Leroy ends Eagles’ season, 14-7

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 19, 2000

Sports Writer

LEROY – For 45 minutes, the Goshen Eagles went pound-for-pound and toe-to-toe with the Leroy Bears dead even and appeared to be heading toward overtime with a trip to the Class 2A quarterfinals on the line.

With the score tied at 7-7

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and just over three minutes left in the game, the Bears were facing third down and 42 yards to go at the GHS 47 yard line with the Eagles set for a potential game winning drive.

Then the unthinkable happened.

On a rare trick play in a game dominated by defense and ball control offense, senior Samson Ervin completed a 46 yard halfback pass to Matt Powell setting up a one yard touchdown run by Josh McConico with 2:07 left as the Bears earning a hard fought 14-7 victory over the Eagles in the second round of the Class 2A State Playoffs on a cold and windy night at Palmer Stadium in Leroy Friday.

However, the play didn’t take place without controversy as a Leroy blocker appeared to have clipped GHS senior linebacker Mitch Holland and Ervin had lots of time to throw finding Powell behind the Eagles’ secondary. Unfortunately for the Eagles, there were no flags and the Bears escaped.

On the ensuing drive, Goshen had great field position as they recovered an onside kick at the

Eagle 48 yard line. The Eagles, however, were unable to mount a serious threat as quarterback Michael Hatten was sacked twice setting up a fourth down and 25 situation in which a desperation pass to Jamar Tucker fell incomplete. The Bears ran out the clock as the Eagles were unable to stop the clock without any timeouts.

Goshen head coach Joe Thornton said the no-call at the game’s most critical juncture definitely played a huge role in the outcome.

"There was a clip and I thought I saw it," Thornton said. "There were bodies around the play and flying around. He scrambled around so much we thought he would just come up the line and run it. But that one play didn’t beat us."

Following an exchange of punts to start the game, the Bears put together a long time consuming drive which lasted nearly eight minutes. Starting at their own 43-yard line, the Bears marched 57 yards in 15 plays. The keys were a 11-yard third down run by quarterback Willie Dixon and an offsides call against the Eagles on fourth down and four at the GHS nine-yard line. Three plays later, Dixon tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Ervin in the corner of the end zone for the game’s first points. The extra point by Patrick Doggett was good and with 1:09 left in the first quarter the Bears led 7-0.

In the second quarter, the Bears possessed the football for several minutes keeping the Eagle offense off the field. Goshen was limited to just 12 plays and one first down

in the entire first half as Leroy led 7-0 at intermission.

"We should have done a better job on offense with play calling in the first half," Thornton said.

In the third quarter, the Eagles were finally able to get into an offensive rhythm as they started at the GHS 24-yard line. On the drive, junior running back Dee Brundidge picked up 59 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, Brundidge was stripped of the football and Ervin recovered at the Leroy 15-yard line stalling the drive.

After the Eagle defense forced a three and out, the offense went back to work as they

put together a 16 play, 57 yard scoring drive. The key play was a 10-yard pass from Hatten to Tucker and a one yard run on fourth and inches by Brundidge. Facing a third and four at the LHS 12 yard line, Brundidge busted it up the middle for 10-yards and a first down. One play later, Quez Burden took it in from 2-yards out. The extra point by Holland was good, and with 11:27 remaining in the game the scored was tied at 7-7.

However, it was the last time the Eagles would see the football for over nine minutes as the Bears put together a 16 play, 80 yard drive for the game’s winning points highlighted by the halfback pass.

Thornton said the postseason experience of the Bears showed in the waning moments of the game.

"The best team didn’t win, but they had more experience (14 seniors, 13 juniors) and they’ve been in the big games," Thornton said.

With the win, the Bears (11-1) advanced to next week’s quarter finals

when they will host Clay County (11-1) who defeated Geneva County 20-8.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Thornton said the Eagles have nothing to be ashamed of finishing with a 10-2 mark following a 4-6 campaign last year.

"Our kids are proud of what they’ve accomplished," Thornton said. ‘We’ve came from obscurity and

started playing top notch 2A football."

Brundidge finished with 113 yards on 17 carries picked up much of his yardage in the second half. Hatten completed 4-of-9 for 36 yards as the Eagles were limited to just 157 yards total offense against the Bears.

Senior running back Marck Anthony Coleman led the Bears in rushing with 95 yards rushing on 28 carries.