Thorpe wins in 2 OT
MAHANOY CITY Jim Thorpe's Phil Schron rarely finds himself in the spotlight.
The junior fullback is usually relegated to the role most high school fullbacks face a blocking back for the team's star tailback.
On Friday night, though, Schron was given his moment to shine.
After forcing a fumble near the goal line on defense to keep his team tied at 12-12 in double overtime, he got the call on offense and took full advantage. On third down at the two, the 5-10, 185-pounder powered his way up the middle and into the end zone to give the Olympians a dramatic 18-12 Anthracite League win.
"Incredible, just incredible," said Schron, whose five carries on the evening resulted in three first downs and the game-winning touchdown. "The o-line did a great job and the defense stepped up in the second half. You can't ask for a better team this year.
"I like blocking. When I get the ball, I just try to fight for yards. It's always great to run the ball, but as long as we come out on top that's what's most important."
Thorpe (6-1) had a chance to come out on top in regulation as it drove 33 yards in just under two minutes to try and break a 6-6 tie.
A 26-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left to play was wide, however, sending the contest to overtime.
The Olympians' Terry Moll put his team on top with a five-yard scoring run, but the Golden Bears (5-2) came right back with their possession as Nick Forte bulled his way over from four yards out.
With both clubs missing their extra-point attempts, the score was tied 12-12 and the game moved to a second OT.
Mahanoy, after running two plays, were faced with third down from the five. Nathan Fegley received a toss to the left and tried to fight in for the score. Schron met the ballcarrier right near the goal line and forced a fumble which ended up being recovered by JT's Sean Green.
With a chance to win now on their possession, the visitors moved to the two behind a pair of runs by Shane Edwards. Schron got the call on third down and followed his line to paydirt, setting off a wild celebration.
"Wow," said Olympian head coach Mark Rosenberger. "Give our kids credit. They fought, hung in there, came back and found a way to win. Right now, we're winning ugly but we're winning and that's the bottom line. What a great game. I'm just so excited to win this game, especially the way we won it.
"Shane made some hard runs for us, Terry made a couple great runs and Phil finished it off. Phil's been extremely patient all year as far as carrying the football. He's a tough runner. You could see that in the second half. We've been relying so much on Shane the last few weeks that other teams are keying on him. If that happens we need to go to other people. Terry made some big runs, and then so did Phil."
Mahanoy ran all over the Olympians during the game's opening possession. Quarterback Mike Gaval directed his team on a nine-play, 61-yard drive that gave the hosts a 6-0 lead just over five minutes in.
While Thorpe couldn't muster much offense in the first half, managing just two first downs, it came out on a mission to start the third quarter. Similar to the Bears' drive, Rosenberger's club moved 79 yards in 16 plays to pull even at 6-6. Moll started things with a 16-yard scamper and ended it with a 10-yard scoring run.
"The offensive line did a great job in the second half," said Rosenberger, who gained his first-ever overtime win. "In the first half, give (Mahanoy) credit. They really dominated the line of scrimmage. But in the scond half we controlled it. We just ended up making one more play than they did.
"I thought our defense also came up big in the second half. They played an outstanding game after the first series. It was just an outstanding football game. We preach all the time about family and staying together. A lot of guys stepped up in the second half and we came together as a unit. It was exciting to see that happen. To win a game like this is outstanding and it's just going to build momentum for us."