FALLS TWP. – Depending on which sideline you were standing on, this was either one of the great comebacks or one of the worst examples of beating yourself in the storied history of the Pennsbury-Neshaminy football series.
Despite getting decisively outplayed for most of the game, Neshaminy was still able to beat Pennsbury, 21-20, Friday night in front of a huge overflow crowd at Falcon Field.
With the victory, Neshaminy improved to 9-1, captured the Suburban One National League championship outright and gained the No. 1 seed for the PIAA District 1 Class 6A playoffs, which get underway next week.
Amazingly, it was the fourth time this year the Skins pulled out a game late in the fourth quarter and in this case, it all came down to one play.
Facing a fourth-and-goal at the Pennsbury 2 yard line with 0:42 remaining, Neshaminy reached into its bag of tricks by running a flea flicker. It worked to perfection as receiver Cory Joyce threw a pass to wide open sophomore quarterback Brody McAndrew in the end zone.
Matt Leonhauser then kicked the winning extra point in a game in which point-after kicks proved to be a huge factor in determining the outcome.
Huge because after Pennsbury missed its first PAT in the first quarter; three times, the Falcons decided not to go for two. Pennsbury’s failure to go for two in the fourth quarter will be particularly second guessed because the Falcons instead settled for a what turned out to be a meaningless extra point after taking a 20-7 lead on a 9-yard pass from quarterback Zach Demarchis to David Burke.
When Pennsbury took a two touchdown lead with 9:21 remaining, it looked like it was in total control. Especially when you consider its defense had allowed nothing after Neshhaminy’s opening drive and its defense sacked McAndrew nine times.
Instead, the game completely turned when Neshaminy senior Joel Stills returned the ensuing kickoff yards for a 90-yard line touchdown. And when Pennsbury’s next offensive series went three-and out, the Skins took over on their own 40 yard line with momentum on their side.
McAndrew, who was 11-lor-15 for 155 yards, then led his team down the field to the Pennsbury 9 yard line with the help of a horse-collar penalty against the Falcons. It looked like Pennsbury might survive when it sacked McAndrew back to the 17, but McAndrew then threw a 15-yard pass to the Falcon 2 yard line, leading to the game-winning score.
From a Pennsbury perspective, it should have never come down to the end. Nasan Robbins did have two short TD runs and Demarchis completed 10 of 17 passes for 130 yards but three times, the Falcons turned the ball over in the red zone.
The good news for Pennsbury, of course, is it certainly has the potential to make a playoff run and perhaps see Neshaminy again.
Contact Rick Fortenbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org OR on Twitter @RickFort7
Neshaminy 21, Pennsbury 20
(Oct. 27 at Pennsbury)
Neshaminy (9-1) 7 0 0 14 – 21
Pennsbury (8-2) 6 7 0 7 – 20
N — Zach Canimore 3 pass from Brody McAndrew (Matt Leonhauser kick)
P — Nasan Robbins 2 run (kick failed)
P — Robbins 8 run (Chris Knop kick)
P — David Burke 9 pass from Zach Demarchis (Knop kick)
N — Joel Stills 90 kickoff return (Leonhauser kick)
N — McAndrew 12 pass from Cory Joyce (Leonhauser kick)
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