SWIFTWATER – On a night where Josh Agosto became Lehighton's all-time leading passer, it would be his legs that would pull out the victory for the Indians.
After blowing a 31-point lead to Pocono Mountain West in roughly nine minutes, it was up to the Lehighton offense to put together one last drive to preserve the win. That drive consisted of one player and one player only. Quarterback Josh Agosto.
Starting at his own 16-yard-line, Agosto carried the ball twice for 19 yards. Then, following an incompletion, the senior quarterback called his own number four more times in a row. His runs went for 11, 16, 36 and two yards, with the last being a touchdown to put his Indians up 38-28 with under three minutes to go. That would end up being the final, as Lehighton picked up its first Mountain Valley Conference win of the year.
"I just wanted to help the team out as much as I possibly could," said Agosto, who threw or ran for four touchdowns on the night. "We needed to get down the field and score one more time in order to win the game.
"I couldn't have done it without my team though. They pushed just as hard as I did at the end of the game. It took all of us to pull this one out."
Lehighton played near perfect football for the first 33 minutes of the game. The Indians' offense scored on three of their six first-half possessions and even received a touchdown from their defense right before halftime. Lehighton then scored on its first drive of the second half, going 66 yards in 13 plays. Agosto scampered in from 12 yards out to put the Indians up 31-0 with 2:52 to play in the third quarter.
At the same time, Lehighton's defense was playing outstanding. The Indians held the Panthers to five straight three-and-outs to start the game. Jerry Quinones then sacked West quarterback Jeff Krisiak on the first play of the Panthers' next drive and stole the ball right out of his hands in the process. Quinones took off and rumbled 30 yards for the score.
West didn't pick up its initial first down of the game until 25 seconds remained in the first half when TJ Bell ran for 11 yards. West totaled just 21 yards of offense in the half and was held to a staggering negative-29 yards rushing for the game. A few bad snaps were the main reason for the low number.
"The defense did such a great job in the first half," said Lehighton head coach George Ebbert. "That is all we could ask for. Five three-and-outs and a touchdown. You can't ask for more than that.
"West took advantage of some things in the second half, but we were able to hang on and win."
The Panthers went strictly to the air in the second half and made a game of things. West scored four touchdowns in roughly nine minutes to pull within three (31-28). Lehighton didn't help its cause, as it went three-and-out two drives in a row before fumbling the ball away midway through the fourth. Krisiak threw four touchdowns of 50, 16, 37 and 14 yards in that time.
Fortunately for the Indians, Agosto followed West's last score by putting together a drive when his team needed it the most.
"It is tough because you get in situations like that and I am sure it crept into our minds at some point or another," admitted Ebbert. "But we bent and didn't break and these kids are great that way. They are so resilient and such hard workers that I am so proud of them. With all the one-point losses that we have had, we would have even taken a one-point win at this point."
Lehighton went five-for-five on fourth down conversions on the night, including a fake punt. Every drive in which the Indians converted a fourth down eventually led to points.