By Andy Shay:
Steel-High has a rich and storied football history littered with great teams, players, state championships and a flair for the dramatic at times.
Friday night on the road at Old Forge in Lackawanna County, the 2020 Steel-High team added another chapter to that rich Rollers football history.
Side note to this story: a few of us were on the sidelines at Seibert Park at the Camp Hill game watching the last couple minutes of this thriller play out. It was cool to be able to watch it on a phone. Who ever thought, right?
Before we get to the crazy final 10 seconds, it must be noted the Rollers rallied from down 36-27 with less than five minutes to play and won the game in regulation. That’s easy to forget in the drama that played out — especially at a stadium called the Devil’s Den.
Freshman quarterback Alex Erby was sensational down the stretch, completing 11 passes in two drives to take his team down the field with a pair of touchdown passes to win it.
The second of those came with no time remaining on the clock after his first attempt at victory from 6 yards out was incomplete, only for Old Forge was flagged for holding on the play.
Of course he was looking for his big-time FBS recruit wide receiver with the game on the line. He has other options at wideout, but Flowers is a big-time recruit for a reason. And given a second chance, Erby delivered and Flowers made the grab to keep the Rollers’ undefeated season alive with a date in the PIAA Class 1A semifinals up next.
Camp Hill might play another game with this special group of seniors, but we all know COVID-19 ravaged the schedule the last couple weeks and it feels like football is done. If this was the Lions’ last effort it was one they should be proud of in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal at home. That Bishop McDevitt-Wyncote had every advantage in the book but ran into a group of fearless razorbacks that simply wouldn’t be denied their shot.
It’s always fun to see a team that on paper is clearly overmatched in terms of the other squad being bigger, stronger and faster but yet the game is a tractor pull all the way for that team. You can read my game recap and Making The Grade for all the details.
Palmyra started 0-4 and will most likely — unless it plays another game — close this wacky COVID-19 season with three wins in its final four games after knocking off Northern by a field goal. This was a Northern team that raced to 5-0 and qualified for the District 3 Class 4A playoffs. That’s a big-time win for the Cougars and a testament to their sheer determination under these very trying circumstances. The Polar Bears lost for the third time in as many games after a torrid start.
Cumberland Valley and first-year coach Josh Oswalt are putting a few of the bricks in place as the Eagles’ alumnus re-shapes this program. Back-to-back wins over Carlisle and Cedar Cliff after a historically bad start — not seen since the 1970s. Freshman linebacker Alex Sauve returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown with 4:18 to play to rally CV to a four-point victory over hard-luck Cedar Cliff.
Wins over Cedar Cliff and Carlisle are normally a foregone conclusion for a program like CV, but as the Eagles turn over a new leaf under Oswalt any forward momentum is welcome.
Cumberland Valley and Mechanicsburg, one-time rivals who played annually for decades, are scheduled to play again on Thanksgiving Day. Who knows what the next couple weeks hold with COVID-19, but an old high school football rivalry renewed on Thanksgiving Day would be a breath of fresh air during these very difficult and troubling times.