York, PA - When William Penn needed a few motivational words at halftime, Kelvin Nieves provided them.
He also did so much more.
A 75-yard run to put the Bearcats in position to tie the score? Nieves did it.
The final tackle on fourth down needed to prevent Dallastown from coming back? Of course Nieves was the one in the backfield, making the play.
The Bearcats senior did everything his team required of him to rally from a 16-point halftime deficit Friday and beat Dallastown, 29-22, on their homecoming night at Small Field. He did everything but win homecoming king, but perhaps his performance warrants a recasting of the ballots.
Nieves rushed 18 times for 136 yards. He scored the game's final two touchdowns and preserved the win by wrapping up Dallastown's Robert Catchings in the backfield on a fourth-and-5 from the William Penn 6-yard line with 1:25 to go.
"I knew they were going to give the ball to him," Nieves said. "It's play recognition. They were running to the left, going to the open field, so I knew where the ball was going."
The play would not have developed had Bearcats coach Shawn Heinold gotten a timeout before Dallastown -- which had just come out of its own timeout. Nieves, anticipating the play, said he was relieved no officials saw his coach before the snap. That allowed the Wildcats to go one more time to Catchings after it had worked so well so often Friday night.
Lost in the Bearcats' win, which will send them to Spring Grove (5-2, 2-0) next week with first place in YAIAA Division I on the line, was Catchings' running. The junior from Dallastown (3-4, 1-1) rushed 30 times for 208 yards and a touchdown.
The Bearcats (3-4, 2-0) had no answer for him, until Dallastown crept inside the 10 during the final 2 minutes. The Wildcats' last three plays went to Catchings. He gained 3 yards before getting stopped for a loss on the next two.
"In the first half, everybody was giving up because they were running on us," Nieves said. "Everybody was giving up, putting their heads down, but I came back for the second half. I told everybody to keep our heads up. 'We've got two more quarters. We've got to go hard.' I told them, they promised me a win, so we came out and got that win."
In doing so, Heinold allowed for aggressive playcalling. He let James Way -- who had completed only two short passes on five attempts in the first half -- go long to Derek Wilson. In turn, the sophomore quarterback who moved to the area from Virginia this summer, completed eight of his last nine passes to spur the rally.
Way was not even the starter until Tavon Parker opted to concentrate on basketball a few weeks ago. Five times, Way found Parker's standout basketball teammate Derek Wilson. The two biggest were jumpballs. One turned into a 32-yard touchdown and another led to Nieves' winning score.
Heinold even recalled telling the 6-foot-2 Wilson: "Take it off the rim."
Once Wilson hauled in Way's 30-yard pass in front of the Bearcats' sideline on their winning drive, the players watching began to talk. "We're going to do this," one player said.
Once they did, the Division I school with fewer than 40 players on its roster celebrated an upset of a team with nearly double that number.
"I think that makes them a better group," Dallastown coach Kevin Myers said.
Nieves agreed, saying "We just had to pick each other up."
Dallastown 10 6 6 0 -- 22
Wm. Penn 0 0 22 7 -- 29
Dt -- Josh Chronister 34 FG, 5:52.
Dt -- Chandler Green 16 pass from Andrew Henry (Chronister kick), 0:33.
Dt -- Drew Romesberg 20 pass from Kyle Andrews (kick failed), 1:39.
WP -- John Philips 16 pass from James Way (Thurman Fogleman kick), 8:05.
WP -- Derek Wilson 5 pass from Way (Fogleman kick), 2:44.
Dt -- Robert Catchings 10 run (kick failed), 0:46.
WP -- Kelvin Nieves 75 run (Way run), 0:08.
WP -- Nieves 3 run (Fogleman kick), 5:22.
-- Dt -- WP
First downs -- 15 -- 13
Rushes-yards -- 41-207 -- 36-178
Passing -- 8-13-0 -- 10-15-0
Passing yards -- 70 -- 113
Total yards -- 277 -- 291
Fumbles-lost -- 3-1 -- 3-1
Penalties-yards -- 4-40 -- 4-35
Rushing -- Dallastown, Catchings 30-208, Henry 9-(-)8, Dezmond Jones 1-5, Adam Deardorff 1-2; William Penn, Nieves 18-136, Way 15-39, Bryshon Sweeney 2-(-1), Wilson 1-5.
Passing -- Dallastown, Henry 7-12-50-0, Andrews 1-1-20-0; William Penn, Way 10-15-113-0.
Receiving -- Dallastown, Chronister 3-19, Alpha Khan 2-15, Green 1-16, Romesberg 1-20, Deardorff 1-0; William Penn, Wilson 7-84, Sweeney 2-13, Philips 1-16.