WEST FALLOWFIELD >> Octorara got a taste of what it is facing next year when it hosted Northern York from District 3 on a perfect Friday evening. And while the Braves did take a couple of healthy bites, they were eventually given a case of indigestion as the Polar Bears staved them off, 35-22, in an entertaining nonleague season opener.
Northern York, which finished 7-4 last season, outscored Octorara, 14-0, after falling behind 22-21 in the third quarter.
“We struggled a little bit on offense,” said Octorara coach Jed King. “We struggled running the ball. We got some guys injured who normally do that for us, and that didn’t help us. We didn’t give up. We kept fighting and made some big plays. There’s a lot to clean up. I wish we had one more scrimmage”
The Braves trailed, 21-15, at halftime, when they took the second half kickoff and quickly changed that.
They went 85 yards on eight plays to take the lead. Senior quarterback Trent Pawling accounted for all but four yards on the drive — 50 passing, 31 running. The march was finished off as Jude Unitis dove in from the three to make it 22-21 with 8:17 left.
“This was a good game,” said Pawling. “We played hard, hopefully this will set us up for a good season.”
The Polar Bears didn’t take long to respond, they went off a 63-yard drive of their own, capped off as Chris Barrett hit Tony Potteiger from 12 yards out, and the see-saw swung permanently over to Northern York.
The defense then flexed its muscles, forcing a three-and-out in two of Octorara’s next three drives. The Polar Bears started to get pressure on Pawling, frustrating him and stifling the offense.
Northern York put the game away as Steven Yurchison broke free on a trap and galloped 23 yards for the final score of the night.
Pawling threw for two scores, a 79-yard strike to Brandon Garver in the first quarter, and a lovely touch pass from 23-yards out to John Easterday just before halftime.
Pawling finished 16-of-31 for 239 yards and one interception.
“I was happy we took the lead and we were playing and making adjustments and doing things on the fly,” said King. “Too many negative plays. We kept hurting ourselves in that regard.”
Octorara heads out on the road next week to face Columbia