I'm in a crowded press box at Foyle-Kling Field for tonight's huge matchup of No. 1 large school and defending Class AA state champion Orchard Park at No. 2 Lancaster.
I'll provide updates when I can, just sit back and become buddies with your refresh button.
7:24 p.m. It's senior night for the Redskins, who were just introduced with their parents on the field. Some careful steps were taken out there by several parents, and a few had umbrellas. That will tell you a little about the field conditions. The Lancaster sideline below me is already muddied up quite a bit. It should be interesting here on the grass field. By the way, a great job by the Lancaster field crew -- there is a Lancaster and an OP helmet painted at midfield on our side, and a huge "R" facing the visiting bleachers. Great stuff. This is always one of the best places to watch a game.
7:34 p.m. The captains are meeting. The rest of the Lancaster team walks hand-in-hand and forms a long line behind their captains perpendicular to the 50-yard line. The Redskins similarly walked out that way for introductions.
7:35 p.m. Lancaster will receive.
7:37 p.m. Lancaster will start at its 20.
7:40 p.m. Lancaster goes three-and-out after two passes and a scramble by Justin Juda which was halted by a nice wrapup by Dan Selby. OP starts at the Lancaster 40.
7:42 p.m. That's three-and-outs for both teams on their first possessions. Two Okoya Anderson runs and an incomplete pass by Dave Janca, and OP punts and a touchback starts Lancaster at its 20.
7:44 p.m. Big play by the Quaker defense as junior Paul Leavell steps in front of a nicely-thrown ball by Juda at the Lancaster 45 and runs back a nice return. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, OP starts at the Lancaster 31 with 8:14 left in the first quarter.
7:50 p.m. Orchard Park has scored a TOUCHDOWN in fittingly dramatic fashion in a game between the top two large schools. On fourth-and-goal at the 1, Anderson carried left and followed a nice push for the score. Sophomore Austin Reece added the extra point and Orchard Park leads, 7-0, with 3:08 left in the first quarter.
Here's some not-so-close-up video of the score:
7:54 p.m. An update from correspondent Lauren Mariacher at Elma -- Sweet Home leads Iroquois, 14-10, at halftime.
7:55 p.m. Lancaster faces a fourth-and-6 and calls a timeout with 1:45 left in the first quarter; the Redskins have Juda pooch punt and OP takes over at its 33 with 1:36 left in the first.
7:58 p.m. OP goes three-and-out after two incompletions and a stuffed run by Anderson -- Reece has a nice punt bounce to around the Lancaster 25, but an illegal block penalty will move the Redskins up to the 35.
8:01 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Orchard Park leads Lancaster, 7-0.
The Redskins are driving -- two first-down runs by Zack Maryniewski have Lancaster at the OP 40.
8:05 p.m. Lancaster has called a timeout with 10:25 left in the second quarter, having driven to the OP 19 but facing a fourth-and-6. A big third-down conversion went from Juda to Sean Pantling across the middle on third-and-10 from the OP 40.
8:06 p.m. Lancaster goes for it on the fourth down and is stopped when senior linebacker Joshua Reed sniffed out Maryniewski on a screen pass.
8:09 p.m. The field is getting chewed up on the left half (OP is now driving left to right on your computer screen; Lancaster had the ball in that end for much of the first quarter). Footing is a little iffy and there is some slipping going on. There are also some visible chunks of divots around the 20-yard line on the left side. There has been hardly any action on the right.
8:14 p.m. OP moved to its 32 but had to punt; Lancaster went three-and-out on the ensuing possession; OP takes over at near its 14 (no yardage on the scoreboard and it's tough to tell down there) with 6:00 left in the second quarter.
8:18 p.m. Dave Janca hits Cory Harrison on a nice pass on third-and-8 for what looked like a first down, but a measurement shows OP short by an inch or two. OP lines up and nearly draws Lancaster off-sides before calling a timeout with 4:40 left in the third. They come out in punt formation.
8:21 p.m. Lancaster takes over at its 46 with 4:28 left in the second quarter.
8:23 p.m. Orchard Park takes over at its 20 with 3:35 left in the second after a very quick three-and-out by Lancaster which had two incompletions and a stuffed run.
8:26 p.m. Lancaster gets a big break on an OP short punt and takes over at the OP 26.
8:27 p.m. The drive went that fast -- Lancaster misfires on a Juda pass on fourth-and-7 and OP takes over at its 23 with 56 seconds left in the second quarter.
8:30 p.m. Orchard Park has moved forward a big chunk in a little time and calls a timeout with 19 seconds left in the first half. Anderson had two big runs, one for 12 yards and one for 17 to get OP to the Lancaster 48.
8:31 p.m. Another nice run for Anderson up the middle is followed by a timeout by OP with 13 seconds left in the half. OP has a second-and-5 at the Lancaster 43.
