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Springdale falls short against North Catholic

McCANDLESS -- The Springdale Dynamos appeared ready to come from behind and pull out a late victory in Friday's Eastern Conference opener.

But North Catholic senior Jesse Long recovered a fumble at the Trojans' 8 with 1:07 left in the game to preserve a 20-14 victory at Lt. J.C. Stone Field.

Springdale (2-1, 0-1) was down by six and started a drive at its 43 with 4:38 to go. The Dynamos had collected three first downs and had driven to the 16. Bill Arch got the call, but the ball was jarred loose. Jesse Long emerged from a pile to give the Trojans possession.

An illegal participation penalty against the Dynamos gave North Catholic a first-and-5 at the 13. The defense stopped quarteback Martin Long short of the sticks. But on third-and-1, Long found an opening and pulled along a host of Dynamos to the 29 for a first down, allowing the Trojans to run out the clock.

"That was a heckuva football game, both teams played well," said North Catholic coach Bob Ravensthal. "I give my quarterback heck sometimes. He's like (Ben) Roethlisberger -- he gets sacked a lot, but he makes some good plays."

"There's no question we had everything going the way we wanted," said Springdale coach Chuck Wagner. "We were using the clock and we wanted to give them not much time to score. But we turned the ball over. I know the kid feels bad, but that's part of football."

Actually, Arch played well, coming up with some key plays and two solid kick returns. With the Dynamos trailing, 20-7, and the ball at the North Catholic 15, quarterback Brian Shemanski was shaken up and Arch had to play quarterback. Arch, on a delay, took the ball to the Trojans' 1, setting up a 1-yard sneak by Shemanski, who returned after sitting out one play.

That made it, 20-14, North Catholic. Springdale's defense made three stellar plays, stopping Julian Darden twice and sacking Martin Long for a six-yard loss to get the ball back.

"We're proud of our defense keeping us in the game, but give credit to those North Catholic kids," Wagner said.

Springdale dodged a couple of bullets early, or it wouild have had to emerge from a deeper hole.

North Catholic had driven to the Springdale 6 before a penalty set the ball back to the 24. On the following play, Dynamos defensive back Brandon Bruske celebrated his 16th birthday with an interception on the following play. North Catholic threatened again later in the first quarter. Joe Ober and Justin Deily jarred Martin Long as he was throwing, and the Dynamos took over on downs. Springdale finally broke through, driving 75 yards in 10 plays with Shemanski scoring on a keeper with 7:18 left in the second period.

But the Trojans drove 37 yards in 24 seconds late in the half. Martin Long's throw to Alex King for a 24-yard gain to the Sprngdale 1 allowed Long to score on the following play to bring North Catholic to within 7-6 with 25 seconds left in the half.

"I thought we had momentum early, then lost it, but that gave us momentum going into the locker room," Ravensthal said.

"They definitely picked up momentum on that," Wagner said. "We lost it, then got it back, and we thought we had total control of the ballgame on that last drive."

North Catholic stopped Springdale on downs in the third quarter and early in the fourth period. The Trojans scored on a 22-yard pass from Martin Long to Bill Frizzi to take their first lead with 7:32 left in the third quarter. That was followed by a 2-yard sneak by Martin Long, set up by his 24-yard pass to Durden.

Durden had 107 yards on 16 carries.

Springdale returns home to play Carlynton on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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