The Bulldogs streak of consecutive section wins reached 62 after edging out Manheim Township, 17-10 on Friday, October 21, 2016. Courtesy of LLLeagueSportsVideos.com
WEST LAWN — It took some special plays to stem the tide. Then some gritty effort at the end to pull out the win.
Shutout over one half of play, the Wilson Bulldogs came from behind to defeat the upset-minded Manheim Township Blue Streaks, 17-10, Friday night at Gurski Stadium, extending their Lancaster-Lebanon League winning streak to 62 consecutive games.
“It’s awesome, just keeping the streak alive,” said Bulldogs’ senior Mason McElroy, whose 30-yard punt return set up the game-tying field goal in the third quarter. “You don’t want to let down people who began the streak, so keeping it alive and just winning the game like this, it means a lot.”
Once Wilson (5-0 Section One, 7-1 overall) got back to even on Nick Borelli’s 36-yard field goal with 4:40 left in the third, the Bulldogs had regained the momentum in front of its raucous home crowd.
But Township (3-2, 4-4) drove down the field in six plays, aided by Rece Bender’s 37-yard catch from Luke Emge (11-for-19, 132 yards) down to the eight-yard line.
The Bulldog defense held, however, forcing a field goal attempt from Jack Rodenberger, who had staked Township to a 3-0 lead at the half with a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter.
This time, however, Rodenberger’s drive from the 18-yard line was blocked, knocked away by Isaiah Reigel who came bursting through the line.
“They called my name on the loudspeaker,’ McElroy said, “but Isaiah Reigel is actually the one who blocked it. I was attacking the edge but he came through the middle. He told me it hit his helmet; it must have been a low kick. Great play on him.”
Quarterback Connor Uhrig (17-for-22, 164 yards; 19 rushes, 69 yards) then took command, leading the Bulldogs to the end zone culminating with Iggy Reynoso’s 3-yard run on a pitch left. Reynoso finished with 56 yards on 18 carries.
Also on the drive, Uhrig found Alex Twiford (6 catches, 62 yards) on a key first down and found Brian Wright on a 4th-and-16 pass from the 22-yard line.
“For the most part he got the ball there and our guys caught it,” said Wilson head coach Dough Dahms on his junior quarterback. “Brian Wright had a couple nice ones… (Uhrig) let him go get it because that’s what Brian does.”
Township answered on a fantastic one-handed grab on a shallow-post route by Grayson Sallade (3 catches, 46 yards), racing 31-yards to pay dirt to knot the score at 10-10 with 4:29 remaining.
But Uhrig again drove the offense down the field, carrying the load with four completions to four different receivers, and finishing the drive with three straight runs, the latter a two-yarder with 0:26 on the clock.
“Tough-nosed, I’m going to win a football game,” Dahms said of his quarterback’s fourth-quarter demeanor, “which was pretty much how they all played. They’re just not going to be denied.”
Turnovers were a big factor for both sides. Following a 61-yard scamper from Emge (10-57) late in the first quarter, the quarterback fumbled at the five-yard line to allow the Bulldogs to stay within striking distance.
Then on Wilson’s opening drive of the second half, Uhrig’s pass to Wright inside the redzone was knocked loose by Sallade, recovered by Township.
But Wilson’s defense held, and McElroy’s ensuing punt return set up the tying score.
“Isaiah Gilmore, he sprung the block,” McElroy began, “but literally without them (the Bulldog blockers) I can’t do my job. They do everything for me, I just catch the ball and run.
And from there, the Bulldogs continued to run with a fine fourth-quarter.
“I mean, just, I don’t know,” McElroy said. “Football game. Championship-caliber game. That’s what you (play) for. It was awesome.”
Q1 (5:38) – MT, FG, J. Rodenberger 31, 3-0
Q3 (4:40) – WLSN, FG, N. Borelli 36, 3-3
Q4 (8:47) – WLSN, I. Reynoso 2-yd rush (N. Borelli kick), 3-10
Q4 (4:29) – MT, G. Sallade 31-yd pass from L. Emge (J. Rodenberger kick), 10-10
Q4 (0:26) – WLSN, C. Uhrig 2-yd rush (N. Borelli kick), 10-17
FIRST DOWNS — 9 18
RUSHES / YARDS — 23-85 38-135
COMP / ATT / INT — 12-20-0 17-22-0
PASSING YARDS — 133 164
TOTAL YARDS — 216 291
SACKED / YDS LOST — 1-2 2-7
PUNTS / AVG — 3-44 3-30
FUMBLES / LOST — 3-1 3-1
PENALTIES / YARDS — 4-46 7-55
RUSHING — MT, L. Emge 10-57, G. Sallade 11-21, M. Van Gorden 2-7. WLSN, I. Reynoso 18-56, C. Uhrig 19-69, M. McElroy 1-10.
PASSING — MT, L. Emge 11-19-0-132, G. Sallade 1-1-0-1. WLSN, C. Uhrig 17-22-0-164.
RECEIVING — MT, R. Bender 4-62, K. Kubicki 5-25, G. Sallade 3-46. WLSN, J. Weller 6-36, B. Wright 2-45, A. Twiford 6-62, M. McElroy 2-11, I. Reynoso 1-10.