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Interboro squanders early lead, comes up short in OT to Pottsgrove

GLENOLDEN >> Pottsgrove defensive tackle Michael Dickey was a little late getting to his spot as Interboro lined up for a two-point conversion attempt that would determine the District 1 Class 4A championship.

Usually, being tardy in such a crucial situation is disastrous.

It wasn’t.

Dickey, a 5-9, 230-pound junior, blew through an opening in the line and wrapped his arms around the legs of Chris Thomas to slow Interboro’s leading rusher long enough until help arrived to give the Falcons the stop they needed to secure their first district title with a

Pottsgrove's Rahsul Faison, right, gets around an Interboro tackler as he did all night in a 27-26 Pottsgrove win in overtime of the District 1 Class 4A final. (Digital First Media/Rick Kauffman)

Pottsgrove’s Rahsul Faison, right, gets around an Interboro tackler as he did all night in a 27-26 Pottsgrove win in overtime of the District 1 Class 4A final. (Digital First Media/Rick Kauffman)

27-26 victory over the Bucs in overtime Friday night at the South Avenue Athletic Complex.

“I just did everything that I could,” Dickey said. “I stayed low, did what my coaches told me to do.”

Pottsgrove (8-4) was not surprised that Interboro went for two after Thomas scored on a two-yard run on Interboro’s possession in the extra session.

“I knew Steve (Lennox, Interboro’s coach) was going for two there,” Pottsgrove coach Rick Pennypacker said. “He did that when we played them in 2009.”

Nor where the Falcons shocked that Thomas got the call in that crucial situation.

“They gave him the ball every time they went with two tight ends like that,” Dickey said.

As for the decision to go for two, Lennox felt he had no other choice.

“We were having trouble with the snapper,” Lennox said. “You saw the snaps earlier in the game.”

Lennox stayed with that decision even after the Falcons called timeout.

“I had it in my mind that we were going for two,” Lennox said. “It’s a bummer.”

Teammates celebrate around Pottsgrove quarterback Ryan Finn, center, who scored on a QB sneak in overtime of the Falcons' 27-26 overtime win over Interboro. (Digital First Media/Rick Kauffman)

Teammates celebrate around Pottsgrove quarterback Ryan Finn, center, who scored on a QB sneak in overtime of the Falcons’ 27-26 overtime win over Interboro. (Digital First Media/Rick Kauffman)

Especially after the Bucs opened up a 20-7 lead in the second quarter and took a 20-13 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Junior Kalie Kuyateh stole much of the thunder from an anticipated showdown between Thomas and Pottsgrove’s Rahsul Faison. Kuyateh scored twice on runs of 33 and 67 yards and had 118 of his 123 yards on the ground in the first half as the Bucs put up 192vrushing yards in the first 24 minutes.

However, Interboro had just 98 yards on the ground and 130 yards of total offense in the second half.

“We didn’t do anything differently,” Dickey said. “We just kept playing physical.”

It was smash mouth football, as expected. With Kuyateh and Thomas leading the way, Interboro ran for 290 yards. Thomas finished with 113vyards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

Pottsgrove stayed on the ground, too, running for 209 yards, 96 in the second half and overtime. Faison did not disappoint. The junior ran for 171 yards and two TDs on 33 carries.

“They were just physical,” Interboro linebacker Ryan Doughty said of Pottsgrove. “They wanted it. They were hungry. We just fell short.”

Interboro had two chances to pad its lead in the first half as Pottsgrove turned the ball over twice in three possessions, but could not capitalize on either turnover. Thomas was stripped of the football one play after Shane Beckwith made the first of his two interceptions and Interboro was forced to punt after Anthony Zizza pounced on a Faison fumble.

The Bucs also had the ball at the Pottsgrove 10-yard line late in the second quarter, but a 15-yard personal foul penalty killed that opportunity. Two interceptions, a second by Beckwith and one by Connor Adams with 16 seconds to play in regulation, also went for naught. “We hurt ourselves,” Lennox said.

Meanwhile, the Falcons kept plugging away to set up a date with Bethlehem Catholic in the state quarterfinals. Bethlehem Catholic defeated Saucon Valley, 27-21.

Quarterback Ryan Finn threw a nine-yard scoring strike to Bailey Delp to cap a 16-play, 90-yard drive with 47 seconds to go in the first half to cut Interboro’s lead to 20-13. Pottsgrove won the toss at the start of the game and deferred, which meant the Falcons would get the ball at the start of the second half and they took advantage.

Finn came through again on a three-yard quarterback sneak to finish an 11-play, 68-yard game-tying march. That was the only score of the second half.

“They kept blitzing backside and we had to adjust to that,” Faison said.

Finn gave Pottsgrove its first lead on a one-yard run that almost never happen. Faison appeared to fumble the ball at the one-yard line. Interboro recovered the ball in the end zone, but the officials ruled that Faison was down before the ball came out. Finn scored one play later and Nathan Kasper added the extra point to put the Falcons in front, 27-20.

Interboro only needed three running plays, the last two by Thomas, to get in the end zone and make it a one-point game. Lennox sent the offense on the field and kept it out there after Pottsgrove called timeout.

Pottsgrove’s defense was ready, including Dickey, even if he was a tad late lining up for the decisive play.

“I was able to get there and be in the right place at the right time,” Dickey said.

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