BUCKINGHAM >> Kicker Jack Corrigan provided sudden victory for Central Bucks East, his 30-yard field goal in double overtime splitting the uprights and bringing a raucous, climactic finish to a 16-13 win over Pennridge Friday night.
“I was in the air. I was jumping around, had my hands up,” said senior 6-foot-3, 280-pound offensive guard Liam Powers. “It was the best feeling so far this season — it was awesome.”
Powers and the offensive line cleared the way for 320 yards on the ground in this Suburban One League National Conference battle, as the Patriots climbed to 5-0.
“I had high expectations for this year and right now we’re heading in the right direction,” said Powers. “But we’re not done yet.”
Many heroes emerged for the Patriots on this cold, blustery night at East.
Ethan Shine carried the ball 37 times, turning in a courageous effort and a whopping 248 rushing yards; quarterback Pat Keller completed important throws down the stretch to keep drives alive; and a bag full of big plays by the defense preserved the Patriots’ unbeaten record.
“I just love the mettle of our team,” said Patriots coach John Donnelly. “And I think that’s gonna take us a long way.”
East raised its SOL National record to 2-0, with a road game at Pennsbury up next on Friday. Pennridge, which rallied back from deficits of 7-0 and 13-6 to force overtime, saw its two-game win streak snapped, falling to 2-3 (1-1 in the conference). The Rams are home against Neshaminy Friday.
“It was a nail biter,” Powers said. “It was a lot of fun — the close games are always the best.”
An offensive line of Powers, Chris Poulson, Joe Collins, Sean Connor and Connor Harris helped the Patriots sustain lengthy drives of eight plays, 14 plays, 11 plays, and 13 plays.
The Patriots surged ahead 7-0 in the first quarter when an 84-yard march, keyed by a 47-yard burst by Shine, came to a finish with a one-yard sneak by Keller.
That would be the only score of the first half.
A surge of life for the Rams came in the form of a 90-yard kickoff return by Brennan Fisher, who took the second-half kickoff all the way back for a score to trim the margin to 7-6.
The extra-point attempt was no good, leaving the margin at one.
Fisher’s heroics included 175 rushing yards to go with his big boost on special teams.
East, which had a turnover on downs at the Ram 16 in the second quarter, had another long drive stall in the third quarter, with a 35-yard field goal sailing wide right.
Costly penalties had begun to mount for East, but the Patriots still regained control early in the fourth quarter.
A 94-yard, 13-play march reached the end zone when Shine crashed in from a yard out, extending the lead to 13-6. The Patriots went for two, trying to open up a two-possession lead, but Dylan O’Brien made a great stop for the Rams, tackling Luke Wilson short of the goal line to keep it at 13-6.
The Patriot defense made a stop of its own.
Pennridge drove to the East nine-yard line, but on 4th-and-8 at the 14, Shine’s tackle for a loss turned possession over to the Patriots with five minutes to play.
However, Pennridge came up with a takeaway, and had another crack at a tying score.
The Rams moved it 17 yards in four plays, scoring on 4th-and-1 at the eight with a run by Tyler Wetzel. Aidan Hatfield’s kick was good, deadlocking the score at 13 apiece with 2:51 to play.
East got the ball first, and on fourth down at the three, Shine would be stopped just a yard short of the goal line.
Pennridge drove to the four on its possession, but on a 21-yard field goal attempt, the snap rolled back to the holder, and a low kick fluttered into the line.
The Rams had the ball first in the second OT, and on fourth down at the five, Nate Mossbrook was stopped by the East defense at the one, as Patriot momentum began to build one final time.
The Patriots were again hurt by penalties, creating a 3rd-and-goal at the 23. But a 10-yard run by Declan Kelly drew East closer to the goal posts.
And on fourth down from the 13, Corrigan came through with the 30-yard game winner.
“Thank goodness we have Jack Corrigan as a kicker — he came through in the clutch,” Powers said. “He knocked it down.”
“Great game. It was a battle on both sides – they have some warriors over there and so do we,” Donnelly said. “It was a great high school football game.”
Central Bucks East 16, Pennridge 13 ( 2 OT)
Pennridge 0 0 6 7 0 0 – 13
Central Bucks East 7 0 6 0 0 3 – 16
CBE – Pat Keller 1 run (Jack Corrigan kick), 4:20.
P- Brennan Fisher 90 kickoff return (kick failed), 11:44.
CBE – Ethan Shine 1 run (run failed), 9:13.
P – Tyler Wetzel 8 run (Aidan Hatfield kick), 2:51.
CBE – Corrigan 30 field goal.
First Downs 11 18
Rushes-yards 41-201 54-320
Passing (c-a-i) 5-14-0 5-12-0
Passing yards 24 49
Total yards 225 369
Punts 5 3
Penalties-yards 10-75 7-82
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
P: Fisher 32-175; Nate Mossbrook 2-4; Xavier Dantzler 2-13; Pat Burdick 2-(-3); Tyler Wetzel 3-12, TD.
CBE: Shine 37-248, TD; Declan Kelly 3-18; Nick Giordano 1-2; Luke Wilson 2-16; Tommy Day 6-23; Pat Keller 5-13, TD.
P: Burdick 5-14-24-0-0.
CBE: Keller 5-12-49-0-0.
P: Mossbrook 4-25; Dantzler 1-(-1).
CBE: Jack Donnelly 2-24; Luke Quillen 2-21; Matt LaBouliere 1-4.