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Boyertown wins quadruple overtime thriller over Pottsgrove

Boeyrtown quarterback Ryder Gehris, left, and coach T.J. Miller celebrate the Bears’ four overtime win at Pottsgrove on Friday. (Owen McCue - MediaNews Group)

POTTSGROVE >> Boyertown senior Luke Ordway placed Friday night’s game against Pottsgrove among the top three happiest moments of his life.

“It could be No. 1,” Ordway said. “I still gotta think. Everything is everywhere right now.”

After Leo Egbe ran in the go-ahead score to put the Bears ahead 42-35, a forced fumble by Anthony Famularo and subsequent recovery by Anthony Panarello in the fourth overtime gave Boyertown a non-league win over the Falcons.

The four-overtime thriller was the longest game in Boyertown history — and the longest contest almost all on the field and in the stadium could remember being part of.

“It was the craziest moment of my life just running around that field,” Bears senior Brandon Shane said of the celebration after the victory.

Entering overtime tied 14-14, Boyertown (2-2) sophomore quarterback Ryder Gehris tossed a touchdown pass to a leaping Ordway in the back left corner of the end zone on the first overtime possession before the teams answered each other with scores five more times.

Boyertown’s Leo Egbe (2) points to the Bears’ student section after scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth overtime Friday against Pottsgrove. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Pottsgrove (2-1) senior quarterback Ryan Sisko followed with a touchdown pass to Tyler Kaufman to tie the score 21-21. Then came a Gehris sneak to start 2OT, followed by a touchdown run by Falcons’ junior Amir Brunson to force a third overtime, 28-28.

Gehris passed to Shane in traffic in the third overtime period and Sisko answered with a sneak to make it 35-35 and send the game to a fourth OT.

Egbe powered in what proved to be the game-winning score in the fourth overtime before Famularo’s punch and Panarello’s recovery finished off the all-time classic in the 40th meeting between the two teams.

“It was a great time for our first turnover of the season on defense,” Gehris said. “I think we played a complete game offensively and defensively and in the end we put it away at the right time, perfect moment.”

Gehris completed 5-of-13 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, also adding 86 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Egbe (10 carries, 31 yards) and Roman Marinello (15 carries, 71 yards) had the team’s other two scores.

Sisko tossed for 95 yards and two TDs for the Falcons, also rushing one in. Tyler Kaufman (three catches, 81 yards) was on the receiving end of both passing TDs. Brunson ran 24 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns for Pottsgrove.

“Boyertown played a heckuva game,” Pottsgrove coach Bill Hawthorne said. “It was exactly what I thought it would be at the end of the day. It was a hard fought battle between two neighborhood rivals.

“I give Boyertown all the credit in the world. They fought until the very last second and did the things they needed to do to win. They’re a class program and tonight they were the better team and better coaching staff, too.”

Pottsgrove’s Amir Brunson (4) is swarmed by Boyertown’s Anthony Famularo (26), Anthony Panarello (12), Brandon Shane (24) and Nathan Deming (74). (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

The teams combined for three touchdowns on the first three drives of the game.

Gehris connected with fellow sophomore Jason Oakes for a 51-yard completion on Boyertown’s first possession Friday before running in a touchdown from 10 yards out. Brunson answered with a 19-yard run to tie the game 7-7 with 7:58 to play in the first quarter.

Marinello powered the Bears down the field on the next possession, scoring from 12 yards out to give Boyertown a 14-7 lead after a quarter of play. A 39-yard touchdown pass from Sisko to Kaufman late in the second quarter made it 14-14 at the half.

“We’ve got a very versatile team,” Marinello said. “There’s a lot of young talent, sophomores, freshmen. Everybody came out to play tonight.”

That was it for the game’s scoring until the fireworks of overtime as both defenses pitched shutouts in the second half. Boyertown coach T.J. Miller praised defensive coordinator Derek Bleiler for putting players in the right spot.

“I think our linebackers really stepped up in the second half,” Ordway said. “(Junior linebacker Gavin) Chamberlain really stepped up.”

Pottsgrove’s Max Neeson (33) celebrates his fourth-quarter interception next to teammate Shane Caffrey (5) Friday against Boyertown. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

The Falcons had the ball late in regulation with a chance to win.

Pottsgrove senior linebacker Max Neeson, who was all over the field throughout Friday’s contest, intercepted a Gehris pass with 1:08 left to give the Falcons possession at their own 40.

They advanced the ball into Boyertown territory before Ordway came up with a clutch sack to end the threat. Panarello also had a sack for Boyertown, while Mark White had two and Brunson one for Pottsgrove.

“I think our defense played phenomenal,” Hawthorne said. “They did everything they could to keep us in the game. … Our offense has to do some things to get us out of holes sometimes and tonight it just didn’t happen.”

Both teams start Pioneer Athletic Conference play next week as the Bears host Owen J. Roberts and the Falcons host Phoenixville.

Following two lopsided losses at the hands of District 3 powers Exeter and Wyomissing heading into Friday night’s contest, the thrilling win over the Falcons provided the Bears with a rewarding moment to cap their non-league slate.

“These seniors are such a special group and they took ownership,” Miller said. “In the locker room, they took ownership. This week, they took ownership. Before the game, they took ownership. This is for them.”

NOTES >> Friday’s game was Boyertown’s first overtime contest since a 28-27 loss to the Falcons on Oct. 23, 2015.

Boyertown’s Jason Oakes (8) runs with the ball Friday against Pottsgrove. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Pottsgrove’s Tyler Kaufman, left, and Vinny Scarnato celebrate Kaufman’s touchdown catch Friday. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

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