By: Matt Beltz | Towanda Daily Review | September 24, 2016 | Photo courtesy Matt Beltz
MUNCY — For three quarters, Sayre executed its game plan and had firm control of its contest against Muncy, taking a 15-7 lead while holding the Indians to just 13 yards of total offense and a single first down.
But the football gods started smiling toward Muncy in the fourth quarter, as the Indians managed receptions on two tipped balls, the second of which came on a two-point conversion following a touchdown with six seconds remaining to tie the game. Muncy then scored a touchdown on its first overtime possession and it looked as if the Indians were going to steal a win.
But the gods decided to shift their favor back to Sayre as the Redskins found the end zone on third down on their overtime possession and then coach Steve Satterly elected to go for the win by going to two and Tylor Belles ran in the two-point conversion to help Sayre escape with a 23-22 victory. It marked Sayre's first win at Muncy since the schools began playing every year in 1997.
"There was no doubt in my mind we were going for two if we got to that point," said Satterly. "I felt we had the momentum back so we went for it. Tylor is a good back and runs hard so I figured let's put it in his hands and let the line do its job and they did."
"We knew Belles was a heck of a tailback and we loaded the box trying to stop the run but they just kept churning at us," said Muncy coach Sean Tetreault. "I completely understand him going for two. Why not put it in your best player's hands? I would have done the same thing if I were in his shoes."
It was never a question that Belles was going to be the option on the two-point conversion. On his 40th carry of the night, including two-point tries, he followed his offensive line just over the goal line to cap a 165-yard, two-touchdown evening on 38 official carries, plus two carries on successful two-point conversions. That followed a 12-yard touchdown reception by Christopher Ray from John Esposito on a third-and-goal from the 12-yard line after Belles had been stopped for a 1-yard loss on Sayre's first two plays of overtime.
That overtime touchdown seized the momentum back from Muncy, which had just 12 yards of offense in the first half compared to 125 for Sayre, yet the game was tied 7-7 at halftime as both teams scored their points off turnovers.
Sayre recovered a Muncy fumble at the Muncy 16 on the first play of the second quarter, and then took five plays to turn that into a touchdown on a 4-yard run by Belles. Later in the second quarter, with Sayre at midfield with the ball, Colby Alpaugh stepped in front of a Sayre receiver on what was just the Redskins' third pass attempt of the game and made the interception, which he returned 50 yards to tie the score.
The Redskins appeared headed for the go-ahead score on their first possession of the second half, but lost a fumble deep in Muncy territory. The Indians had to punt it away after a three-and-out and Sayre took advantage of good field position at the Muncy 38 and put together a 12-play drive that took nearly six minutes and was capped by Belles' second touchdown, and he also followed that up with a run for a two-point conversion with just :51 left in the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, a third-and-9 from Muncy's own 25, Coleman Good's pass was tipped by a Sayre defender and away from the intended receiver but Alpaugh made a diving catch off the ricochet to give the Indians a jolt of momentum. Despite getting to the Sayre 22, they were unable to capitalize on that drive as Good's pass was intercepted by Ray at the Sayre three on a fourth-and-12 play.
"That tipped pass and reception was huge," said Tetreault. "It gave us some momentum and gave our guys some confidence."
Although they didn't score on that drive, the Indians' defense stopped Sayre on two straight possessions, making them go three-and-out both times, and Muncy had one final chance to tie the game as it took possession at its own 31 with 3:07 remaining. Having just 66 yards of offense at this point in the game, the Indians converted on a fourth-and-1 from their own 40 on Good's 3-yard run, and later got three straight pass completions for 19, 13 and 19 yards to get down to the Sayre six. Four plays later, on a fourth-and-goal, Good ran it in from 3 yards out with six seconds to play to cap the 69-yard drive.
Needing to go for two to tie, Good's pass was tipped in the end zone and then caught by Jeff Fry for the conversion to send the game to overtime.
"They definitely had the momentum on that last drive," said Satterly. "I can't fault the kids, they were just trying to make a play. Our defense has been doing a great job all season and they did well tonight but Good made some great plays late."
The Indians took the first overtime possession and Good found Fry again in the end zone on third down and with the PAT, put Muncy up 22-15, setting up Sayre's overtime heroics.