Strath Haven’s Myers makes the most of one more game

NETHER PROVIDENCE — Friday night’s nonleague contest between Strath Haven and Archbishop Carroll offered the two teams an opportunity all athletes covet — the chance to play one more game.

The Panthers scored two second-half touchdowns to take the home victory 28-20 over the Patriots.

“I wish we could never grow up,’ said Strath Haven senior running back Anthony Myers. He consoled fellow senior Paul Somaru at midfield following the win. Both played crucial roles in the game. Somaru caught two passes for 45 yards and blocked a Carroll extra point that would have tied things at 21 in the fourth quarter. Myers racked up 146 yards on the ground and three scores.

“To us, we thought of this as a playoff game,’ Myers said. “We wanted to go out with a bang.’

Haven indeed went out with a bang and entered with a burst. Myers took the first handoff of the game 62 yards for a touchdown. He broke off the line of scrimmage and galloped down the sideline. It was his longest, and easiest, rush of the game.

“They caught on,’ Myers joked.

Near the end of the 48 minutes, the six-foot, 185-pound back nursed a bloody elbow and had his hands on his hips. He plunged forward on a fourth-and-four conversion to prolong a Strath Have drive when the Panthers held a slim 21-20 advantage in the final frame. Myers added a 14-yard rush on a third-and-13 on the same series. He found the end zone from 6 out to all but ice the win with 2:44 left.

“I thought ‘ This is the hardest drive of my life,” Myers said. He limped back to the huddle after his score rather than celebrate. “I was hurting bad.’

Carroll matched Myers’ physicality toe to toe. Patriots senior quarterback Sean McMorran responded to the Panthers’ opening touchdown with a 65-yard scoring drive. Tommy Scott dove across the goal line on fourth-and-goal from the one to put Carroll on the board.

“I was proud of how our kids played,’ said Patriots coach Joe Powel. “We came out with some emotion.’

Carroll led, 14-13, at the break when Richard Melito answered a Myers touchdown with one of his own. The Patriots outgained the Panthers, 134 to 128, on the ground in the first half.

But Strath Haven quickly restored its advantage in the third quarter. Alex Bratsis scored on a 44-yard end around to make 19-14. Myers added the two-point conversion to push the lead to seven.

McMorran and the Carroll offense, though, wouldn’t be denied. He gave the Panthers fits all night with his dashes out of the pocket. McMorran finished with 80 yards on the ground and 49 on five of seven passing through the air. On the first play of the fourth quarter, he scrambled right and found Mike Dudas in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.

“He’s been doing that all year for us,’ said Powel of McMorran. “This was his last game in high school so he wanted to make it special.’

The touchdown proved to be the last positive turn of the night for Carroll (2-8). Somaru blocked the ensuing extra point, and McMorran didn’t return to the game. He stayed on the sideline with a calf injury as sophomore Stephen Honick attempted to bring the Patriots back after Myers’ third score. Strath Haven (5-6) came up with the stop on fourth down when it needed it most.

“We just stuck to the game plan,’ Myers said. “We stepped up in the end.’

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