By Bryan Davis
@btdavis25 on Twitter
EAST WHITELAND >> Great Valley stayed unbeaten on the season Friday night.
Left by itself, you would think it was a run of the mill victory by a team that is firing and doing everything right.
But, that would be a gross mischaracterization of what went on Friday against Academy Park. Trailing for most of the game, the Patriots finally got untracked in the passing game and rallied from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter, tying the score late in the quarter.
Seth Turner’s 22-yard field goal in the second overtime lifted the Patriots, to a dramatic, 28-25 victory.
“They made it interesting, didn’t they?” said Great Valley coach Jeff Martin. “This team has been resilient all year. First game of the year (against Phoenixville), we were down 14 and came back to win. It’s been the story of the season. Different players have been stepping up and making plays.”
The craziness of the fourth quarter actually started at the end of the third. On an untimed down, Terrence Oliver spurted away for an apparent 75-yard touchdown on a 3rd-and-16 play. But, offsetting personal foul calls before the touchdown was scored, negated the score and the Knights went into the fourth with a 13-3 lead.
On their first possession of the fourth, Oliver broke free on a long gallop to the end zone, this time 70 yards. The snap on the extra point attempt was high and the pass for the two-point conversion was broken up to give the Knights a 19-3 lead.
The Patriots’ offense finally got untracked midway through the fourth, After taking over following a fumble, they went 60 yards for their first touchdown. Braden Melia — who struggled for most of the game — hit Fells Johnson, who spun away from a tackle and went into the end zone for a 20-yard score. Melia ran in the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 19-11.
After dueling turnovers and a three-and-out from Academy Park, the Patriots took over on their 42 with less than two minutes left. They then got a huge play as Melia found Tommy Crouse for a 48-yard pass to take the ball to the AP 2. The Pats were stymied until a fourth down with 37 seconds left. Melia lofted a pass into the end zone that
Lawron Short made a leaping one-handed catch for the TD.
But, Great Valley still needed the two-point conversion, and that was made more difficult after a delay of game penalty pushed them back five yards. Melia rolled out and found Gavin Maslowski in the back of the end zone to tie the score at 19.
“We ran that play two weeks ago against Avon Grove. It was a little pop pass. Braden just threw it up and I just ket my concentration and caught it. Fantastic play. Best play of my career,” said Short.
But, Academy Park still had time to make something happen, and Oliver did. He ripped off runs of 47 and 17 yards to have the ball down to the GV 17. Two incompletions stopped the clock with seven seconds left. Academy Park coach Jason Vosheski decided to attempt the field goal on third down.
Giovanni Geohagen’s attempt from 34 yards was short and wide, but a delay penalty gave him another chance — this time from 39 yards. But, the results were the same, the kick was wide, and off to overtime we went.
Great Valley had the first possession and Melia hit Maslowski over the middle for a five-yard score. Turner missed the extra point, but Great Valley had its first lead of the evening.
Academy Park answered as quarterback Darrell Fields eluded the rush and scampered 11 yards for the score. The Knights’ kicking woes continued as the extra point was blocked and the game went to a second OT.
Academy Park was stopped on its chance with the ball. Three runs from Jack Coffey took the ball from the 10 to the 4. Turner then booted the 22-yard field goal to give the Patriots the improbable win.
“Both teams played their rear ends off,” said Vosheski. “We had our chances. We didn’t capitalize and they did.”
Oliver scored twice in the first half — from five and six yards — as he finished the evening with 33 carries for 297 yards and three scores.
“He’s special,” Vosheski said of Oliver.
Melia was 16-of-33 for 205 yards, three TDs and three interceptions.
Note: Before the game, there was a moment of silence for 2017 Great Valley graduate Everett Beauregard. He was shot and killed in Philadelphia early Thursday morning. The Temple University graduate was 23. Beauregard was a member of the cross country team while at Great Valley.
Great Valley 28, Academy Park 25, 2OT
Academy Park 6 7 0 6 6 0 — 25
Great Valley 0 3 0 16 6 3 — 28
Academy Park: Oliver 5 TD (Pass failed)
Great Valley — Turner 30 FG
Academy Park — Oliver 6 run (Geoghagen kick)
Academy Park — Oliver 70 run (Pass failed)
Great Valley — Johnson 20 pass from Melia (Melia run)
Great Valley — Short 2 pass from Melia (Maslowski pass)
Great Valley — Maslowski 9 pass from Melia (kick failed)
Academy Park — Fields 10 run (kicked blocked)
Great Valley — Turner 22 FG
First downs 14 11
Rushes-yards 45-282 24-37
Passing 4-12-2 16-33-3
Passing yards 67 205
Total yards 349 242
Punts 5-30.8 5-29.6
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-0
Penalties-yards 10-80 5-41
Rushing — Academy Park: Oliver 33-297 3TD; Hunter 2-6; Crawford 1-3; Carlton 1-(-3); Fields 8-(-21). Great Valley: Coffey 11-18; Pellicciotta 1-10; Johnson 4-8; Melis 10-3; Team 1-(-2).
Passing — Academy Park: Fields 4-11-1 67 yards; Cuff 0-1-1 0 yards. Great Valley: Melia 16-33-3 205 yards 3 TD.
Receiving — Academy Park: Hunter 2-24; Cavanaugh 1-37; Rogers 1-6. Great Valley:
Interceptions — Academy ParkGraham, Hunter, Cavanaugh. Great Valley Rhodes, Crouse.
Sacks — Academy Park: Goldstein 2. Great Valley: Lee.
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