A collective breath -- followed by a palpable exhale and the sound of pure delight -- is all Alex George heard after he crossed the goal line in the second overtime Friday night.
George's run on a 2-point conversion attempt against Conestoga Valley in the second round of the District 3 Class AAA championships had just catapulted his West York football team to a 35-34 win over the visiting Buckskins.
A gamble, perhaps, but one that nobody on the West York sideline questioned.
"I told them before overtime started, once (Conestoga Valley) goes ahead of us, we're going for two," Bulldogs coach Ron Miller said.
That time came in the second OT with West York trailing by seven.
As Miller watched
Celebration time. At least for now, but it won't last long as third-seeded West York begins preparing this morning for its next challenge against at Susquehanna Township. The second-seeded Indians (11-1) advanced to Friday's semifinals by outlasting Cocalico, 50-32.
"I'm just excited for practice," George said after the game. "It means we're still playing."
West York (11-1) struggled early against Conestoga Valley (7-5), which at one point held a two-touchdown lead over the defending District 3 champion Bulldogs.
It was no secret to anyone Friday night that in order for West York to keep driving in the offseason, it was going to have to derail Buckskin running back Kevin Kelley.
Kelley was far from contained by the Bulldogs as he piled up 232 yards on 38 carries. In the end, though, he really didn't hurt West York.
"We won, so yes, we contained him enough," Miller said after the game. "It doesn't matter what you win by, just that you win."
Down 20-12 entering the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs scored an early touchdown on a 41 yard pass from George to Dan Gay. The two hooked up on the conversion pass to even the game at 20.
West York had an opportunity to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, handing Conestoga Valley its worst field position of the game at the Buckskins' 9-yard line.
West York's defense put together a defensive stand, forcing the visitors to punt deep in their own territory.
Corey Harris, who had trouble finding his groove on offense, made Conestoga Valley pay, returning the kick 17 yards and setting the Bulldogs up at the CV 29.
George took the first play five yards but had trouble handling the second snap.
Conestoga pounced on West York's first fumble of the game as the turnover ended the Bulldogs' threat.
The Buckskins drove down the field but couldn't find the end zone in the final four minutes of regulation.
West York took the ball first in overtime, but couldn't score on the first three downs. From the 7 on fourth down, George went to the air, looking for Brett Campbell in the end zone.
Campbell couldn't pull in the pass, but the Buckskins were called for pass interference, giving West York four more shots.
It took Harris two stabs from the backfield before he finally scored, and Blake Shaffer hit his first extra point of the game, giving West York a seven-point advantage.
Conestoga Valley didn't waste any time tying the game. Alex Dienner hit Joel Leicy from 8 yards out and Robbie Cardina tacked on the extra point.
Another 8-yard pass from Dienner -- this time to Stefan Sensenig -- and a Cardina conversion kick gave the Buckskins a one-touchdown advantage.
It took three plays for Harris to find the end zone for the Bulldogs, setting up West York's conversion attempt.
"I said to our offensive coordinator, 'We cannot let (George) go out with that fumble,'" Miller said. "Whatever it takes, either him or Corey was going to get the ball. We were either going to win it or lose it there."
George followed his right guard and tackle into end zone without hesitation as he saw the defense open up.
And that guaranteed at least one more week of work for the defending district champs.
CoV 6 6 8 0 7 7 -- 34
W.Y. 0 6 6 8 7 8 -- 35
CV -- Diaire Brison 25 pass from Alex Dienner (kick blocked) 5:27
WY --Alex George 65 run (kick blocked), 8:57
CV --Robbie Cardina 21 FG, 5:04
CV --Cardina 30 FG, :00
CV --Kevin Kelley 10 run (Stefan Sensenig pass from Dienner), 2:44
WY -- Brett Campbell 31 pass from George (kick blocked), 1:56
WY --Dan Gay 41 pass from George (Gay pass from George), 11:07
WY --Corey Harris 4 run (Blake Shaffer kick)
CV --Joel Leicy 8 pass from Dienner (Cardina kick)
CV --Sensenig 8 pass from Alex Dienner (Cardina kick)
WY --Harris 1 run (George run)
-- CV -- WY
First downs -- 16 -- 10
Rushes-yards -- 48-265 -- 30-122
Passing -- 10-15-0 -- 11-18-0
Passing yards -- 123 -- 186
Total yards -- 388 -- 308
Punts -- 4-33 -- 4-33
Fumbles-lost -- 1-1 -- 1-1
Penalties-yards -- 5-19 -- 3-15
Rushing -- Conestoga Valley, Kevin Kelley 38-232, Joel Leicy 9-33, Alex Dienner 1-0; West York, Alex George 13-70, Corey Harris 17-52.
Passing -- Conestoga Valley, Alex Dienner 10-15-0-123; West York, Alex George 11-18-0-186.
Receiving -- Conestoga Valley, Stefan Sensenig 4-49, Joel Leicy 2-23, Conner Kruis 2-15, Diaire Brison 1-25, Joel Lapp 1-11; West York, Brett Campbell 4-95, Dan Gay 3-67, Corey Harris 2-17, Kenji Williams 1-5, Darion Bundy 1-2.
Also of interest· The dogs got out: Book profiles West York championship football season