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Heartbreak weekend

Published October 20. 2011 05:01PM

It was a week full of fantastic finishes on the local high school football scene.

Unfortunately for area teams, almost all of them ended up on the losing side of the thrilling finishes.

Four of the eight games involving TIMES NEWS area teams were decided on scoring plays late in the final quarter with three of them occuring in the final three minutes.

Marian, Lehighton, Panther Valley and Northwestern all suffered heartbreaking losses while Northern Lehigh was the only area team on the winning side of a fourth quarter comeback.

It's difficult to judge which one of the defeats was the most painful. But you can make a case for any of them.

* Panther Valley, Northwestern and Lehighton all suffered one-point losses.

* The Panthers and Tigers saw their games come down to two-point conversions tries. PV missed its conversion against Shenandoah while Northwestern couldn't prevent one against Northern Lehigh.

* Marian and Lehighton both had double digit first half leads that slipped away.

* The Colts suffered the latest heartbreak of the four teams as Minersville scored a touchdown with :25 remaining to pull out a 21-17 win. Stroudsburg's winning TD against the Indians came with 2:27 to play, Panther Valley's touchdown and missed conversion came with 2:36 left against the Blue Devils, and Northwestern lost when the Bulldogs scored with 5:34 left and made the two-point conversion.

* Northwestern, Marian and Lehighton all had their District 11 playoff hopes severely damaged by the losses.

OVERTIME talked to coaches of a couple of the area teams who saw victories slip away last week to see how their teams are bouncing back.

"Losses like we suffered last week always linger with you a little longer," said Marian coach Stan Dakosty. "We played extremely well and were in control of the game almost the entire way, but just didn't finish it out.

"It hurts because the loss really makes qualifying for districts a long shot right now, but we can't afford to feel sorry for ourselves. We still have a good shot at the Eastern Conference playoffs and as the week has gone on, the kids have been able to put the loss behind them and focus on Shenandoah."

The good news for all four area teams that suffered heartbreaking losses is that they are now just one day away from getting back on the field and making last week a distant memory.

"Our kids have really been resiliant this season," said Lehighton coach George Ebbert. "This was our fifth loss and everyone of them has come down to the final minutes.

"For the kids, the coaches, and everyone associated with the program, it's been frustrating. But we had some really good practices this week and I expect our kids to bounce back and play very well against Pocono Mountain West."


TOP BACKS ... Among the highlights of the seventh OVERTIME column of the season are items on a couple of the top running backs in the area.


MUFFLEY MAKES HIS MARK ... Tamaqua's Jarred Muffley had a memorable game last Friday, rushing for 273 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries.

Since 1988 (the first year the TIMES NEWS started running individual stats), this is just the 11th time a player had that many yards rushing in a single game. Muffley is also just the seventh player to accomplish the feat. Also interesting is the fact that the seven players have come from only two different schools - Lehighton and Tamaqua.

The Indians' Robbie Frey had 273 yards or more on five occasions while Lehighton's Joe Semanoff, Vinnie Andrews and Dave Muffley each did it once. Raider players to turn the trick besides Muffley include Jim Hope, Grif Griffiths and Dave Muffley.


VERSATILE SCORER ... Marian's Paul Martin scored all 17 of his team's points in Saturday's loss to Minersville.

Those points pushed Martin's season total to a TIMES NEWS leading 107.

The senior became the first Colt player to score 100 points in a season since 2000 when Al Donadi had 170.

Since 1970, Martin is also only the second player in the TN area to reach 100 points by scoring points by touchdowns, extra points, two-point conversions and field goals. The other player to do this was Northwestern's Ben Clymer in 2007.


CLOSE CALL ... Northern Lehigh has played many close games over the years, but they don't come any closer than the 15-14 victory the Bulldogs had over rival Northwestern last Friday.

The last time the Bulldogs won a one-point game before Friday was Oct. 13, 2000 when they defeated Salisbury, 7-6. In fact, since Northern Lehigh switched its name from Slatington in 1981 this was just the fourth time it won a one-point decision. The other times were Nov. 6, 1987 against Pleasant Valley (8-7) and Oct. 9, 1981 against Pocono Mountain (14-13).


YARDS IN A HURRY ... Panther Valley's Devon Dillard caught just two passes against Shenandoah Valley on Saturday ... but he made them count. Dillard's two receptions both went for touchdowns. One was an 80-yarder and the other covered 85 yards.

The 165 yards receiving by Dillard are the most by a Panther player in one game since Nov. 14, 1992 (198 games ago) when Fenton Black had 252 yards receiving against Jim Thorpe.


NEARING SCHOOL RECORD ... Despite being injured off and on throughout his career, Lehighton's Josh Agosto is approaching a school record.

The senior quarterback, who has thrown for 556 yards this season, now has 2,477 in his career. That figure is just 152 yards behind the 2,629 that Terry Woginrich accumulated from 1966-68.

In addition to the passing yards, Agosto has thrown for 34 career touchdowns while being intercepted just 11 times, a 3.1/1 touchdown/interception ratio.


DAZZLING DEBUT ... Pleasant Valley's Brandon Leap had a memorable game in his first varsity start as a starting quarterback.

Besides leading his team to a win over East Stroudsburg North Friday, the sophomore completed 11-of-21 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns.

Since 1988 (the first year the TIMES NEWS individual stats) Leap is just the 13th player to throw for that many yards in a single game.

The others include Jim Thorpe's Corey Cinicola, Eric Schrantz and Matt Long; Panther Valley's Cazzie Kosciolek, Craig Goida and Jake Canzoneri; Marian's Stan Dakosty and Brent "Chuck" Andrew; Lehighton's Brandon Williams and Kyle Hunter; Tamaqua's Geoff Kruczek; and Pleasant Valley's Derrik Walling.

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