State College football coach Al Wolski may have thought it would be hard to top last year’s win over Chambersburg, achieved on a 21-yard touchdown pass with no time left on the clock.
But, his Little Lions may have done just that Friday night.
State College trailed 31-13 with 8:24 left in the third quarter, but rallied in the fourth quarter with a touchdown, two safeties and Kevin Cramer’s 38-yard field goal with 15 seconds left to stun the Trojans again, 35-34, in a Mid Penn Commonwealth Division free-for-all.
“What a great football game,” a still-stunned Wolski said. “That’s two games in a row against Chambersburg I know we’ll never forget.”
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The Trojans (4-2, 1-2 Mid Penn Conference), on the other hand, will do everything they can to forget this one.
Chambersburg linebacker Colten Brookens said, “We’ve never beaten them (in 10 tries), and we were so damn close last year, and so damn close again this year. I don’t know what to say.”
The Little Lions (3-3, 2-1) got their comeback started when quarterback Patrick Irwin, with a rusher in his face, threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to John Weakland — a pass that could have been picked off by a Chambersburg player — to make it 34-27 with 3:36 left.
The Trojans failed to get a first down and punter J.T. Hopple was shaken up on third down and had to come off the field. State College then blocked the punt of backup Matt Porter, although Porter recovered in the end zone for a safety with 2:48 left.
Then from the Chambersburg 16, Irwin was intercepted in the end zone by Jordan Brown, who made a mistake in trying to run the ball out and was tackled at the 2 with 1:14 left.
When the Trojans couldn’t move the ball, they allowed Hopple to run out of the end zone for another safety with 54 seconds left.
“That was my decision,” Chambersburg coach Mark Saunders said. “We haven’t done well with our punt team so far and I thought we could give our defense a chance.”
That plan was disrupted when Jordan Misher took the kickoff at his own 35 and motored 44 yards to the Trojan 21. Three plays mustered only four yards, but Cramer’s field goal try was true and the rally was complete.
“It was incredible,” Irwin said. “I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. My heart goes out to the team — everyone just gave it their all tonight. I’m so proud of my team.”
The quarterback finished with 101 yards on 16 carries, including scoring runs of 68 and 30 yards, plus a two-point conversion. He passed 26 times, completing 15 for 206 yards and two TDs, to Weakland and Derek Van Horn.
Misher didn’t score, but he racked up 113 yards on 15 carries.
“Everything just fell our way at the end, but the kids just kept plugging away and did not give up,” Wolski said. “I’m sure that’s Cramer’s longest field goal; heck, he’s been having trouble making extra points.”
Chambersburg got 146 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries from tailback Jamal Pickett. Quarterback Ryan Martin connected on 11 of 18 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns.
“I feel bad for these kids,” Saunders said. “We still have so much to play for, but we’ll have to regroup from this.”