One year ago, the Spring Grove football team was a one-win club.
As of Friday night, it is a one-win-away club.
The Rockets continued their improbable worst-to-first ascension on senior night at Papermaker Stadium, claiming a wild, 49-34 victory against Dallastown that featured nearly 1,100 yards of total offense.
The victory, Spring Grove's sixth straight, clinched at least a share of the YAIAA Division I crown for Russ Stoner's team. The Rockets were winless in the division in 2011; now, they are one win away from an unbeaten division mark. They will try to complete the sweep next week in the regular-season finale against South Western.
"When I got hired, I said we would do it," the second-year coach said. "That's what we're trying to build there. Dallastown played a fantastic football game tonight, and our kids just stuck in there and battled."
For Kevin Myers' Dallastown club, it was another near-miss in a season full of them.
"We've been tight all year," he said. "It's been a play here and a play there. They lay it on the line week in and week out, and it just seems like the other team gets one more in there."
The Wildcats capitalized on some early Spring Grove miscues (eight first-half penalties) and a handful of big plays. Dallastown built a 13-0 second-quarter lead on a 71-yard run by Robert Catchings and a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Andrew Henry.
After that, it was off to the races. The teams swapped three touchdowns in the final 4:02 of the first half, the last of which was a 4-yard reception by Dallastown's Josh Chronister with just 3.7 seconds left. The score gave the Wildcats a 21-13 lead at the break, but the Rockets took some optimism into the locker room.
"These guys are dynamic," Stoner said. "We went in and were calm and told them we can do this, it's not a big deal. It's 21-13, so let's just do what we do."
Jeff Delaughter started the ball with an 8-yard scoring run, capped by a Matt Runge conversion run that knotted the game at 21. Delaughter struck again on the next possession, ripping off a 90-yard touchdown run that gave Spring Grove its first lead at 28-21.
That advantaged lasted 16 seconds, erased when Alpha Khan turned on the jets on a 70-yard scoring pass from Andrew Henry to tie it again. The teams then again swapped touchdowns, but a missed extra point by Dallastown allowed Spring Grove to hold a 35-34 advantage.
Finally, Spring Grove gained the upper hand with just under four minutes remaining. Pinned at the Rockets' 3, Runge rolled right, looked back across the field and fired to an open Austin Klunk. The wideout shook three tackles down the sideline, and 97 yards later he had the insurance score.
Dallastown 7 14 7 6 -- 34
Sp. Grove 0 13 15 21 -- 49
Dt -- Robert Catchings 71 run (Josh Chronister kick), 2:03
Dt -- Andrew Henry 1 run (Chronister kick), 5:26
SG -- Logan Hagerman 31 pass from Matt Runge (kick failed), 4:02
SG -- Runge 1 run (Andrew Luckenbaugh kick), 1:27
Dt -- Chronister 4 pass from Henry (Chronister kick), :03.7
SG -- Jeff Delaughter 8 run (Runge run), 8:23
SG -- Delaughter 90 run (Luckenbaugh kick), 6:32
Dt -- Alpha Khan 70 pass from Henry (Chronister kick), 6:16
SG -- Hagerman 60 pass from Runge (Luckenbaugh kick), 10:58
Dt -- Khan 47 pass from Henry (kick failed), 7:52
SG -- Austin Klunk 97 pass from Runge (Luckenbaugh kick), 3:58
SG -- Kyle Michik 25 interception return (Luckenbaugh kick), 1:35
-- Dt -- SG
First downs -- 18 -- 17
Rushes-yards -- 36-215 -- 37-237
Passing -- 17-31-2 -- 15-25-1
Passing yards -- 279 -- 366
Total yards -- 494 -- 603
Punts -- 5-37.0 -- 6-28.3
Fumbles-lost -- 0-0 -- 0-0
Penalties-yards -- 1-5 -- 10-90
Rushing -- Dallastown, Robert Catchings 18-123, Andrew Henry 14-85, Adam Deardorff 2-5, Damoni Weaver 1-1, Alpha Khan 1-1; Spring Grove, Jeff Delaughter 21-183, Matt Runge 13-29, Logan Hagerman 3-25.
Passing -- Dallastown, Andrew Henry 17-31-2-279; Spring Grove, Matt Runge 15-25-1-366.
Receiving -- Dallastown, Josh Chronister 9-96, Alpha Khan 3-127, Adam Deardorff 2-21, Robert Catchings 1-26, Tyler Grier 1-6, Billy Wright 1-3; Spring Grove, Logan Hagerman 5-138, Austin Nee 4-88, Austin Klunk 3-115, Logan Hall 2-19, Delaughter 1-6.