Eagles hold off Red Level

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2016

Robert Scott makes a diving catch in the end zone.

Robert Scott makes a diving catch in the end zone.

The Pleasant Home Eagles held off the Red Level Tigers in final minutes for a 45-40 victory Friday night at Crystal Springs Park in Red Level.

Red Level got the ball to start the game, but the Eagles’ defense held for a turnover on downs.

“Nail bitters have been the story of our year,” Pleasant Home head coach Chris Mason said. “I’m so proud of these guys. No matter what the situation, they keep their heads up and they always believe that they have a chance to win. Hats off to Red Level, they really played hard tonight. I’m just really proud of my guys. There is a lot of kids that never quit, and you win some ball games with guys like that.”

During the Red Level drive, the Eagles appeared to return a Tiger fumble for a touchdown, but the referees discussed the play and decided to mark the runner down.

Aaron Warthen came up with big hit in the backfield to help force the turnover on downs.

Pleasant Home took over but didn’t hold the ball long as they turned it over by way of fumble. Colten Dorman scooped up the ball for the Tigers.

After Red Level took over, the Pleasant Home defense held and forced a punt after three plays. Michael Ward made stop in the backfield to help force the punt.

Eagles swarm a Red Level ball carrier.

Eagles swarm a Red Level ball carrier.

On the second play of the Eagle drive, Robert Scott connected with Nic Woods for a 58-yard gain down the Red Level 5-yard line.

Scott then scrambled in from two yards out to put the Eagles on top. D. J. Worley tacked on the extra-point to give Pleasant Home a 7-0 lead with 1:17 left in the opening quarter.

This time it Red Levels turn to make a big play, as John Lee fired a pass and Joe Arnold came up with a great catch and run for a 50-yard gain to the Pleasant Home 10-yard line.

Two plays later, Lee burst in the end zone from 6 yards out to pull the Tigers within one point. Red Level failed on the two-point attempt and trailed 7-6 with 11:53 left in the second quarter.

Pleasant Home appeared to score a touchdown on 55-yard pass from Scott to Woods, but the side judge ruled that Woods stepped out of bounds before making the catch.

Red Level’s defense stiffened and forced the Eagles to a punt the ball.

Lee to the first play and went 55 yards to the end zone, but a block in the back behind the play cost the Tigers the score.

John Lee breaks a big run

John Lee breaks a big run

Lee would score three plays later on toss sweep from 4 yards out. The two-point attempt was no good, but Red Level held a 12-7 lead with 9:22 left in the opening half.

Pleasant Home responded right back with a scoring drive after a return from Woods set the Eagles up in Tiger territory.

Scott connected with Garrett Barton for a 9-yard gain, and then a few plays later Scott scampered in from 6 yards out to put the Eagles on top. Worley’s extra-point gave the Eagles a 14-12 lead with 6:12 left before halftime.

Red Level took over following the touchdown, but the Eagles’ defense forced a fumble and Warthen hooped on the ball for Pleasant Home.

Scott busted a 34-yard run to start the drive and then two plays later found Joe Gibbs in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown. Worley added the extra point to put the Eagles on top 21-12.

Red Level wasted no time scoring on the next drive as Lee broke a 66-yard touchdown run. The two-point try was no good and Red Level trailed 21-18 with 2:16 left before halftime.

The Eagles made the most of the remaining time and drove down the field for a touchdown just before haftime. Barton got the ball on a reverse and then fired up a pass to the quarterback Scott, who hauled in the ball for a 6-yard touchdown. The extra-point attempt was no good, but Pleasant Home led 27-18 with 45 seconds left before halftime.

Pleasant Home got the ball to start the second half, but Lee picked off an Eagle pass and raced 60 yards for the touchdown.  With 10:57 left in the third, Red Level trailed 27-24.

Woods made another big kick return into Red Level territory to help the Eagles set up a scoring drive.

Nic Woods makes a strong kickoff return into Red Level territory.

Nic Woods makes a strong kickoff return into Red Level territory.

Worley picked up a first down on a 15-yard run, and Rico Bovino capped off the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed as Pleasant Home held a 33-24 lead with 6:41 left in the third.

Red Level put together a strong drive following the Pleasant Home score, but the Eagles’ defense went into bend-don’t-break mode and forced a turnover on downs.

The Eagles didn’t have the ball long as a fumble gave it right back to the Tigers.

Red Level took advantage of the turnover and turned the following drive into a touchdown. Lee looked to be hemmed up in the backfield, but reversed his field and sprinted 35 yards to the end zone. The Tigers added the two-point conversion and trailed 33-32 with 11:45 left in the game.

The Eagles then drove right back down the field and Bovino capped off the drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. With 6:29 left in the game, the Eagles were on top 39-32.

Lee and the Tigers answered right back with scoring drive, as Lee busted through the Eagle defense for a 34-yard touchdown. Cale Mancill tossed a successful two-point conversion attempt to Arnold to give Red Level a 40-39 lead with 5:09 let in the game.

The Eagles began driving down the field behind big runs from Worley, Scott and Josh Ruth. Worley made the big play as he broke a tackle in the backfield and then sprinted up the middle of the field for a 27-yard touchdown. The two-point try failed, but Pleasant Home was on top 45-40 with 3:05 left in the game.

The Eagles’ defense followed by forcing a turnover on downs and a couple of kneel downs by the offense gave Pleasant Home a 45-40 win.

Despite the loss, Red Level’s Lee ended the game with 385 yards rushing and five total touchdowns.

“We didn’t play with any urgency,” Red Level head coach James Wise said. “It’s like they all sit around and say, ‘Hey, John is going to score in minute so we don’t have to get after it too much.’ It’s like they don’t understand how quickly 48 minutes can go by. I have to tip my hat to Pleasant Home though, they came out and played harder and they were more hungry than us.”