The CD East junior, who did a little bit of everything for the Panthers in this Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division battle, didn’t miss the second time coming off the edge in overtime.
Brown’s blocked extra-point attempt by Eisel was the difference on the scoreboard in a turnover- and penalty-laced, but thrilling, 17-16 CD East triumph over the Mountain Lions.
“I felt I got a bad start and that’s what stopped me from getting it the first time,” said Brown, who rushed for 101 yards to pace CD East. “The second time Terius [Thweatt] hit the end for me and I ran right around him. He got just enough of him that allowed me to go right around him and block it.”
It took Brown’s speed off the edge and overtime heroics to rescue CD East from disaster after building a 10-0 lead in the third quarter.
Despite five Altoona (2-3, 0-2 Commonwealth) turnovers, it was the Mountain Lions who had the best chance at pulling out the win in the dying seconds.
Altoona had five cracks inside the Panthers 20-yard line in the final minute of the game but could not find the end zone. So the Mountain Lions settled for Eisel’s 25-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime.
“We are a very resilient group. Our kids are tough and they have a mentality of we can be down, we are not out. We had a chance to win that game tonight and it just didn’t happen,” Altoona head coach Nick Felus said. “We just didn’t make enough plays to win. We didn’t finish. There were a lot of turnovers and it was sloppy, but it was a great high school football game.”
The Mountain Lions lost all three of their fumbles and quarterback Connor McCarthy was picked off two times. CD East countered with three turnovers of its own and a whopping 13 penalties for 89 yards.
“We have to take care of the ball more than anything. Our defense gave us a chance to win the game,” Felus said. “They gave us some opportunities and we have to come away with points in those situations if we want to win.”
CD East looked like it had the game wrapped up late in the fourth quarter clinging to a 10-7 lead.
Brown completed a pass to Larry English on third-and-9 that covered 27 yards and took the ball down to the Altoona 16-yard line with a little more than three minutes to play.
But the Panthers were called for an illegal shift and ended up punting the ball away to the Mountain Lions with 3:01 to play.
McCarthy saved his best for the very end, using the combination of his arm and legs to give his team a shot to win. He marched his Mountain Lions from their own 32 all the way down to the CD East 8-yard line before the Mountain Lions tying the winning field goal.
Give the CD East defense credit for standing tall in the dying stages of regulation. Five snaps from inside the Panthers 20 for Altoona yielded less than 10 yards and forced the Mountain Lions to kick a field goal.
“Our defense played great tonight. We had some turnovers on offense tonight and defense held it down for us,” Brown said. “I was proud of our defense tonight holding Altoona to 16 points and giving us an opportunity to win the game.”
CD East outgained Altoona 398-287 and scored first in overtime on Stephon Brown’s 10-yard run. McCarthy answered with a 10-yard scamper of his on the Mountain Lions’ first snap on offense in OT to make it 17-16.
“Our No. 1 goal is to be plus 2 in the turnover battle and we didn’t do that tonight,” Felus said. “And we didn’t take advantage of some of their mistakes.”