SAEGERTOWN - The Eagles travelled to Saegertown with an upset on their minds, but couldn't quite pull it off in a 22-14 loss to the Panthers at Canon Field.
"This is the best performance we could ask for," said Youngsville coach Tony Tridico. "Our kids played tough."
The Eagles played bend-but-don't-break defense in the first half as the Panthers drove into Youngsville territory on almost every possession of the half, but couldn't score.
With just over six minutes left in the half, Youngsville quarterback Rocco Gatta broke free for a 51-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead at the break.
After completing only one pass in the first half, Saegertown's quarterback came out firing in the third quarter. Noah Marvin found Matt Stearns at the five, and Stearns stayed on his feet for five more yards for a 7-6 deficit. Youngsville blocked the kick to keep the lead at 7-6.
On the ensuing possession, Gatta again broke free around the end, this time for a 50-yard touchdown and 14-6 Youngsville lead.
The Panthers answered again as Stearns ran four yards to paydirt. The Eagles looked to stop Marvin on the two-point attempt but the ball popped up and Stearns grabbed it for a 14-14 tie.
Youngsville was hit with another injury as Sam Lucas left the game in the third quarter - with over 100 yards rushing - with an apparent leg injury.
"(The Lucas injury) slowed us down," said Tridico. "We've been dealing with (injuries) all year."
The Y'ville offense wasn't able to sustain a drive with Lucas out in the fourth quarter, and punted. With just under nine minutes left, Stearns broke free for a 42-yard go-ahead touchdown for Saegertown (9-1 overall and 7-1 in Region 2). Kurtis Henry's two-point run gave the Panthers a 22-14 advantage.
The Eagles looked poised to answer with a 20-yard Gatta run that would have given the Eagles a first-down on the Panthers-10, but it was called back due to penalty.
Youngsville fumbled two straight snaps on third and fourth down, respectively, to turn it over on downs.
Stearns ran for 20 yards on a fake punt with just over two minutes to play and the Panthers were able to run out the clock.
"We're real proud of our kids tonight," aid Tridico.
"(For the season,) We have a lot to be proud of, I think, when we look back," he said.
Y-Rocco Gatta 51 run, TJ Hardy kick, 6:02
S-Matt Stearns 23 pass from Noah Marvin, Stearns kick blocked, 5:25
Y-Gatta 50 run, Hardy kick, 3:21
S-Stearns 4 run, Stearns 2-pt. run off fumble, 2:00
S-Stearns 42 run, Kurtis Henry 2-pt. run, 8:45
RUSHING-Y-Sam Lucas 15-103, Rocco Gatta 9-84, 2 Td, Sage Sivak 7-16, Jordan Gurdak 3-15, Jacob Marino 6-14, Nathan Smith 1-(-4). S-Matt Stearns 23-191, 2 Td, Cody Schultz 7-70, Kurtis Henry 11-55, Noah Marvin 5-13, Brock Lojek 3-(-3).
PASSING-Y-Gatta 3 of 4 for 25 yards, Marino 1 of 2 for 2 yards. S-Marvin 5 of 14 for 66 yards, 1 Td.
RECEIVING-Y-Jared Camp 1-12, Marino 1-8, Smith 1-5, TJ Hardy 1-2. S-Stearns 1-23, 1 Td, Schultz 2-25, Casey Handel 1-11, Henry 1-7.