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Comeback completed: East Pennsboro rallies past Greencastle-Antrim, 27-19

East Pennsboro put together a furious comeback at home against Greencastle-Antrim, scoring 20 unanswered fourth-quarter points, to come from behind and clip the Blue Devils 27-19 in a stellar Mid-Penn Colonial Division offering Friday night.

KEYS TO VICTORY

This might sound weird, but in order to get back in this game and have any shot, the Panthers had to go away from star running back Sy Burgos and work inside instead on the edges. And it worked to perfection thanks to an offensive line that opened huge holes the final 12 minutes. East Penn pounded the rock with Devin Shepherd in between the tackles. And the senior responded with 85 yards on eight carries. That opened up the room for Burgos to find those cracks.

East Pennsboro loses this game if it wasn’t for Ethan Campbell. Panthers QB Keith Oates was picked off the first two East Pennsboro possessions of the second half, and the Blue Devils turned the first one into six quick points to surge in front 19-7. The second pick saw G-A set up shop on the East Penn 20, and in the dying minutes of the third quarter had an opportunity to put this one away. Campbell, a senior, made a great break on a throw by Blue Devils QB Taylor Conrad and made a nifty interception in the end zone. It was the spark that lit the fire.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Burgos broke free on a 40-yard run early for a score and added a 66-yard dart to the house late in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to eight points as part of a 210-yard night. He still averaged 10.0 yards per carry despite some excellent defense by the Blue Devils. … Penalties were a problem for Greencastle, especially the 15-yard variety. The Blue Devils finished 9-100 in penalties with five of the nine being 15 yarders. … The ability to convert on third and fourth down eventually came back to stymie G-A, as the Blue Devils were only 5-for-15 overall converting on the chain moving downs. … East Pennsboro won a game where it managed only 16 yards through the air.

WHAT WE SAW

Greencastle-Antrim is going to be a tough out in the Colonial Division. They are well coached, and the defensive game plan to slow down Burgos was on point the first half. It gave the Panthers star fits. East Pennsboro countered with a major adjustment and went straight north-south with its running game in order to soften up the defense a bit.

The Blue Devils had this game right where they wanted it. You let G-A put you inside their box, they will beat you. And even Panthers coach John Denniston knew his team was in deep trouble late in the third quarter. It took some serious commitment by the Panthers to stick to the plan of running the ball inside to win the game.

THEY SAID IT

“It took us to go in the locker room at halftime and come back out and play as a family. We weren’t playing as a family the firs half. We were playing as individuals, and that won’t win you games. The offensive line did everything for us. They set up everything for our offense.” — East Pennsboro LB-RB Devin Shepherd

“This team has an incredible capacity to grind and play all 48 minutes. They could have buckled tonight. They did have us, I felt like they did until we got that pick late in the third quarter. And the offensive coaches going with a heavier run package for the second half, that was key. This is one where we were close to breaking. Sy is such a talent, sometimes you just wait for him to go off. They had an excellent game plan and were executing it. We came out and went straight at them the second half.” — East Pennsboro coach John Denniston

PANTHERS 27, BLUE DEVILS 19

Greencastle-Antrim            0 13 6 0 – 19

East Pennsboro       7 0 0 20 – 27

First Quarter

EP-Sy Burgos 40 run (Dakota Campbell kick), 5:28

Second Quarter

G-A-Brady Diller 12 run (Nathan Kirkwood kick), 9:46

G-A-David Niebauer 10 run (kick blocked), 1:41

Third Quarter

G-A-Taylor Conrad 1 run (run failed), 5:22

Fourth Quarter

EP-Keith Oates 2 run (run failed), 10:53

EP-Oates 1 run (Campbell kick), 4:47

EP-Burgos 66 run (Campbell kick), 2:14

Team Statistics                     G-A      EP

First downs                         18          22

Rushes-yards                    38-175  49-344

C-A-I                                         12-18-1  2-6-2

Passing yards                    153         16

Fumbles-lost                      0-0        0-0

Punts-avg.                               3-20.7      2-38.5

Penalties-yards                       9-100     5-45

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: Greencastle-Antrim, David Neibauer 18-84; Tavon Cooper 8-67; Brady Diller 4-15; Taylor Conrad 9-9. East Pennsboro, Sy Burgos 21-210; Devin Shepherd 8-85; Harrison Laman 6-30; Trey Good 2-12; Dakota Campbell 2-6; Keith Oates 8-3; Team 2-(minus-2).

PASSING: Greencastle-Antrim, Conrad 11-17-1-122; Andrew Kerns 1-1-0-31. East Pennsboro, Oates 2-6-2-16.

RECEIVING: Greencastle-Antrim, Cooper 3-45; Diller 1-41; Ethan Shank 4-37; Niebauer 1-14; Erby 1-9; Kerns 1-4; Mason Bowers 1-3. East Pennsboro, Burgos 1-3; William Bragunier 1-13.

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