Late Drive Gives Dragons 28-21 Win Over Hogeye

The Livingston Academy Wildcats visited the Dragon Pit to face their long time rival York Institute Dragons on Friday, October 19.

As is usually when these two old rivals meet, it was another epic battle, with first one scoring and then the other, with the final outcome uncertain  until the final seconds of the contest.

The Wildcats took the opening kickoff and was forced to a 3 and out and giving the ball to York on their 22 yard line.  The Dragons moved the ball deep into Wildcat territory sparked by a 31 yard reception from Landrick Leffew to Lathan Drake.

This drive, however, was stopped on the LA 17 when the Dragons came up short on 4th and 3 play.

After LA moved the ball to midfield,  quarterback Will McDonald connected on a 39 yard pass to Michael Ayers for a first down at the Dragon 11 where a strong defensive stand by York forced a 27 yard field goal attempt by Tee Beaty that missed wide right.

The Dragons took over at their own 20 yard line and moved out to their 41 where they were forced to punt, with the Wildcats getting good field position at their 38 with 8:15 left in the 2nd quarter.

LA was quick to take  advantage of this possession by completing a 5 yard pass from McDonald to Brody Johnson followed by a 57 yard TD pass to Wesley Smith.  Beaty added the PAT giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 7:28 left in the first half.

The Dragons responded by taking possession at their 31   and putting together a 7 play,  69 yard drive which was capped off by Thomas Miller’’s   26 yard run.  Johann West added the PAT tying the game at 7-7 with 4:13 in the half and that was how the first half ended.

York received the opening 2nd half kickoff, which was a touchback,  at their 20.  Cole Cooper sparked the drive with a couple of big runs (26 yards and 32 yards).  With the ball at the LA 5, Cooper finished the drive with a rushing TD  to cap the 8-play, 80-yard drive, and West connected on the PAT to give the Dragons their first lead of the game, 14-7.

The Dragons recovered an on-side kick on the ensuing kickoff, but a holding penalty put them in a hole, and they were forced to punt on 4th down, with the Wildcats taking the punt at their 31.

LA was forced to punt and York took over at the York 20.  York picked up two first downs and moved the ball up to their 46 yard line where Leffew had a passed tipped at the line of scrimmage that was intercepted by defensive lineman Austin Reeder,  who returned the ball to the York 36 and a 15 yard face mask penalty moved the ball all the way down to the York 21.  On the next play, McDonald connected with Will Sims to tie the game at 14-14 after the Beaty PAT with :25 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Dragons took over again at their 20 following a touchback.  The Dragons moved the ball to the LA 41 when Leffew connected with Drake for a 19 yard reception at the LA 22.  On the next play, fullback Ben Cooper broke through the line raced 22 yards, with West adding the extra point to give York a 21-14 lead with 8:43 to go in the game.

LA once again struck back quickly,  this time on the ground when Nate Neely ran 49 yards to tie the game again at 21-21 following the Beaty PAT.

York started their next drive after a 21 yard return by Miller at the Dragon 34.  The Dragons moved the ball to midfield and faced a crucial 3rd & 13 play, which saw Leffew connecting with Miller on a 24 yard pass  to the LA 26.  Following a Dragon false start and  runs of 4, 7, 16, and 1 yards, Cole Cooper took the ball into  the Hogeye endzone and West’s PAT gave the Dragons a 28-21 lead with only 1:04 left in the game.

LA took the ball over at their own 15 yard line.  McDonald connected with Aubrey Hollars for a 12 yard pass to their 27 and then a 7 yard pass to Neely to the LA 34.  On the next play, McDonald was forced to scramble and ran for 9 yards and stepped out of bounds at the LA 43.  Cade Brannon was charged with a late hit and was flagged with a 15 yard personal foul that moved the ball to the York 42 yard line with about a half of a minute left in the game.  On the next play, however, Brannon redeemed himself when he intercepted a McDonald pass at the Dragon 5 yard line and returned it 4 yards to the 9.  Leffew took a knee on the next play to end the game and preserve the 28-21 Dragon victory.

Following the game, a very happy Dragon Head Coach Derwin Wright commented:  “It was a great win.  It was one of those games where it appeared to be whoever had the ball last would win.  We put together a great drive, which made them use most of their timeouts, but we still left nearly a minute of time on the clock.  The third and long play that Landrick Leffew and Thomas Miller connected on was a huge play for us.  Cade Brannon made a not-so-smart play when he hit their quarterback out of bounds, but came back and redeemed himself on the next play with the interception.”

Read the rest of the story and get all of the stats in this weeks Fentress Courier.

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