ShareThis Page
News

Shade Side Academy escapes Freeport

| Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009

With quick-strike plays, Freeport twice grabbed a lead against defending Class AA Allegheny Conference champion Shady Side Academy.

But Freeport struggled to stop Shady Side running back Brian Nickel, and the Indians used a grinding approach to pull out a 20-14 overtime win Friday night at James Swartz Memorial Field.

Nickel scored on a 10-yard push up the middle in the first extra period to lift Shady Side (2-0, 2-0) to its 17th consecutive conference win.

Nickel finished with 160 yards and three scores on 29 carries and one catch for 11 yards. He nearly equaled Freeport (179) in total yardage from the line of scrimmage.

"Sheer force of will," Shady Side coach Dave Havern said of Nickel. "He didn't want to lose. That's all there is to it. He didn't have a great first half, and we challenged him at halftime. He really responded."

Numerous times, Nickel ran right over tacklers.

"You've got to wrap him up," Freeport coach John Gaillot said. "That's my fault. I didn't work my players hard enough on that. These kids played their hearts out."

Freeport (1-1, 1-1) had a chance to win the contest in regulation, but Tyler Singer missed a 25-yard field goal about half way through the fourth quarter.

Freeport played inconsistently on offense throughout the game, although the Yellowjackets nearly produced enough big plays to win.

With 4:13 left in the second quarter, Freeport quarterback Alex Isenberg hit wide receiver Derek Durand for a 32-yard touchdown. Durand slipped loose behind Shady Side's defensive backs, and Isenberg lobbed the ball to him for the score. Singer added the extra point.

Shady Side tied the score at 7-7 with 4:50 left in the third period.

Marcell Ittner returned the following kickoff 69 yards for a touchdown to swing the game in Freeport's favor again. Ittner caught a short kick near the sideline, raced to the other side of the field, found a lane and sprinted along that sideline for the score.

Shady Side responded to tie the game at 14-14 with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter.

On its next possession, Freeport advanced the ball to Shady Side's 8-yard line. The highlight of the drive was when tight end Darius Frantz took a handoff and tossed a 40-yard completion to Tyler Collins, who fought off a defender for the catch. However, the Yellowjackets had to settle for a field-goal attempt, which was missed.

In overtime, both teams get a chance to score from their opponents 10-yard line. Freeport had the ball first, but on 2nd-and-goal, Isenberg was intercepted by Nickel near the goal line.

With his team now on offense, Nickel scored on the next play.

"Shady Side did a great job on defense," Gaillot said. "They're very well coached. We need to get consistent (on offense)."

Freeport played without senior running back/linebacker Mitch Shaw, who was on the sideline in street clothes and wearing a leg brace. Shaw is week-to-week, Gaillot said.

Havern was impressed with his team's spirit in the comeback win.

"Our guys were refusing to go down," Havern said. "They're the defending champions."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me