PA’s Anthony Schwab throws a pass to Mike Chisdock (22) as John Ameen (57) blocks.
Pittston Area’s Kyle Gattuso celebrates his touchdown.
Pittston Area’s Justin Wilk carries the ball against Williamsport on Friday night..photos by aimee dilger
A furious fourth quarter comeback went for naught as Pittston Area lost to Williamsport in overtime, 20-14, in a Wyoming Valley Conference affair on Friday night at Charley Trippi Stadium in Yatesville.
The Patriots came out strong with their ground attack to start the night, moving the ball inside Millionaires territory before facing a fourth-and-1 from the 31-yard line with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter.
First-year head coach Mike Barrett kept his offense on the field and had quarterback Anthony Schwab keep the snap and bulldoze his way through the line for just enough for the first down. Schwab’s strong legs proved to be huge, because on the very next play freshman running back Kyle Gattuso broke free of the Millionaires defense for a 30-yard touchdown. Chris Musto added the PAT and the Patriots led 7-0 with 8:23 remaining in the first quarter.
The Patriots first touchdown of the night seemed to fire up the Millionaires offense as they came out on the very next drive and took the lead.
Williamsport quarterback Sadiq Burkholder connected with Sam Person for a 46-yard touchdown reception. The Millionaires decided to try the two-point conversion and it paid off as Devin Miller took the halfback pitch and ran to the far corner of the end zone. The Williamsport lead was 8-7 with 7:25 remaining in the first quarter.
After both teams provided some mid-quarter offensive fireworks in the first, they failed to score again until the fourth quarter.
The Millionaires found the end zone with 3:15 remaining in the final quarter of regulation as Miller broke loose for a 28-yard jaunt on first-and-10 from the Patriots 30. After the Patriots were then called for an illegal substitution moving the line of scrimmage to the one-yard line, Williamsport opted for the quarterback sneak and it paid off as Burkholder pushed his way into the end zone.
The Millionaires could have attempted the extra point which, if converted would have given Williamsport a 16-7 lead. However, they decided to go for the two-point conversion for the second time in the game. The play was the same, but the result was much different as Miller was crushed before getting to the end zone.
Stopping the Millionaires attempt for the two-point conversion proved to be huge for the Patriots as the result kept the score within reach at 14-7.
The Patriots began their game tying drive on the 40, because the Millionaires kicker kept it on the ground to keep the ball away from the Patriots return trio of Jordan Houseman, Kyle Gattuso, and Ron Dellisio. Joe Giambra dove on the ball on the 40 and the Patriots began their drive.
Pittston Area ran into trouble as they were faced with fourth-and-inches from the 49, but Schwab again maneuvered his way through the line gaining the first down. He then found Houseman for a 12-yard reception for another first down and the Patriots were in business.
Schwab completed yet another pass for a first down on fourth-and-3 from the 30 yard line before finding Houseman again for five yards. The senior signal-caller then commanded his offense to the line of scrimmage where he spiked the ball stopping the clock at 1:06.
When Schwab was on his way to get the play call from Barrett, a Williamsport player blatantly tripped him right in front of the referee. The flag was thrown and the Patriots now had a first-and-10 from the Williamsport 12.
Schwab and Houseman connected yet again for another first down, and after another spike stopped the clock, the playmaking-duo hooked up again.
With 53.2 seconds on the clock and a third-and goal from the two, Schwab found Houseman in the endzone for the touchdown to cap the 60-yard drive. Musto split the uprights on the crucial PAT tying the game at 14-14.
The Millionaires would get the ball back, but not for long as they brought in their deep throwing specialist Jordan Whaley to try and find the end zone. However, he found Houseman instead and the Patriots took over from the 43 when Houseman returned his interception 10 yards with 38 seconds remaining in regulation.
With just seconds remaining in the final quarter, Schwab tried to go deep over the middle to Houseman but his throw was just out of the reach of the diving star receiver. The clock struck zero before they could get another play off and the game was headed for overtime.
Williamsport began the overtime period on offense.
On first-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Williamsport’s Burkholder found his tight end Ryan Hostrander in the end zone making it a 20-14 ball game. The Millionaires opted to go for the two-point conversion rather than kick it through the uprights, and again failed as Jake Zalewski busted through the offensive line and brought down Miller in the backfield.
The Patriots tried to answer on the ground, handing the ball off to Wilk for a four-yard gain on first down, and again on second down for 1-yard. Then on third-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Schwab found Marc Romanczuk for a 3-yard gain setting up fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line.
Schwab decided to go to the air and his pass was tipped and picked. His intended receiver was thrown to the ground and the Millionaires emerged victorious by a score of 20-14.
“Everyone wants to win right now and games like this don’t make it any easier to understand,” Barrett said. “It takes time. We have a good football team and we are going to be good.
“The kids showed a ton of heart tonight. The defense played very well and I thought the offense did too.”
Gattuso and Wilk lead the rushing attack for the Patriots. Gattusso had 72 yards on 13 carries, while Wilk had 98 yards on 17 carries.
Houseman was the Patriots leading receiver with 55 yards on seven receptions. Schwab completed 11 passes for 85 yards.