For a few seconds, it looked as if South Western was on the verge of pulling off a miracle comeback.
Brock Geiman threw a 10-yard slant over the middle of the field to Noah Staub, who flipped it to Jeff Green, who sprinted down the sideline toward a touchdown that — with a successful two-point conversion — would have tied the game. But Dallstown's Anthony Garcia caught up to Green as he entered the red zone, and pushed him out of bounds with seven seconds remaining.
"It's not something we practice," South Western coach Damian Poalucci said of the trick play. "It was just a little too late. We left too many things on the field tonight, we made too many mistakes on plays we should've made. And it cost us."
Two incomplete passes later, it was instead the Wildcats (7-0, 4-0 YAIAA Division I) who celebrated a dramatic 29-21 victory in the Mustang Corral to take sole possession of first place in the division.
For the second week in a row, Dallastown quarterback Cade Gold provided the fourth-quarter heroics, as he ran for what proved to be the deciding touchdown with 7:47 left in the game. South Western (5-2, 3-1) had just cut Dallastown's lead to 21-13 when Gold faked a handoff and dashed 54 yards for a score on the first play of the Wildcats' ensuing drive.
"The great thing about option football is one missed assignment and Cade was able to take it in for the decisive touchdown," Dallastown coach Kevin Myers said. "Its hard to describe what Cade is, but he's a heck of a competitor. Sometimes it makes me pull my hair out, but he's shifty, he's sometimes hard to bring down, and he's got wheels."
Gold finished with 20 carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns, as well as four passes for 41 yards.
The Wildcats now sit alone atop the Division I standings with an unblemished record after back-to-back dramatic wins against teams that entered those games with undefeated division records. But Myers isn't ready to say his team has accomplished anything just yet.
"Every team we play is good in their own right," Myers said. "I know what people say, but (next week's opponent) New Oxford is gonna want to come out and knock the Wildcats off. We have to prepare; since we started league play we've said every week is championship week."
South Western, meanwhile, looks to get back to track and keep pace in case Dallastown falters in the final three weeks of the season.
"There's two ways to go: we can either splinter and finish poorly or rally together to finish 3-0," Poalucci said. "We can be 8-2 and go into the playoffs on a roll. I told them we're gonna come out and coach as hard as we can on Monday. We need to lick our wounds and get healthy and come out to do that. It's their choice now. But I know what they're gonna do and I'm excited about that."
Dt— Zion DeVance 1 run (Drake Pew kick), 7:08.
Dt — Cade Gold 2 run (Pew kick), 1:45.
SW — Jeff Green 68 run (kick failed), 1:27.
Dt— Jake Garrity 2 run (Pew kick), 5:45.
SW — Green 44 pass from Brock Geiman (Wes Sneeringer kick), 8:44.
Dt — Gold 54 run (Jawaun McMillan pass from Brett Smith), 7:47.
SW — Staub 21 pass from Brock Geiman (Green pass from Geiman), 3:41.
DtSWFirst downs1016Rushes-yards47-19125-168Passing4-815-32-1Passing yards41239Total yards232407Punts5-29.44-27.5Fumbles-lost1-03-1Penalties-yards11-1008-82
Rushing — Dt, Zion DeVance 14-44, Cade Gold 20-135, Dillon Callahan 6-45, Jake Garrity 6-16, Jack Marks 1-1, Jake Jansen 1-4. SW, Mike Johnson 7-27, Brock Geiman 7-34, Zack Hughes 3-11, Miles Francis 3-13, Tyler Fulmore 2-4, Robby Harbison 1-4, Nigel Williams 1-7, Jeff Green 1-68.
Passing — Dt, Gold 4-8-0-41. SW, Geiman 15-32-1-239.
Receiving — Dt, Jensen 2-27, Connor Moore 1-2, Anthony Garcia 1-12. SW, Noah Staub 9-105, Green 5-121, Hughes 1-13.
This story has been updated with the correct results for Cade Gold.