Langhorne, Pa. >> If football doesn’t work out for Neshaminy High School sophomore Oleh Manzyk, he may have a lucrative future in the casino business.
That’s because in Friday night’s first round of the PIAA District One Class 6A playoffs, he played visiting Pennridge like a one-armed bandit.
With his right arm heavily wrapped and seemingly dangling from the shoulder due to an undisclosed injury, Manzyk lit up the Rams for 212 receiving yards and three touchdowns as Neshaminy overcame a 14-point hole to win, 26-21.
With the win, second-seeded Neshaminy (11-0) advances to play 10th-seeded Garnet Valley (9-2) in the quarterfinals next Friday night in Langhorne. Garnet Valley beat Central Bucks South in the first round.
Neshaminy scored two touchdowns in the final seven minutes of play to overcome an uncharacteristic four turnovers in the first two-and-a-half quarters.
Mike Garlick also caught a touchdown that would have tied the game at 21 with 6:51 to go had Pennridge not blocked the extra point. That set up Mason Jones’ winning 11-yard scoring toss to Manzyk with 2:41 left to play.
Jones finished the night with 278 yards passing and four touchdowns, despite three interceptions.
“We as a team never give up. When our backs are against the wall, we think about each other. We will not back down from any challenge,” Garlick said. “We play hard, stay positive and stay humble.”
“We knew we were capable. Our offense is a great offense,” Manzyk said. “We knew what we were supposed to do and we executed. And Mason was Mason. He had an excellent game.”
The night began ominously for the Skins as Pennridge almost recovered the opening kickoff at Neshaminy’s 25-yard line. The Skins went nowhere and punted, leaving Pennridge with the ball at midfield.
The Rams used seven plays to go 51 yards and scored on Jagger Hartshorn’s 11-yard run less than four minutes into the game.
Neshaminy replied with Jones’ 72-yard touchdown pass to Manzyk to tie the game.
Pennridge returned the favor late in the first after a Jones interception. Oliver Jervis completed an 81-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Cuthbert as the Rams led, 14-7.
Neshaminy turned the ball over twice more in the half. Pennridge took a 21-7 lead into halftime when Jackson Henry blocked a punt by Neshaminy’s Dylan McDonald, then Joe Devine returned the ball 30 yards for a touchdown.
Earlier in the quarter, Neshaminy’s Savion Hebron blocked a Pennridge punt, but the Skins didn’t capitalize.
The wild opening half seemed a continuation of Neshaminy’s 31-24 win in the season’s second week, when the Rams also went toe-to-toe with the favored Skins. Neshaminy actually had more yards and first downs than the Rams in the first half, but trailed on the scoreboard.
“Pennridge came out swinging. They did a good job early on and our coaches did a good job at halftime. They showed us what we did wrong and what their defense did. And we tried to counter that,” Manzyk said.
The comeback began midway through the third quarter when Jones passed 76 yards to Manzyk for a touchdown on a third-and-10 play.
On Neshaminy’s next possession, the offense moved 90 yards in 19 plays including fourth-down conversions. All of the fourth-down plays were Jones passes, including two to Manzyk and one to Corey Joyce. Garlick’s touchdown finished the drive.
On the ensuing extra point attempt, Pennridge jumped offside as McDonald kick the ball through the uprights. Initially the officials awarded the tying point, but they waived it off, ruling that the penalty was a dead-ball foul. Pennridge blocked the re-kick and still led by one point.
Neshaminy’s defense answered the call again and got the ball back for the offense with 5:16 to play to set up the winning drive.
District 1 Class 6A Tournament
Neshaminy 26, Pennridge 21
(Nov. 4 at Neshaminy)
Pennridge (5-6) 14 7 0 0 — 21
Neshaminy (11-0) 7 0 7 12 — 26
P — Hartshorn 11 run (Mauer kick)
N — Manzyk 72 pass from Jones (McDonald kick)
P — Cuthbert 81 pass from Jervis (Mauer kick)
P — Devine 30 punt block return (Mauer kick)
N — Manzyk 76 pass from Jones (McDonald kick)
N — Garlick 5 pass from Jones (kick blocked)
N — Manzyk 11 pass from Jones (pass failed)