchdown pass to Colby Lewis and the subsequent extra point from Howard gave the Falcons (8-3) a 21-20 lead with 2:15 to play, a proposition that seemed hard to fathom just two minutes before.
Leading 14-7, Cameron County converted a fourth-and-one to the Coudersport 29, and on the next play, Lathan Reed rumbled up the middle for a touchdown to make it 20-7 with 4:15 to play.
Coudersport, with no timeouts, didn’t blink.
The Falcons quickly marched down the field and scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ayers to Howard, with Howard’s extra point making it 20-14 with 2:55 to play.
With so little time remaining and no timeouts, the Falcons’ best hope was to try an onside kick. It was executed to perfection by Howard, and the Falcons recovered at the Cameron County 48.
Three plays later they were in the end zone, as Ayers rolled to his right and hit Lewis in the corner of the end zone for the score.
It was reminiscent in some ways to the regular season meeting between the two teams when Coudersport scored 20 points in the fourth quarter after the game was tied 6-6 en route to a 26-14 victory.
“Just a little history with Cameron,” Ayers said. “I know the guys on that team a lot and am friends with some of them. Nice to get the win against them sometimes.”
Cameron County, with one timeout, got the ball back on its own 20 and began to march. Long completions to Kyle Earle and Koby Shepard, plus a 15-yard run from Maddox Baughman helped get the ball all the way down to the Coudersport 12 with 12 seconds remaining.
Ayers put to bed any thought of a Cameron County last-second touchdown, however, sealing the win with his interception with six seconds left.
“It felt great,” Ayers said. “I was just thinking, got to make a play sometime and when the play came to me I made it. That’s about it.”
Cameron County led 8-0 at halftime on the strength of a Baughman to Earle 22-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, and the Red Raiders took a 14-0 lead on Malaki Zucal’s 3-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds to go in the third quarter.
It was part of a big game for Zucal, who rushed for 194 yards and also had an interception on defense.
For Coudersport, Ayers was 10-of-20 through the air for 180 yards, with Howard hauling in four receptions for 66 yards and Lewis two for 58.
Wright had 61 yards on the ground for the Falcons and 35 yards receiving.
BROCKWAY 27, UNION/A-C VALLEY 20
BROCKWAY, Pa. – A late Red Zone stop helped third-seeded Brockway hold off sixth-seeded Union/A-C Valley, 27-20, in the District 9 Class 1A quarterfinals at Varischetti Field in Brockway.
Leading by seven after a Blake Pisarcik 3-yard run with one second left in the third quarter, the Rovers (8-3) watched the Falcon-Knights (5-6) drive to the Brockway 7-yard line where they had first-and-goal with 1:17 to play.
Union/A-C Valley tried to get fancy with a reverse pass from Trey Fleming to Brody Dittman that was incomplete at the 3-yard line. To add to the incompletion, the Falcon Knights had an illegal man downfield pushing the ball back to the 12-yard line.
Logan Skibinski then lost three yards back to the 15 before an incomplete pass made it third-and-goal with just over 30 seconds left. An incomplete pass then put the season on the line for Union/A-C Valley with 28 seconds left.
Dittman’s pass into the end zone was then knocked away by Gage Park to seal the win.
While the late stand was important in helping the Rovers move on, so was a stretch in the last 4:30 of the first half.
Union/A-C Valley led 14-0 following a 1-yard Skibinski touchdown run and an 8-yard Dittman to Owen Bish touchdown pass with the aerial score coming with 6:50 to play in the first half.
But Brockway scored three touchdowns in the final 4:30 of the half to grab a 20-14 halftime lead.
An Andrew Brubaker interception at the Union/A-C Valley 35-yard line set up a trick-play touchdown pass on the next play from Pisarcik to Caleb Daughtery to cut the Falcon Knight lead in half with 4:30 to play in the half.
Then, with 1:29 left before the break, the Rovers tied the game when Brayden Fox hit Pisarick with a 5-yard scoring toss.
The Brockway defense forced a punt, and the Rovers then took the lead when Pisarcik caught a 31-yard fourth-down Fox to Daughtery touchdown pass on the final play of the half.
Dittman hit Fleming with a 10-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to tie the game at 20.
Brockway won the game despite losing the turnover battle 6-2 including four interceptions.
Fox was 14 of 31 for 203 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. Daughterty caught four passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns with Pisarick grabbing seven passes for 83 yards while going 1-for-2 passing for 35 yards and rushing twice for three yards.
Jendy Cuello ran 18 times for 86 yards for the Rovers.
Dittman was 13 of 35 passing for Union/A-C Valley for 185 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions with Fleming catching three passes for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Brockway will face second-seeded Port Allegany in the semifinals next week at a site and time to be announced.
PORT ALLEGANY 54, KEYSTONE 14
PORT ALLEGANY, Pa. – Peyton Stiles scored four touchdowns to help second-seeded Port Allegany race past seventh-seeded Keystone, 54-14, in Port Allegany.
Stiles accounted for 142 yards of offense rushing 11 times for 87 yards and three touchdowns while catching two passes for 55 yards and a score.
Aiden Bliss added a pair of touchdowns and 256 total yards of offense for the Gators (9-2) rushing 15 times for 188 yards and two scores and catching three passes for 68 yards.
Nick Wilfong was 6 of 9 passing for 147 yards and two touchdowns with Tristan Kiser catching a touchdown pass and grabbing two passes for 24 yards. Brendin Pfenninger added a touchdown run late for Port Allegany as well.
The Gators led 22-0 at the end of the first quarter and 48-0 at halftime.
Stiles got the scoring started when he caught a 23-yard pass from Wilfong to put Port Allegany up 8-0.
Bliss then made it 15-0 on an 18-yard run before Stiles scored before the end of the first quarter on a 3-yard run to make it 22-0.
Wilfong then hit Kiser with a 12-yard pass to make it 28-0 before Bliss broke free on a 74-yard jaunt to make it 35-0.
Stiles finished off the first-half scoring for Port Allegany with runs of 9 and 7 yards.
Port Allegany, the defending champion, will face third-seeded Brockway in the semifinals in a rematch of last year’s title game.
Keystone finished the season 4-7.