Ford City edges East Allegheny in overtime
Dave Lattanzio scored on a 5-yard run in overtime to give Ford City its first victory of the season.
Lattanzio's touchdown lifted the Sabers (1-2, 1-2) to a 34-31 victory over visiting East Allegheny. The winning touchdown answered a 27-yard field goal by East Allegheny's Vinny Barone.
“After that first half, where we kind of shot ourselves in the foot, we still felt pretty good,” Ford City coach John Bartolovic said. “If you can bury a team in the first half, you would like to. But they have a lot of athletes on their team. It's just nice to get a win, because we really have not been in this situation for a long time.”
East Allegheny's Shawn Adair gained 274 yards of total offense in the loss. The senior scored four touchdowns, three on receptions of 94, 37 and 67 yards and the other on a 73-yard touchdown run.
Ford City's Devan Willyard answered with a big game, rushing for 137 yards and receiving for another 92. Willyard scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving.
Ford City looked to have the game in control after Aaron Shaner intercepted an East Allegheny pass and returned it 49 yards for a 28-14 lead midway through the third quarter. But East Allegheny (1-2, 1-2) answered with two scores in the game's final 6 minutes to tie the game.
The Wildcats nearly won the game late in the fourth quarter when quarterback Kyle Whipple, who was 9 of 21 for 333 yards, hit Taizjon Brown on a short pass that Brown turned into a 77-yard gain to the Ford City 17. That was as close as the Wildcats got as regulation ended.
“We definitely felt pretty good after we tied the game, because after that we felt that we had momentum,” East Allegheny coach Jason Ruscitto said. “They have been running this offense here (Ford City) for so many years and their execution is just so good. For us, what I can take from this game is the resolve that the kids showed when we were down by 14 points. This is a new program and we have to build on that.”
Adair scored on East Allegheny's third play from scrimmage, a 73-yard end around. Ford City answered with one of its traditional time consuming drives. This one was a 10-play, 65-yard drive that chewed up over 5 minutes on the clock.
The main cog was Willyard, who touched the ball for five of the 10 plays and ended the drive with a 1-yard scoring run.
With Ford City leading 14-7 in the second quarter, Adair showed again why he is one of Class AA's most exciting players. Whipple hit Adair with a screen pass at the right-side numbers. Adair made one man miss at the 5 and then cut back and outran the Ford City defense for a 94-yard touchdown to tie the score.
Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.