West Allegheny erases 10-point deficit in a flash
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With 1:34 remaining in the game and Blackhawk extending its lead over West Allegheny to 27-17, the only thing that seemingly remained in doubt was how much Blackhawk kicker Noah Thayer would get chewed out for missing an extra point. Certainly it wasn't the outcome of the game. At least the hordes of fans from both sides leaving the stadium thought so.
But without ever having the lead up to that point, the Indians did what few previously thought possible: erase more than 46 minutes of struggles in the matter of 94 seconds.
Behind a furious comeback composed of two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Andrew Koester, the second of which with came 1.4 seconds remaining, West Allegheny opened up its season with a dramatic 31-27 win.
"It's a typical West Allegheny-Blackhawk game," West Allegheny coach Bob Palko said. "It's unbelievable, I don't know what to say."
While "typical" hardly describes the final minute and a half of the game, a majority of the game was somewhat forgettable for the Indians.
Behind junior quarterback Chandler Kincade, a Pitt recruit, Blackhawk raced out to a quick start behind an unrelenting aerial attack. In the first half alone, Kincade threw for three touchdown passes, giving the Cougars as big of a lead as 14 before going into halftime leading, 21-14.
The Indians trimmed the lead to 21-17 in the third quarter, but with a touchdown pass from Kincade to senior wide receiver Alex Caratelli capping off a methodical drive with 1:34 remaining, any hopes for a West Allegheny comeback seemed dim at best.
Or so it seemed.
"Anytime you're down by 10, you just tell your guys 'Who's going to make a play?' " Palko said.
Utilizing a no-huddle offense, the Indians marched down the field in less than a minute and got a touchdown pass from Koester to get within 27-24 with 44.6 seconds remaining.
Needing a series of dominoes to fall to pull off the comeback, one of those dominoes came in the form of a recovered onside kick near midfield with 40.7 seconds left.
From there, the Indians marched to the 15 with 6.8 seconds remaining. For Palko, the call was easy: Go for the win.
Koester took a snap and lofted a pass up for fellow quarterback Tory Delmonico, being used as a wideout, who rose up to catch the pass over two defenders in a crowded end zone. The improbable was complete.
"Sometimes things work out," Palko said, "and sometimes it's better to just have a little bit of luck."
First Published September 1, 2012 12:52 am