While Greg Bowman would prefer to deliver his halftime address with his Northern York Polar Bears holding a lead of any length, sitting in arrears at the break hasn't been costly to his streaking football team.
Shrugging off a halftime deficit for the third week in a row, Bowman's surging bunch rallied for a 24-19 win against Shippensburg in a taut Mid Penn Colonial Division scrap Friday night at Bostic Field.
"We've made a habit of having to come back in the second half," Bowman said. "But the kids continue to band together in the second half and do what has to be done to win a football game.
"And if the other team can make a few mistakes to help us out, it certainly doesn't upset me at all," added Bowman, whose Polar Bears (6-1, 4-0) maintained their share of the Mid Penn Colonial lead while winning their fifth straight.
One of those mistakes — Austin Wenger blocked an Eddie Ocker punt — enabled the Polar Bears to grab an early 7-0 lead when Michael Kearney blasted over from the 2 to put Northern up.
Eric Foust's Greyhounds (4-3, 1-2) promptly responded, pulling even when Zion Ware bounced in from 12 yards out to cap an 82-yard march.
"Our kids have heart," a disappointed Foust said. "Our kids play with heart. I'm not upset with our kids. I'm upset with the mistakes we made.
"If we prevent one of the two it's a different game — but we made both mistakes."
And the second was equally costly.
Although Northern was able to regain the lead midway through the third when quarterback Curtis Robison leaped over the pile, the Polar Bears soon had the ball back at the Ship 31 when Ware fumbled and Bobby Shelly recovered.
Two plays later — Northern was flagged for holding on the first — Robison found Joey Razzano on a quick slant that turned into a 41-yard score.
Despite conceding scores 55 seconds apart, Shippensburg fought back.
Buoyed by a fourth-down conversion and a defensive holding call, the 'Hounds cashed in with 1:14 left in the third when Ware scored from the 2.
Shippensburg had one last chance, advancing as deep as the Northern 14, but a broken play and a Tyler Gustafson incompletion ended that threat.
"Our defense has stepped up the past couple weeks," Shelly said. "And I've been thankful that we've all been a part of coming together and doing the best we can to come out with a win."
Northern York 24, Shippensburg 19
NY — Michael Kearney 2 run (Aidan Alves kick), 8:15
S — Zion Ware 12 run (Eddie Ocker kick), 4:45
NY — FG Alves 26, 11:11
S — Wade Mills 29 pass from Tyler Gustafson (kick failed), 4:16
NY — Curtis Robison 1 run (Alves kick), 6:21
NY — Joey Razzano 41 pass from Robison (Alves kick), 5:26
S — Ware 2 run (run failed), 1:14
SNYFirst downs1512Rushes-yards34-18543-196Passing11-17-05-8-0Passing yards12172Total yards306268Punts2-9.53-21.7Fumbles-lost 1-12-0Penalties-yards2-236-39
Rushing — Shippensburg, Zion Ware 19-115, Cole Friese 11-66, Adam Houser 3-8, Tyler Gustafson 1-(-4). Northern York, Bobby Shelly 19-105, Michael Kearney 12-51, Curtis Robison 5-45, Justin Markle 5-(-1), Team 2-(-4).
Passing — Shippensburg, T.Gustafson 11-17-0-121. Northern York, Robison 2-3-0-51, Markle 3-5-0-21.
Receiving — Shippensburg, Cody Gustafson 6-60, Wade Mills 4-34, Houser 1-27. Northern York, Joey Razzano 2-49, Jared Sutch 2-20, Jake Cromer 1-3.