It was only 30 seconds or so of game action, but that precious half minute had as much to do about deciding the outcome of the game as anything else as Mechanicsburg pulled away from host Madison-Plains for a 44-14 victory Friday, Sept. 22.
The Golden Eagles (2-3) were on the Indians 10-yard line with a fourth and goal situation midway through the second quarter. Plains trailed 14-8 but had moved the ball for the entire first half and was trying to tie the game or take the lead.
Sophomore quarterback Jarrett Vallery dropped back to pass and hit senior Justin Burgoon on a crossing route. The lanky wideout made his way through the defense and stretched for the goal line while being tackled.
The home side thought the ball had crossed the goal line, but the officials said he was just short, turning the ball over on downs inside Mechanicsburg’s 1-yard line.
On the very next play the Indians’ Logan Hurst hit Justin Hunt on a slant route over the middle of the field and he out-sprinted the defense for a 99-yard touchdown.
“We thought we scored, we thought we were in the end zone,” Golden Eagles coach Jason Hunt said. “We don’t get the call, we thought we had scored there and on the next play they go 99-yards for a touchdown.
“We go from taking a lead to being down two scores all of a sudden. That was obviously the turning point in the game.”
Instead of the score being tied or holding the lead, the Eagles were behind 20-8 after a missed PAT. Madison-Plains High School turned the ball over at its own 40-yard line after failing to pick up a 4th-and-1 on its next possession. A few plays later Mechanicsburg was celebrating another touchdown this one on a 22-yard pass play from Hurst to Joey Mascadri.
“I thought we had played pretty well up to that point offensively,” Hunt said. “Although defensively we weren’t getting many stops. They do what they do, as usual they’re a very good football team.
Mechanicsburg (4-1) took a 26-8 lead to the locker room at halftime. The Indians scored on their first possession of the second half and went ahead 32-8.
MPHS’ first score was a 7-yard touchdown run by Ryan Bevington in the first half he also added a 2-point conversion run. Bevington proved to be all the offense for Plains. He fought his way into the end zone on a 1-yard run in the third quarter. The Eagles failed to convert the 2-point try.
“We had our chances to keep this game close in the first half and we didn’t get that call,” Hunt said. “You’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities and we didn’t do that today.
“We lost one last week we thought we should have won. We outplayed the team and had three touchdowns called back because of penalties. Then we come out here against a really good Mechanicsburg team, you know they’re good and we hang with them for a while, but hanging isn’t beating them.”
Plains will try and get things together when it travels to Springfield Catholic Central Friday.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.