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Devils' defense makes comeback stand

September 10, 2005|By CHRIS CARTER

GREENCASTLE, Pa.

Greencastle-Antrim proved the old adage that football is a game of inches.

After charging back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit, the Blue Devils came up with an enormous stop on fourth down with just over 2 minutes left to escape Kaley Field with a 25-21 victory over Palmyra.

On fourth-and-3 at the Greencastle 39-yard line, the Cougars handed the ball to Madison Schmehl, who powered his way into the Blue Devils' defense, only to come up shy of the first down marker. An official measurement proved the Greencastle defense had stood firm.

"They didn't get it by a couple of inches," Greencastle head coach Chuck Tinninis said. "That fourth down was the play of the game. They missed it by an inch."

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The defensive stand highlighted an emotional second half for Greencastle, which led 10-7 at halftime.

The Blue Devils opened the third quarter with an impressive four-play, 48-yard drive - before Palmyra's Lance Curry intercepted Travis Smith's pass and took it 82 yards up the sideline for a touchdown to give the Cougars a 14-10 lead.

Palmyra picked up another score on Jon Garver's 20-yard touchdown pass to Schmehl to up its lead to 21-10 approaching the fourth quarter.

"(The interception) gave them the momentum," Tininnis said. "They got up, but our kids never quit. We could have folded, but we didn't let the momentum build on us."

Greencastle answered with its potent running game. The Blue Devils used five backs and 12 plays to gobble up 76 yards, capped by a 2-yard touchdown dive by Ty Thrush and a two-point conversion run by Conrad Myers to close the gap to 21-18.

On the ensuing drive, Palmyra's Tyler Baker fumbled a quick screen pass, which was recovered by Greencastle's Dan Campbell at Palmyra's 16-yard line. Three plays later, Myers scored from 2 yards out to put the Blue Devils (2-0) ahead for good at 25-21.

Myers finished with 119 yards of offense - 71 rushing and 48 receiving - and two touchdowns, while Thrush picked up 81 yards and a TD on the ground. Adam Wiestling offset a sub-par punting night with a 27-yard field goal for Greencastle's first points of the game.

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