YEADON >> Interboro offensive linemen Mike MacMillen, Quinten Frangelli and Ray Bevan had the bucket in their hands and their intended target in their sights when their plans for the traditional “Gatorade Bath” following a championship suddenly changed.
“Coach Lennox saw us,” MacMillen said.
That would be Steve Lennox, Interboro’s head coach.
And so with Lennox aware of their intentions, and being the resourceful types, Frangelli, MacMillen and Bevan doused offensive line coach Mark Burrell instead, which was fitting.
It was the play of the offensive line, coupled with a stout effort by the defense in the second half, that enabled the Bucs to rally from a 10-point, first-quarter deficit to win their first Del Val League title since 2009 with a 42-24 victory over Penn Wood Friday night at Kerr Field.
“Our offensive line always comes through,” Interboro running back Chris Thomas said. “That’s Buc football.”
Interboro (9-1 , 5-0 league) did not deviate from its game plan, which was to run the ball, after the Patriots hit the Bucs with a flurry of three touchdowns in the final 3 minutes, 20 seconds of the first quarter.
Answered Gleplay sprinted 79 yards, Tyreem Welton raced 70 yards for a score and Gleplay went 46 yards as time expired as the Patriots (7-3, 3-2) turned an 8-0 deficit into a 18-8 lead.
Interboro did not panic, pounding away at the Patriots behind the big guys up front and it paid off.
Interboro had 62 plays from scrimmage, 57 were running plays. The Bucs pounded out 294 yards on the ground to keep Penn Wood’s offense off the field. Thomas did most of that work, carrying the ball 32 times for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Kalie Kuyateh added 97 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts.
“They run their offense, that’s what they do,” said Penn Wood coach Nick Lincoln, whose team should qualify for the District 1 Class 6A playoffs despite the loss. “Chris Thomas is a great back. He may be the best back in the county and they controlled the line of scrimmage. They’ve been doing that all year.”
While the offense was its usual, grind-it-out self, the defense survived that early blow and came up with three turnovers that switched the momentum in Interboro’s favor.
Manny Obaseime pounced on a bad snap from center and the Bucs did not squander the opportunity. Six plays later quarterback Nate Murtha threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Colin Ravert to put the Bucs up, 23-18, with 56 seconds to play in the half. It was Murtha’s only completion of the game.
However, Murtha was not finished. Penn Wood drove to the Interboro 10-yard line on its ensuing possession only to have Murtha end the threat with an interception in the end zone. It was the first of two interceptions for the senior and the first of two picks in the end zone for the Bucs. Linebacker Shane Beckwith picked off Penn Wood quarterback Javon Lindsey-Terrell in the end zone on the Patriots first possession of the second half.
“Both of those interceptions were huge,” Murtha said. “It turned the whole game around.”
Gleplay, who ran for 137 yards and two TDs for the Patriots, wholeheartedly agreed.
“The turnovers were killers,” Gleplay said. “Everything went downhill after that fumble.”
Murtha’s second interception sealed it and gave MacMillen, Frangelli and Bevan a chance to grab the bucket to start the championship celebration off right, even though they had to change targets at the last second.
“We got Coach Lennox last week after the (Academy Park) game,” MacMillen said. “After he saw us we decided to dump it on Coach Burrell instead.”