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Late Summit Academy surge downs frustrated Ford City

| Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 12:18 a.m.

Jayron Dudley's 13-yard touchdown reception with two seconds left capped a 20-point fourth quarter to lead Summit Academy to a 20-14, Allegheny Conference victory Friday at Ford City.

Dudley, a tight end, released untouched off the line into the shallow corner of the end zone and beat two Ford City defenders to the ball.

“I was just thinking that there was no way I could drop this pass,” Dudley said. “I just had to bring it home for the team.”

The winning drive was aided by a pass interference call with less than two minutes to play. Chris Harp's pass fell incomplete at the goal line, but Ford City (1-3, 2-3) was flagged to put the ball at the Ford City 13. Three plays later, Dudley caught the touchdown.

Dudley's catch finalized a comeback that started a minute and a half into the fourth quarter when Robert Burton scored on a 2-yard run for the Knights' first points. That was followed by a defensive stand and a scoring drive that took just three plays and culminated with a 47-yard touchdown reception by La'Dale Cole.

Cole broke a few tackles on his way to the touchdown, but he did a little talking in the end zone to draw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. The two-point conversion started from the 18, and the pass went through Cole's hands to Dudley near the back of the end zone.

Javon Cooper of Summit Academy (1-3, 2-3) led all rushers with 119 yards on 18 carries. Harp completed 7 of 13 passes for 127 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

David Lattanzio was 4 of 12 for 27 yards and a score for Ford City. The Sabers were without Devan Willyard, who was out for unspecified reasons. Chantz Schrecengost rushed 10 times for 59 yards to lead Ford City.

For Ford City coach John Bartolovic, the game was disappointing — not because Summit didn't deserve to win but because the Sabers did not play a clean game.

“We have made a lot of mistakes this year,” he said. “When you make mistakes like that against a good team, and (Summit) is a good team, this happens. It's very disappointing because we could be 4-1 with a few plays.”

For Summit coach Steve Sherer, the victory — the school's first against Ford City — is sweet after a few close calls.

“I have tremendous respect for John and his program,” Sherer said. “For us to drive down like we did, it's a great feeling.”

The first half was an exercise in back-and-forth football. Neither team established much momentum.

Summit Academy came closest but could not finish a long drive that ate up 7:25 of the first quarter. The drive lasted 15 plays and 60 yards but ended when Robert Burton was stopped just shy of a first down at the Ford City 25 on the first quarter's penultimate play.

A key play on the drive came when Summit quarterback Chris Harp slipped at the Ford City 43. After he stood up, he was hit by two Sabers, and that moved the ball close to a first down at the 26. But Ford City's defense held.

Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.

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