8:34 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and Orchard Park has a 7-0 lead. The clock is counting down for 12 minutes.
OP moved the ball well on its final possession; Dave Janca hit Derek Janca on the left sideline for a first down at the Lancaster 36 -- and he got out of bounds with five seconds left. On the final play, Dave Janca hung up a pass down the left sideline for senior Kevin Collins, who appeared to get his hands on the ball but was well covered and the ball fell to the muddy turf.
It's not raining now but the field has been a factor. It might be affecting the quarterbacks, because when they are on the move they haven't been accurate.
8:45 p.m. A radio report has Sweet Home leading Iroquois, 29-13, in the second half. Another press box report -- Andrew Mrozek is out with a broken collarbone, a big ouch for Lancaster.
8:51 p.m. A great return by Leavell, who took a short-hop kickoff, followed tightly-bunched blockers and literally shook his leg out of what appeared to be a certain tackle to take the ball to the OP 47.
8:54 p.m. Orchard Park has to punt and Lancaster takes over at its 27 wtih 9:40 left in the third quarter.
8:59 p.m. Orchard Park takes over at its 23 after stopping Maryniewski on a fourth-and-1 run at the OP 21. Great hold by OP after Lancaster found life behind Juda's option runs to the outside and Cory Davis's runs up the middle.
9:06 p.m. Whoa. Huge play here. Lancaster called a timeout with 3:38 left in the third quarter after a crazy play. Orchard Park went to punt and a faulty snap brought Reece to the right side, just in line for a Lancaster player to block it -- Reece's punt went out of bounds at an extreme angle and it looked like it was blocked -- but it wasn't. The player was all over Reece and was called for roughing the kicker, giving OP a first down at the Lancaster 43. Whoa.
9:10 p.m. Another whoa. Lancaster nearly had an interception on one play but the defender couldn't come down with it. On the next, Andy Speyer had an interception but it was called back on a pass interference penalty.
9:13 p.m. I'm running out of whoas. Lancaster finally got that interception, as senior Kevin Schwach -- the player who nearly blocked the punt -- picked off a Dave Janca pass to the right sideline to give Lancaster the ball at its 27 with 1:52 left in the third.
9:14 p.m. On Lancaster's first play, Juda kept it up the middle and sped all the way on a great run to the OP 18. Kevin Collins made a touchdown-saving tackle.
9:16 p.m. Lancaster calls a timeout with 12 seconds left in the third quarter, facing a fourth-and-7 at the OP 15. Great play by Cody Hallick, a junior, to stuff a third-and-6 run behind the line of scrimmage.
9:18 p.m. We have a TOUCHDOWN for Lancaster with two seconds left in the third quarter after a great play by Juda. The senior quarterback rolled left on the fourth down play, then reversed field and went back to the right side while several Quakers bore down on him. Juda put up a great pass to the end zone, over an OP defender and where Sean Pantling could get it for a score.
On the extra point, however, there was a bad snap and Michael Theuerkauf never got off a kick.
Orchard Park still leads Lancaster, 7-6.
9:20 p.m. After a touchback kickoff, that is the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER.
9:22 p.m. A final from Elma: Sweet Home beats Iroquois, 44-23.
9:31 p.m. Not many updates from me here as I've got a deadline to make. OP just converted a huge third down when Janca hit Robert Kugler on third-and-14 to move OP from midfield to the Lancaster 23.
9:33 p.m. Huge play for Lancaster now. A personal foul moved OP into a third-and-23 at the 35, and Janca was picked off by Ryan Loftus, who returned the ball to the Lancaster 27 with 4:56 left to play.
9:37 p.m. Lancaster at OP 37 after a personal foul call on OP. Just over three minutes left.
9:38 p.m. Timeout Orchard Park with 2:54 left and Lancaster with a first down at the OP 23. Juda just hit Cory Davis on a short safety-valve pass across the middle that went for a 14-yard gain.
9:41 p.m. Timeout Lancaster with the Redskins facing a third-and-3 at the OP 16 with 1:46 left in the game.
9:48 p.m. Lancaster lining up for a potential game-winning field goal wtih 10 seconds left.
9:49 p.m. Alex Debbins hit the 21-yard field goal to give Lancaster a 9-7 lead with six seconds left. WHOA.
Here's some video which is quite fuzzy, but the reaction of the crowd is pretty priceless:
9:51 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Lancaster 9, Orchard Park 7. I gotta run.
* * *
Here's what happens after your team kicks a field goal in the final seconds to beat the reigning state champions (and that's three broadcast teams plus a PA announcer in a buzzing press box):
* * *Here's a link to my story, featuring video interviews.
taggedHigh school football | Lancaster | Orchard Park