'Maniac' play call lets Dawgs edge G'field in 2OT
Stephanie Sturgis - Press Sports Editor
A defensive scheme the Dawgs call Maniac allowed Gleason to stop the Jackets' attempt at a game-tying run on the last play of the second overtime. The stop gave Gleason a thrilling 14-12 victory in what was a non-district match between the two county rivals.
Trailing 14-12 after Jacket senior Ty Smithson caught his second touchdown pass of the night on a quick slant from quarterback Dalton Potts on their first snap of the second overtime, Greenfield had to go for two points in an attempt to force a third overtime.
Greenfield lined up at the 3-yard line with senior Tyler Dunning behind Potts in the Jacket backfield. Potts lofted a pitch to Dunning, leading him toward the left end of the line of scrimmage. In Dunning's path was Bulldog defensive end Ben Sumner who forced the Greenfield ball carrier back toward the middle where he was hauled down by the Dawgs well short of the goal line.
"Coach (Mike) Bennett put us in a defensive scheme there that we call Maniac. It’s more of a goal line pressure-type defense. We’ve got our ends wide. They have to get upfield and get contain. We were in the right place at the right time," a relieved Gleason head coach Noah Lampkins said of the game-ending play. "Had we been in our base defense, the way we would have normally lined up to that set, they probably would have scored."
The tackle gave Gleason the 14-12 win and set off a huge celebration for half the players and fans in attendance. The other half on the Greenfield side were left desolated by the gut-wrenching loss.
"You always second-guess yourself when you have a play called that doesn’t work, but maybe we should have done something different there at the end, but it is what it is," Jacket head coach Jason Rodehaver said. "Our guys battled. Not very many people gave us a chance against a 4-2 Gleason team, but we gave them everything we had."
The win improved Gleason's record to 5-2 overall, while the Jackets drop to 1-6.
The Dawgs return to District 13-A action this week when they visit the Huntingdon Mustangs in a key clash. The Jackets will also hit the road, traveling to Humboldt to take on the Vikings in a District 14-A meeting. Kickoff for both games is set for 7:30 on Friday night.
The entire first half was played in a steady, wind-blown rain that further saturated an already-wet field. As a result of the sloppy conditions, two staunch defenses had the upper hand throughout the contest.
Gleason limited Greenfield to just one first down in regulation, that coming on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Jacket defense twice held inside its own red zone, partially thanks to Dawg mistakes.
The first quarter was a series of repetitive three-and-outs by both sides until Gleason, starting at the Jacket 43, picked up two first downs to reach the 21-yard line. A tackle for no gain by Chris McMullen was followed by a fumbled handoff for a five-yard loss. Cody Ezell ran for 12 yards to set up fourth-and-two from the 14, but a fumbled snap ended the Dawg scoring threat.
After another Jacket punt, Gleason again began to march. A 14-yard completion by Conner Verdell to Dalton Teeter was one big play, but Teeter later had the ball squirt out of his hands on a run. Potts recovered for the Jackets at their own 8.
Again the Jackets were forced to punt when a facemask penalty helped stall the drive.
Despite excellent starting position after the punt, three consecutive penalties against the Dawgs helped keep them out of the end zone just before the half and kept the score 0-0.
After halftime, neither team could gain an advantage until late in the fourth quarter. Greenfield failed to convert on a fourth down pass attempt to Steven Sawyers, giving the Dawgs the ball at their own 30 with 8:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Gleason then put together its most sustained drive. The Dawgs mixed runs up the middle by fullback Sam Cosby with scampers around the ends by Nicky Spain to move the chains three times and cross into Jacket territory for the first time in the second half. Facing fourth-and-three at the Jacket 37, Spain took the pitch, bulled past a tackler, vaulted over a downfield blocker and rumbled 25 yards to the 12. The Jacket defense stiffened and forced a fourth down at the 5. Lampkins opted to let the clock run down and called a timeout with 12 seconds left before trying a 23-yard field goal by Matt Mayo, who was perfect on all four PAT kicks the week before. After a low snap, Jacket Cody Worley got a hand on the low kick and blocked it to force overtime.
Greenfield had the ball first, starting at the 10-yard line. After a three-yard Dunning run, Potts was sacked for an eight-yard loss by Sumner and Teeter. On third down from the 18, Potts found Smithson for a 15-yard gain. On the next snap, the duo hooked up again for the three-yard touchdown slant. A fake on the PAT kick saw Smithson, the holder, hauled down by Ezell to keep the Greenfield lead at 6-0.
Gleason needed just two plays, both Spain runs, to tie. Spain's first carry was for a one-yard loss on a tackle by Dakota Bills before rumbling 11 yards for the tying touchdown. Mayo again trotted out for the kick. A low snap was scooped up by Mayo, who was tackled immediately to keep the score at 6-6.
It was the Dawgs on the spot to start the second OT. After Cosby was stopped for no gain, Ezell twice ran for five yards including a run to paydirt behind a block by Blake Taylor. Ahead 12-6, Lampkins opted for the two-pointer. Ezell, again behind a Taylor block, dove into the end zone for a 14-6 Dawg lead.
Greenfield needed just one play — the 10-yard Smithson catch — to come within a two-point conversion of a tie and set up the "maniacal" last play.
Both coaches had high praise for their opponent.
"We didn’t execute well offensively. We didn’t block a soul. Part of that is because Greenfield was tenacious and schemed good," Lampkins noted.
The other head coach didn't neglect to mention his foe.
"That was one of those games that you expect when we play Gleason. I tip my hat to Noah (Lampkins) and his team. It’s a big win for them," Rodehaver said. "Our guys are hurting, but that tells me they’ve given everything they had and they have something invested in this program. I dare you to find a team that’s 1-5 that plays any harder than my guys do. I’m proud of them and I love them for it."
Gleason 0 0 0 0 6 8—14
Greenfield 0 0 0 0 6 6—12
Gre — Ty Smithson 3 pass from Dalton Potts, (run failed).
Gle — Nicky Spain 11 run, (run failed).
Gle — Cody Ezell 5 run, (Ezell run).
Gre — Smithson 10 pass from Potts, (run failed).
First Downs 10 3
Rushes-yards 48-172 28-63
Passing yards 41 33
Comp-Att-Int 4-6-0 5-9-0
Punts 5-33.6 6-32.2
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-65 1-15
Rushing — Gleason Nicky Spain 17-89, Sam Cosby 14-38, Cody Ezell 10-34, Dalton Teeter 5-17, Team 2-(-6); Greenfield, Tyler Dunning 15-38, Dalton Potts 10-18, Jonathan Benson 2-7, Steven Sawyers 1-0.
Passing — Gleason, Conner Verdell 4-6-0 41; Greenfield, Potts 5-9-0 33.
Receiving — Gleason, Spain 2-26, Teeter 1-14, Ben Sumner 1-1; Greenfield, Ty Smithson 3-28, Sawyers 1-4, Dunning 1-1.
Records — Gleason 5-2 (1-2 District 13-A), Greenfield 1-6 (0-3 District 14-A).
Next Game — Gleason will visit Huntingdon, while Greenfield travels to Humboldt with kickoff for both games at 7:30 on Friday night.