PA knocks off NY in Big 30 football game 27-13
BRADFORD — Continuing its run of dominance.
The Pennsylvania squad found the lead first and did not look back from there as it defeated New York 27-13 in the Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic football game at Bradford High School on Saturday night.
“Just to be able to say you’re apart of the PA All-Stars,” Pennsylvania All-Stars and Port Allegany head coach Justin Bienkowski said about the game. “It’s a 49 year tradition, next year is 50. We did our part to keep the streak alive and we did our part to go up one in the win-loss. It’s a really cool experience, I’ve been coaching football for 20 years and this ranks up there with some of the best memories.”
Without a win since 2015, New York struggled against a Pennsylvania squad that did not trail in the game. Both teams struggled to move the ball out of the gate which led to a scoreless first quarter.
It wasn’t until about halfway through the second quarter that Pennsylvania broke the plane first after keeping the ball on New York’s half of the field the majority of the game. Pennsylvania flirted with the end zone on the previous drive, but was stopped on the 2-yard line for a turnover on downs.
In its next series, Pennsylvania quarterback Noah Lent of Smethport put his athleticism on display. Lent used his legs for a big scramble to bring Pennsylvania back to the 2-yard line and this time he kept the ball himself for the score and the eventual 7-0 lead.
“Those four kids were fun to coach,” Bienkowski said of the Smethport players. “They’re so athletic, smart and coachable. Noah Lent is Noah Lent, he’s been doing that to us for three years.”
It was New York’s turn to respond to the Pennsylvania touchdown, but with the overwhelming pass rush it is was difficult to do so. The Pennsylvania defensive line had New York quarterback Lucas Marsh representing Franklinville/Ellicottville on the run, but he couldn’t get away from Warren’s Justice Greene who picked up a huge strip sack and recovered the fumble himself.
Greene’s big defensive play set up Pennsylvania in great field position and the Smethport connection cashed in again with Lent making a 4-yard touchdown pass to Alex Ognen as the lead increased to 14-0.
“Anytime you’re an offensive team it takes a while to get everything installed,” added Bienkowski. “An offensive line is a unit, they only had two weeks together. You could see that both offensive lines took a knock on the chin.”
Trailing 14-0 at half, it looked like New York’s offensive line found its groove in the second half right off the rip. The running tandem of Randolph’s Luke Pagett and Olean’s Jamison Pittman marched the ball right down the field for New York’s first touchdown. Pittman capped off the drive with a long 4-yard run to the pylon and the extra point made it a 14-7 game.
On the next series for Pennsylvania, New York looked like it had stolen all the moment when a big sack from Salamanca’s Kody Shinners set up a 4th and 27. However, New York couldn’t help from impeding its own progress with another penalty. The self inflicting wounds took the wind out of New York’s sails and the score stayed 14-7 after three quarters.
“There’s obviously a rivalry here,” New York All-Stars and Southwestern head coach Jake Burkholder stated. “PA has won since back to 2015 when New York last won, so it’s been a while since New York has been able to pull one off. They’re passionate high school kids, these were kids that were the best on their teams they want to win.”
The penalties seemed to have put the New York squad to bed, but it was the 49-yard touchdown from Ridgway (Johnsonburg) receiver Camron Marciniak that was the final nail in the coffin. Ridgway’s Eric Salberg added the final score for Pennsylvania on a 1-yard pass from St. Marys Christian Coudriet and the missed PAT made it 27-7.
With the game out of reach, New York did not stop fighting.
Inside the two-minute warning, New York forced a fumble and Randolph’s Joshua Bush scooped up the loose ball and returned it for a touchdown to give some hope at 27-13 after the failed two-point conversion.
On the next kickoff, New York perfectly executed an onside kick that gave it another chance to inch back in the game. However, the Pennsylvania defense stood strong again to hold New York out of the end zone to maintain the final 27-13 victory.
“That onside kick there at the end was huge,” stated Burkholder. “The never quit in these kids was very evident towards the end there.”