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Bitner kicks Blue Devils past Trojans

September 04, 2010|By CURT HORNBECKER/Staff Correspondent

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- What a debut!

Less than a week after learning he would be playing in his first high school football game, Luke Bitner nailed a 35-yard field goal as time expired to lift Greencastle-Antrim to a 20-17 win over Chambersburg in the first meeting between the two teams in 99 years on Friday at Kaley Field.

"I just kicked the ball," said the unassuming sophomore. "I kept my head down so I didn't see it go through, but I heard the crowd's roar so I knew we won."

The kick capped an amazing 18-second drive that was set up by Cody Ezolt's interception of a Connor McKoy pass, which gave the Blue Devils a first down on their own 46. Devin Schaeffer replaced starting quarterback Austin Scott and promptly completed passes to Chad Miller for 16 yards and Denton Cordell for 20.

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Greencastle called a timeout with two seconds left -- and the Trojans added a timeout trying to ice Bitner -- before the kick sailed well over the crossbar.

"I'm just a soccer player and the coaches asked me if I could play football," Bitner said. "After the (Ezolt) interception, I just thought, 'OK, now I have to kick the winning field goal.'"

But Bitner's opportunity almost didn't happen. After Chambersburg tied the score at 17 on Jamal Picket's 2-yard dash, a Greencastle fumble on the Trojans 40 gave Chambersburg a chance to win it until Ezolt's interception.

Greencastle coach Chuck Tinninis said he had confidence in Schaeffer at the helm with the game on the line.

"Scott did a real good job, and he makes things happen. But I think Schaeffer is a little better passer," Tinninis said.

With the Blue Devils holding a 17-10 lead early in the fourth quarter, Chambersburg engineered a 14-play drive that included a fourth-and-1 conversion, a 35-yard halfback pass on third-and-8 and a Blue Devils pass interference penalty on fourth-and-7 at the Grencastle 22.

The Blue Devils scored on their first possession, with Tyler Szaflarski pounding it in from the 8, but the Trojans responded with a 22-yard field goal by Colby Perry.

Chambersburg made it 10-7 on a Derek Burkhard plunge early in the second period before Bitner tied it with a 27-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the half.

After picking up 119 yards on 20 carries in the first half, Chambersburg was limited to just 34 rushing yards in the second half.

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