The Eagles stunned previously unbeaten Manheim Central, 28-24 on Friday, September 30, 2016. Video by John Buffone
MANHEIM — Having played out every bit of 48 excruciating minutes, one can be sure that the Cocalico Eagles are going to enjoy every bit of their victory for the next 24 hours.
Because after a rough-and-tumble 0-2 start, the Eagles are suddenly flying high following back-to-back wins over undefeated teams, the most recent being Cocalico’s 28-24 win over the Manheim Central Barons Friday night in Manheim.
“We have a lot of resilience,” said Cocalico running back Brandon Brubaker, who rushed for a game-high 187 yards on 22 carries. “Coach always says 48 minutes, 48 minutes, and we try to do that as much as we can and we did the past two weeks.”
After a back-and-forth contest that included seven lead-changes, it was the final minute which proved most significant.
With the Barons’ sitting pretty at the nine-yard line and exactly one minute on the clock, Manheim quarterback Kody Kegarise looked to big-framed receiver Austin Geib in the right corner of the end zone. But Eagles’ junior cornerback Owen Zimmerman stood his ground on the route before snagging the game-clinching interception.
“Owen gets a lot of grief from a lot of coaches, whether it’s me, whether it’s his D-Back coach, whether it’s his special teams coach,” offered Cocalico’s Dave Gingrich. “That’s a man-sized play at a big time. I’m so proud of Owen because when you constantly get (coached-up), sometimes you’ll not have a lot of confidence. That’s a confidence play right there.”
Gaining confidence was also key for Cocalico (2-0 Section Two, 3-2 overall) right before the half. After Kegarise gave Manheim (1-1, 4-1) a 10-7 lead with a great diving catch on a trick-play pass from Mitchell Ruth, the Eagles drove for a touchdown on just four plays — including a spike to stop the clock — in the final minute, beginning with Brubaker’s 53-yard scamper up the middle.
“I knew I would try to get as many yards as possible,” Brubaker said regarding the possibility of just running out the clock. “I saw the hole, I hit it, and kept running.”
After tipping a pass, Cocalico DB Conlan Kerschner stayed with the ball and was able to haul in an amazing interception vs Manheim Central on Friday, September 30, 2016. Video by John Buffone
Colton Goodman (14 rushes, 108 yards, 3TDs) capped the drive with an eight-yard rush around the end with just nine seconds before halftime.
Earlier in the quarter, an interception by Conlan Kerschner helped to setup the Eagles’ eight-play, 61-yard drive finished off by Goodman’s 29-yard burst. Goodman would then tally the game-winning score with 7:50 to play in the fourth quarter on a nifty cut-back from 21-yards out.
“(Quarterback) Brady (Sawyer) made good reads,” Brubaker said. “When I got the ball the hole was there most of the time. I don’t care if I got hit every play and didn’t get the ball at all, as long as we were playing as a team, getting the ball outside to Goodman. It’s a good team win.”
Sawyer’s five-yard touchdown run answered a 4-yard score from Kegarise (16 rushes, 143 yards; 10-for-22 passing, 126 yards) in the third quarter. Central then took the lead for one last time in the fourth quarter on a physical 3-yard burst form Jay Barreto (16-103).
But Cocalico made Central earn everything it got Friday night, which was crucial to the Eagles’ success.
“Tonight, we didn’t have many breakdowns on defense,” Gingrich said. “They’re a good team, you don’t come in averaging 50 points a game, 500 yards of offense, giving up 150, without being a good team. We beat a good team tonight.”
“This should be more motivation to work harder,” the coach added, calling the win “one of the bigger ones” of his sum of 26-years on the Eagles’ sideline.
One might think, however, that a bigger win implies the need for a longer celebration.
“We have a 24-hour rule,” Brubaker said. “You can celebrate all you want 24 hours, but when that time comes, you’re onto the next week, next job, next assignment.”
COC _00_14_07_07_ —_28
MC _03_07_07_07_ —_24
Q1 (8:44) – MC, B. Kready 34-yd FG, 0-3
Q2 (4:19) – COC, C. Goodman 29-yd rush (B. Puodziunas kick), 7-3
Q2 (0:43) – MC, K. Kegarise 3-yd pass from M. Ruth (B. Kready kick), 7-10
Q2 (0:09) – COC, C. Goodman 8-yd rush (B. Puodziunas kick), 14-10
Q3 (8:03) – MC, K. Kegarise 4-yd rush (B. Kready kick), 14-17
Q3 (4:46) – COC, B. Sawyer 5-yd rush (B. Puodziunas kick), 21-17
Q4 (11:54) – MC, J. Barreto 3-yd rush (B. Kready kick), 21-24
Q4 (7:51) – COC, C. Goodman 21-yd rush (B. Puodziunas kick), 28-24
FIRST DOWNS — 16 16
RUSHES / YARDS — 53-339 34-232
COMP / ATT / INT — 1-3-0 11-23-2
PASSING YARDS — 30 129
TOTAL YARDS — 365 361
SACKED / YDS LOST — 1-4 0-0
PUNTS / AVG — 4-33 1-33
FUMBLES / LOST — 2-0 2-0
PENALTIES / YARDS — 4-25 5-35
RUSHING — COC, B. Brubaker 22-187, C. Goodman 14-108, B. Sawyer 16-43, A. Landers 1-1. MC, K. Kegarise 16-143, J. Barreto 16-103, T. Flick 1--1, B. Myer 1--13.
PASSING — COC, B. Sawyer 0-2-0-0, N. Palm 1-1-0-30. MC, K. Kegarise 10-22-2-126, M. Ruth 1-1-0-3.
RECEIVING — COC, M. Caffrey 1-30. MC, J. Novak 4-35, A. Geib 3-56, M. Ruth 3-35, K. Kegarise 1-3.