It seemed as though Lehighton was going to cruise to an easy win early on. They took a 12-0 lead on back-to-back scores right off the bat. However, in the minds of East Stroudsburg South, the game was just getting started.
Facing the two-TD deficit, the Cavs reeled off three unanswered touchdowns to take the lead and eventually held off the Indians for the 27-22 Mountain Valley Conference win.
"We made too many mental mistakes tonight and blew a couple assignments and then defensively, we let them back into it and they took advantage," said Lehighton head coach George Ebbert.
Late in the contest, the winners needed to hold off the advances of the Indians as they ran out the clock out for the victory.
Early on, the locals took the lead on their first drive of the night. Eventually, senior quarterback Josh Agosto found junior receiver Jacen Nalesnik for the five-yard TD. After the kick failed, though, the score was 6-0 with ten minutes on the first quarter clock.
ESS took the ball and squandered an opportunity, relinquishing the ball back, and their opponents took advantage. Eight plays later, Agosto found some room to the left and meandered his way in from the two for the 12-0 lead, after a passing conversion attempt went by the wayside.
That's when the Cavaliers seemed to awaken and make the most of their chances. It took three plays to attain paydirt, as Tariq Butler made a brilliant move, getting away for a 32-yard dash, and the PAT cut into the lead at 12-7 with 3:33 left.
A Lehighton punt gave way to another chance for the hosts, and they delivered, as Butler raced 39 yards this time for a 14-12 lead, when Dan Saunders' boot split the uprights.
A little more than four minutes into the second quarter, East Stroudsburg got the ball at their own 48 and their first play yielded another TD, as this time, junior QB Tyler McLaughlin found Terryl Littles for a nice-looking 52-yard scoring reception, ballooning the lead to 21-12 with 7:19 left before half.
Both teams sputtered their way into the lockerrooms, where some much-needed adjustments went down.
"They did a good job of taking Jacen (Nalesnik) out of the second part of the game and their linebackers were charging fast and hard on us all night," Ebbert admitted. "It wasn't for a lack of effort on our part, though."
This rang true for the Tribe, as their initial custody of the ball in the second half was near perfect. They marched down the field, on 21 plays and got down to the ESS one-yard line, before coughing the ball up and giving up possesssion. That seemed to hurt the motivation and chances of a comeback, as the wind was deleted from their sails.
Despite the devastation, they still managed to post a 27-yard field goal with 11:11 left in the game by Nalesnik, making it 21-15.
The Cavaliers came back a possession later with a field goal of their own - a 31-yarder by Saunders, cementing the lead for a while.
A Lehighton fumble gave way to another three-point boot, as Saunders split them again on a 31-yarder. This kick made the score 27-15 with 2:49 left.
On their next chance, the Indians scored on a 12-yard scoring reception from Agosto to Nalesnik, but it proved to be too little, too late, as time ran out.
Ebbert looks ahead to next week, "We'll come out, keep working hard and keep going. These kids don't quit and they want to get better," Ebbert mentioned. "We should be alright."