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BVA barely falls short

| Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009

UNIONTOWN -- One yard.

Belle Vernon Area's failure to pick up less than 36 inches in the final minute of the third quarter is the main reason the Keystone Conference's playoff drought ended after eight years and Uniontown stunned the Leps, 21-20, for the Red Raiders' first post-season win in 44 years Friday.

"If you would have told me we couldn't get that yard, I wouldn't believe it," said BVA's snake-bitten first-year coach Aaron Krepps. "We've been able to convert that play all season long.

"We should have put the game away there and won the game," he added.

What Krepps was referring to was a fourth and one play at the Uniontown 3-yard line with 30 seconds left in the third quarter and his Leps clinging to a 20-14 lead.

The Leps' Matt Green, who finished with 227 yards on 26 carries, was stopped for no gain.

"Holding them there was the turning point," smiled Uniontown's John Fortungna following the biggest win in his 15-year head coaching career. "It was like a chess game and I knew it would be tight with two good defenses."

Uniontown's defense came up with the game-winning play five minutes later when sophomore Fred Johnson stepped in front of a Brandon Dilmore pass and returned it 18 yards for the tying touchdown before Lucas Mosco kicked the deciding extra point.

Johnson also made one other big defensive play.

Johnson blocked a Joey Walko punt which teammate Deion Ricks recovered at the Leps' 6-yard line to set up Arnold Walker's 3-yard touchdown.

The Red Raiders' score came two minutes after Mosco put Uniontown (7-3) on the scoreboard for the first time on a 47-yard pass to Kristopher John.

"One play didn't beat us," said Krepps. "The name of the game is execution and we didn't execute. We just didn't play well."

After a scoreless first quarter, BVA (5-5) took a 13-0 lead on two Green touchdowns.

Green went over from four yards out on the first play of the second quarter, but Walko's extra point kick was blocked.

Green scored again six minutes later on a 61-yard run, the first play after Matt Naylor sacked Mosco for a 19-yard loss and a fumble recovered by Cory Williams.

Uniontown led for only 16 seconds in the first half as Dilmore threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Ian Dobbins with 2:08 remaining.

After the Red Raiders went ahead, BVA drove from its 22 to the Uniontown 23, but Dilmore failed to complete passes on third and fourth down with 3:19 remaining.

Any chance the Leps had of pulling out a last-minute win disappeared on a third and nine when when sophomore Jake Forsythe broke a 67-yarder to the BVA one with 2:14 to go before being caught from behind by Green.

The Red Raiders than ran off the clock with Mosco taking the knee on the last two plays with the Leps out of timeouts.

"One play didn't beat us," said Krepps. "The name of the game is execution and we didn't execute. We just didn't play well."

NOTES: Dilmore had two completions for 105 yards ... Green finished the season with 1,349 yards ... BVA outgained Uniontown, 353-258 ... Need-ing 71 yards to reach 1,000, Walker had 61 yards on 17 carries ... Forsythe finished with 86 yards including the 67-yarder late in the contest ... Mosco finished with minus 40 yards on seven carries ... Uniontown was the lone Keystone team to win Friday, dropping the conference to 1-35 in nine seasons ... Uniontown will play Hampton, a 19-7 winner over Big Seven runner-up Chartiers Valley.

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