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Blue Devils escape by slimmest of margins

October 04, 2003|by CHRIS CARTER and TRAVIS KING/Staff Correspondents

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - "It's a shame someone's got to lose this game."

That's been said by Greencastle-Antrim head coach Chuck Tinninis plenty this season, but usually after a heartbreaking loss.

On Friday night, though, the heartbreak belonged to East Pennsboro, who fell short twice, in a 21-20 Blue Devils victory at Kaley Field.

It looked like Greencastle (2-4) would walk away with a win, up 21-14 in the final minutes, when a costly fumble turned the ball over to the Panthers, deep in Blue Devil territory. Three plays later, Jesse Kastelic scored on a 1-yard run to pull within a point and silence the home crowd.

Then things got more interesting.

East Pennsboro kicker Daniel Nightingale, perfect in extra points for the season coming in to the game, botched the game-tying extra point, the wind sailing it wide left and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

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Greencastle needed to run out the clock, but after Blake Border was sacked on third-and-7 by Kastelic, they were forced to punt back to the Panthers with under two minutes left.

East Pennsboro (3-3) drove down the field into field-goal range behind the arm of Jason DeLutis, who completed four passes for 60 of his 106 yards on the drive. It seemed that Nightingale was able to have a second chance to be the hero, with a shot at a 36-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in regulation, but history repeated itself when the ball once again sailed wide left.

"It looked like we would deflate, but we made plays," said Tinninis. "We made it interesting, but we finished."

While Nightingale was unable to capitalize on his opportunities, Blue Devils running back Dustin Mowen stepped in to dominate on both sides of the ball. In the first quarter, Mowen scored from five yards out to cap an 16-play drive that covered 80 yards. Later in the quarter, he intercepted a DeLutis screen pass, returning it 75 yards for the score.

"I read the screen clearly," Mowen said. "I wanted it so bad."

Mowen also scored the other Greencastle touchdown, on a 35-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Mowen had 11 carries for 86 yards and three touchdowns. He added three crucial sacks, including two on consecutive plays in the third quarter to stop a potential Panthers scoring drive.

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