BIRDSBORO — Kyle Myers and his Daniel Boone football teammates are probably too young to remember how the John Elway-led Denver Broncos won the 1987 AFC Championship thanks in large part to an overtime-forcing 98-yard scoring drive.
Friday night at Brazinsky Stadium, the Blazers put together their own version of "The Drive.'
With Myers, Xavier Smith and Nick Hughes doing all of the running and the offensive line of Tyler McGrann, Jared Gaspari, Dylan Marquette, Jeremy Bartman and Connor Johnson paving the way, the Blazers put together a methodical and momentum-changing 18-play, 98-yard march that defined their 17-6 Berks League Section 1 victory over Reading on Senior Night.
"I would say that was the drive of the year for us,' said Daniel Boone coach Bill Parks, whose team improved to 2-3 in Section 1 and 3-5 overall.
When it began — after a 47-yard punt by Reading's Sterling Young-Trapp pinned the Blazers at their own 2 — Boone was clinging to a 7-6 lead with 8:23 left in the third quarter.
When it ended — with Myers scoring on a 9-yard run with 33 seconds left in the period — the Blazers were well on their way to their second win in the past three weeks.
"We just kept on grinding and executing,' said Myers, a 5-foot-7, 185-pound senior who ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. "We kept on thinking, ' We've got to keep motivated, we've got to stay focused the whole time.' It all really came from the offensive line. I'm so happy to have a line that, with guys that have so much heart.'
Smith, a 5-10, 188-pound speedster, got the drive started with a 2-yard run, then Myers followed with a key 12-yard gain that got the Blazers out of the shadow of their end zone.
Four first downs later, Boone had marched to the Red Knights 39, but a holding call on a big second-down gain by Smith and a 1-yard loss by Myers set up a third-and-16 play. Reading (1-4, 2-6) forced a an incompletion, but a defensive pass interference call made it third-and-1 and Myers moved the chains with a 3-yard gain.
From there, Myers got it five more times and finally hit paydirt on a second-and-8 play, putting Boone up 14-6.
"Our seniors up front, Dylan Marquette and Jeremy Bartman, really led the way,' Parks said. "And Kyle, Xavier and Nick just did a great job running the ball.'
Reading, which got a team-high 60 rushing yards from Jai Whitlock, drove to the Boone 30 to set the stage for a bizarre play that saw Marquette scoop up a fumble and rumble to the Reading 12 before Red Knights receiver Julius Young-Trapp stole the ball back.
But with the field tilted, the rapidly-improving Blazers defense was up to the task. Darius Hinton, Myers and Shayne Bookwalter each notched tackles for losses in forcing a punt with 7:49 left in the game.
Then Boone took more than five minutes off the clock in a march — highlighted by Paul Galanti's 25-yard Jet Sweep run — that set up Andrew Kresge's game-sealing 20-yard field goal with 2:43 left.
Smith delivered the icing on the cake with an red zone interception as Boone's defense allowed 182 total yards — its third straight sub-200-yard effort.
Middle linebacker Jon Passifione and Smith each finished with team-highs of eight tackles, while Hinton created mayhem in the Reading backfield all night — with five of his six tackles resulting in losses. Hinton and Passifione had one sack apiece.
"The key tonight was to tackle and to keep contain on the outside,' Passifione said. "Reading is a fast team, but we just kept contain and made tackles. And we did it together as a team.'
A team that, by the way, has been playing deceptively well over the past four weeks despite only having two wins to show for it.
"We keep getting in the weight room and working hard in practice,' Passifione said. "We're coming with the right intensity and the right tempo, and it's paying off. We come in thinking, ' We're not done,' and we know we still have the potential to do great things.'
Hughes, a sophomore quarterback, ran for 51 yards and Smith had 24 rushing yards as the Blazers' ground attack churned out 244 yards.
"We've faced a lot of adversity this year,' Parks said. "We played some really tough teams, and the kids could have easily packed it in, but they've continued to fight.
"Reading's athletic, man. They're really fast and we were worried about their defense because of their speed and athleticism, but our guys played with confidence and they knew what they were doing. We finally put together a complete game, and I couldn't be more proud of the kids.'
Reading QB Sterling Young-Trapp scored on a 1-yard run on a fourth-down play to put the Red Knights up 6-0 with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. Boone answered with a 17-yard scoring run by Myers (also on a fourth down play) with Kresge's extra point putting the Blazers up to stay with 44 seconds left in the first half. ... Kenny Joiner had a game-high 8.5 tackles for Reading.
Daniel Boone 17
Reading 6 0 0 0 — 6
Daniel Boone 0 7 7 3 — 17
R-S.Young-Trapp 1 run (pass failed)
DB-Myers 17 run (Kresge kick)
DB-Myers 9 run (Kresge kick)
DB-Kresge 20 FG
First Downs 13 17
Rushing yards 99 244
Passing yards 83 8
Total yards 182 252
Passes C-A-I 5-13-1 2-4-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7-60 5-40
Punts-Avg. 3-36.0 2-32.0
Reading: Whitlock 8-60, Branford 6-23, S.Young-Trapp 18-18, 1 TD, J.Young-Trapp 3-6, Sensenig 1-(-2), Whitfield 1-(-6).
Daniel Boone: K.Myers 24-144, 2 TDs; Hughes 15-51, Smith 6-24, Galanti 1-25.
Reading: S.Young-Trapp 5-13-83, 1 INT.
Daniel Boone: Hughes 2-4-8.
Reading: J.Young-Trapp 2-50, Owens 2-19, Giddens 1-14.
Daniel Boone: Smith 1-5, A.Myers 1-3.
Interceptions: Daniel Boone—Smith
Sacks: Daniel Boone—Passifione, Myers.
Follow Darryl Grumling on Twitter at @MercSmokinD.