ATGLEN—It had been a while since the Octorara Braves had won the Braves Bowl, an annual match-up against its neighbor and rival, the Pequea Valley Braves. The Octorara seniors hadn’t yet had a chance to raise the trophy above their head. But they did Friday night.
Shaking off some early mistakes, Octorara made the adjustments needed and shut down Pequea for the final three periods, and coupled a solid ground game with timely passes for a 21-13 win.
“I loved watching us play defense tonight,” said Octorara head coach Jedd King. “They totally shut down the run, and every time they passed, it seemed like Trent (Pawling) was there to pick it off.”
Pawling finished the night with a trio of interceptions, with the last one putting the final nail in Pequea’s coffin.
“That last one was an amazing feeling,” said Pawling. “Just knowing that it put the game away and all we had to do was get in postion and take a knee, it just felt fantastic.”
Fantastic is not the way anyone on the Octorara sideline would feel about the way the game started. Stopped cold on its first drive, Octorara lined up to punt, but the snap sailed way over Pawling head, and all the way down to the one yard line. Pequea quarterback Jordan Lapp ran it in seconds later for an early 7-0 lead.
Octorara answered right back. Cy Hall returned the ensuing kick-off 74 yards down to the Pequea 21. Two plays later, quarterback Pawling ran it in from 12-yards out to tie it at 7-7.
Pequea Valley looked like they were going to turn the game into a shootout, scoring in two plays, taking all of 27-seconds, to take the lead once again. On first down from midfield, Lapp found Dylan Jackson open for a quick pass, and Jackson took the ball all the way down to the two. Ryan Smith punched it in on the next play, but the kick failed and it was 13-7 Pequea, with still over eight minutes to play in the first period.
That was the last time Pequea would see the end zone.
“When we get rolling on defense, and get that momentum, we just couldn’t be stopped,” said Octorara lineman Andrew Allison. “We just started making plays on defense and it got contagious—we all made plays.”
Octorara took the lead in the second on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Pawling (7-17, 71 yds, TD) to Hall, but the back breaking touchdown came in the final period, after Pawling came up big on defense with his second interception of the night gave Octorara a 1-10 from the 21. Octorara worked the half back option to perfection, with Nick Mattingly making a perfect throw to a wide open Brandon Garver (3 catches, 45 yds, TD).
“Getting that touchdown on the halfback option was huge for us,” said King. “It really got the defense psyched up to do the job.”
Two of the Braves three scores came through the air, but the run game really got the job done. Brandon Jackson led the way with 72 yards on eight carries, but Octorara saw six different rushers combine to pile up 192 yards on the ground.
“The offensive line just played great tonight,” said Pawling. “They controlled the line of scrimmage all night and pushed them around, and made our offense work.”
So after a three year hiatus, the Braves Bowl is back at Octorara.
“I’m a senior, and I’ve never seen us win a Braves Bowl,” said Allison. “To finally win one feels great, and even better that it puts us on a win streak.”
Pequea Valley 13 0 0 0 — 13
Octorara 7 7 0 7 — 21
PV — Lapp 1-run (Lockhart Kick) 7-0
OCT — Pawling 12-run (Smith kick) 7-7
PV—Smith 2-run (kick fail) 13-7
OCT — Hall 20-pass from Pawling (Smith kick) 14-13
OCT — Garver 21-pass from Mattingly (Smith kick) 21-13
First downs 12 12
Rushes-yards 27-105 32-192
Passing 7-14 9-18
Passing yards 88 92
Total yards 193 259
Punts 1-36 2-47.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 9-85 7-65
Rushing — PV Smith 17-88 TD Lapp 5-13 TD Finger 1-4 Jackson 2-0 Grow 1-1 Malloy 1-4 OCT Jackson 8-72 Pawling 7-23 TD Hall 3-19 Unitas 6-21 Forte 3-11 Schempp 5-21
Passing — PV Lap 9-18, 88, 4 INT OCT Pawling 7-17, 71, TD Mattingly 1-1, 21, TD
Receiving — PV Jackson 2-50 Finger 3-14 Stotlzfus 1-17 Malloy 1-7 OCT Garver 3-45 TD, Unitas 4-5 Easterday 1-4 Hall 1-20 TD Schempp 1-6 Mattingly 1-18
Interceptions — OCT Pawling (3) Mattingly
Sacks — P Smith, Sage OCT Allison