BROCKWAY, Pa. – Aiden Grieneisen made the play of the year for the Brockway football team with 1:20 to play to preserve a 21-20 Rovers victory over visiting Keystone.
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After Keystone drove 91 yards in just four plays and 50 seconds to get within a point on a 22-yard Drew Keth to Aidan Sell touchdown pass, Grieneisen beat Keystone left tackle Haden Foster at the line of scrimmage and sacked Keth on the 2-point conversion play.
Reese Yahner had provided the initial pressure, coming in unblocked from his left-end position. Keth ducked under Yahner tackle attempt, but Grieneisen was there for the stop.
“Those are big-time plays that always need to be made by our d-lineman,” Jendy Cuello said. “We stress that to our d-lineman that that was that play. There is always that one play in the game that defines the whole game itself. That was that play. We did what was supposed to be done. That won us the game.”
Cuello had a lot to do with the win as well scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run with 3:56 to play to put Brockway (4-3) up 19-14. Cuello then scored on a 2-point conversion run that came after Keystone had been called for pass interference on the original 2-point play to make it 21-14.
“If he wants the ball, we are going to give it to him,” quarterback Brayden Fox said nodding towards Cuello. “We trust him enough.”
Watch Cuello’s touchdown run
Watch Cuello’s 2-point run
The pass interference call on Keystone on the 2-point conversion call was suspect – at best – as contact between the Keystone defender and Brockway’s Alex Carlson didn’t come until after the ball was over Carlson’s head.
That was the fourth big call in the fourth quarter to go against the Panthers.
Trailing 13-7, the halftime score, entering the final 12 minutes, Keystone (4-3) looked like it had tied the game on a 39-yard Keth to Sell touchdown pass on fourth-and-9 with around 8:20 to play.
But Keystone was called for an illegal formation and had to punt the ball away.
On the Panthers’ next possession, they again looked like they had tied the contest when Tyler Albright scampered home from 35 yards out with about 7:15 left. But a block in the back brought that touchdown back (Keystone did score on the next play).
Then, with the Panthers holding a 14-13 lead, and Brockway facing a third-and-13 from the Keystone 35-yard line Cole Henry was called for a roughing the passer call on Fox as the sophomore threw the ball away. Henry hit Fox just after Fox released the pass along the sideline.
To make matters worse for the Panthers, Sell was then called for unsportsmanlike conduct for questioning the call giving Brockway a first-and-goal from the 10-yard line leading to Cuello’s go-ahead touchdown.
“Those are things that we as players can’t do anything about,” Cuello said when asked how the Rovers were able to keep an even keel considering the highs and lows surrounding the fourth quarter and the calls. “That is all the coaches and refs. We are out there to play the game. If there is a call we don’t think is fair, there is nothing we can do about it. We just simply move on. It’s always the next play mentality.”
Watch the full postgame interview
The game was fairly routine until the wild fourth quarter with Brockway taking advantage of a late Keystone fumble following an interception by the Panthers to take the 13-7 halftime lead.
Fox was picked off by Keth in the end zone with under a minute to play. But instead of going down in the end zone giving Keystone the ball at the 20-yard line, the sophomore elected to run it out, and Keystone started at its own 3-yard line.
Facing third-and-1 from the 12, a botched quarterback-running back exchange gave was recovered by Brockway at the Keystone 13-yard line, and Fox hit Carlson on the next play to give the Rovers the lead.
Brockway actually recovered a fumble on the kickoff and had a shot at more points before the half, but a 37-yard Aiden Wilcox field goal came up short.
Keystone, again playing without starting quarterback Rayce Weaver and its best play, Kyle Nellis, took a 7-0 lead with 3:14 to play in the first quarter when Sell scored on a 9-yard run.
Brockway tied the game 1:07 into the second quarter when Fox and Carlson hooked up from 12 yards out.
That was the way the game stayed until the wild fourth quarter.
After the teams exchanged scores to put Brockway up seven, the Rovers recovered what amounted to an unintentional onside kick only to see the Keystone defense hold and force a punt.
Fox, who actually had a negative 4-yard punt earlier in the half, booted the ball out of bounds at the Keystone 9-yard line with 2:10 to play.
Needing to go 91 yards, Keth engineered a quick 4-play drive that included a 63-yard crossing pattern pass to Drew Slaugenhaupt that moved the ball from the Panthers’ 15 to the Brockway 22 and then hit Sell with the touchdown pass.
After a timeout, Keystone went for the win but came up short.
Sell, who was named the Allegheny Grille of Foxburg Player of the Game in a losing effort, carried the ball 12 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns while catching three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Keth was 12 of 18 passing for 183 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, and Tyler Albright ran 13 times for 38 yards and caught five passes for 69 yards.
Carlson caught seven passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns for Brockway with Fox going 18 of 39 passing for 192 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Dylan Hanna ran the ball 13 times for 57 yards for the Rovers with Cuello running nine times for 26 yards. Hanna also caught three passes for 37 yards.