Norristown tops Council Rock North in overtime

WEST NORRITON – Let’s take a short trip in our personal Wayback Machine and answer a “Guess What?” question.

Two weeks ago, the Norristown High football team suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Central Bucks West in a game it led with less than a minute to play.

Last week, the Eagles had it handed to them in a one-sided loss to Quakertown.

So when Norristown found itself trailing by 19 points in the first quarter to visiting Council Rock North Saturday afternoon, guess what the Eagles did?

Wave a white flag?

Wave trainer Dennis Flynn onto the field?

Wave to the cheerleaders?

The answer is, none of the above.

In fact, what the Eagles did will go down as one of the most incredible victories in the long, long history of Norristown football.

The Eagles hitched up their collective pants, ignored the scoreboard and when Khalif Sinclair circled left end for an overtime two-point conversion, Norristown had its first lead, and the biggest feel-good win around these parts in what seems like an eternity.

Final score: Norristown 44, Council Rock North 43.

Cue the applause sign, please.

The Eagles forgot about four touchdowns that were called back due to penalty, forgot about three missed field goals and decided there would not be a third-straight, morale-busting setback.

As they say, folks, you had to be there.

Trailing, 33-21, in the middle of the third quarter and by eight points midway through the fourth, Norristown came back to force overtime.

And when CR North scored first in the extra session, the Eagles didn’t blink. They scored, and unanimously signaled to head coach Jason Powel they were not interested in going to a second OT.

“I was going to send (placekicker Shane Hammer) out there,” Powel said, “but I’ve told our seniors that they have a stake in this thing. So when they said they wanted to go for (the win, via a 2-point conversion), we listened.”

The play was nothing special, simply a snap to Khalif Sinclair, who had the option to run, pass or hand the ball off.

He chose option one.

“I had the option and I felt comfortable running it,” Sinclair said. “Our offensive line had blocked well all day, so we gave them a chance to do it again.”

“Our line blocked great,” echoed Corey Davenport, who would have been Sinclair’s handoff option, “and if our offensive line wanted to go for it, we said, ‘Let’s go.’”

Early on, it looked as if the Eagles were destined for another one-way trip to Heartbreak City.

The Indians scored on three straight first-quarter possessions, mostly behind the playmaking ability of South Carolina-bound quarterback Brandon McIlwain.

The senior signal-caller tossed a 22-yard scoring pass to Devon Bibbens with 5:53 left in the first, then an 18-yard TD pass to Bibbens at the 2:56 mark.

And when the Rock blocked a punt and James Closser sprinted 43 yards to the end zone with the carom, it was looking like the assembled crowd at the Eagles’ first actual home game of the year would have been better off rolling a few games at Facenda-Whitaker.

But then something positive happened.

One snap after the Rock’s third touchdown, Davenport streaked 65 yards for a touchdown. And suddenly, the Eagles, mentally, were back in it.

“We were frustrated,” Sinclair said, “but we tried to keep an open mind.

“And when Corey started scoring touchdowns, I had a feeling we’d come back.”

Sure enough, Rock fumbled the ball away to Charles Sanders on the ensuing possession, and the Eagles set up camp at the Rock 40.

Four plays later, Sinclair scored on a reverse, and the deficit was 19-14.

Council Rock widened its lead again on a McIlwain scoring pass to Bibbens midway through the second quarter. But by then, the fuse had been lit.

That fuse flashed early in the second half when a McIlwain fumble, covered by Darryl Carr, was cashed by an 18-yard Davenport TD.

Rock answered three snaps later when Bibbens snared his fourth scoring pass of the day — a 51-yarder — that put the visitors back up, this time at 33-21.

But Davenport answered once again, ripping off a 55-yard score that kept the home team within a score with 2:20 left in the third quarter.

Council Rock would add a field goal on the next-to-last play of the third quarter to go up by eight points.

But Norristown was a team on a mission.

A seven-play, 53-yard Eagles drive was capped by Sinclair’s 23-yard scoring pass to Derik Cross. And when Davenport ran in the two-point conversion, the game, incredibly, was tied.

“I feel our receivers are the best in the league, and I wanted to get the ball to one of them,” Sinclair said.

Norristown seemed to have it all going when the Rock fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, but the Eagles could not capitalize.

North, on its only series of the quarter, managed just one first down before having to punt.

And the Eagles began what looked to be the game-winning drive.

With Sinclair at quarterback, Norristown ran 11 plays, and with eight seconds left on the clock seemed poised to win the game when a timeout was called at the CR North 7-yard line.

But when a 24-yard field goal attempt sailed wide, it went to overtime.

CR North got the ball first and scored on three runs by McIlwain.

The Eagles scored in two, with Davenport busting in from the 5-yard line.

Immediately, nearly as a unit, the Eagles offense turned to the bench and put up two fingers.

And Powel didn’t fail to notice.

After the timeout, Sinclair found the end zone, and the improbable comeback was complete.

“It was just one of those things where the kids just played their hearts out,” Powel said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

OVERTIME: McIlwain finished with 318 yards of total offense (including 232 passing yards) … Davenport rushed 37 times for 309 yards and four touchdowns.

Contact the author at or @DwaySports on Twitter

Norristown 44, Council Rock North 43 (OT)

(Oct. 10 at Norristown)

CR North  19 7 10 0 8 – 44

Norristown 7 7 14 8 7 – 43


CRN – Bibbens 21 pass from McIlwain (Nowmos kick)

CRN – Bibbens 18 pass from McIlwain (kick failed)

CRN – Luff 41 return of blocked punt (kick failed)

N – Davenport 65 run (Hammer kick)

N – Sinclair 19 run (Hammer kick)

CRN – Bibbens 18 pass from McIlwain (Nowmos kick)

N – Davenport 18 run (Hammer kick)

CRN – Bibbens 51 pass from McIlwain (Nowmos kick)

N – Davenport 55 run (Hammer kick)

CRN – FG Nowmos 28

N – Cross 23 pass from Sinclair (Davenport run)

CRN – McIlwain 1 run (Nowmos kick)

N – Davenport 5 run (Sinclair run)


CRN    N

First Downs    19        22

Yards Rushing           130      379

Yards Passing            226      107

Total Offense 356      486

Comp. Passes, Int      13-25-0           10-18-1

Fumbles-lost  3-3       2-1

Penalties-yards          2-34    13-115

Punts-Avg.     4-25,2 4-30.0

Sacked-Yds. Lost       0-0      0-0



RUSHING: McIlwain 18-102, 1 TD; Choi 11-28

PASSING: McIlwain 13-25-0, 226 yards, 4 TDs

RECEIVING: Bibbens 10-164, 4 TDs; Nowmos 2-54; Choi 1-8



RUSHING: Davenport 39-303, 4 TDs; Sinclair 13-63, 1 TD; White 3-13

PASSING: Sinclair 7-10-0, 84 yards, 1 TD; Hill 3-8-1, 23 yards

RECEIVING: Wiggins 6-50; Cross 1-23, 1 TD; Carnard 1-20; McCray 1-9; Davenport 1-5


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply