CLARKS SUMMIT — Abington Heights managed just 22 yards on its first 15 offensive plays, but more than tripled its output on the next snap when Comets quarterback Jordan Hollander connected with Colin McCreary for a 74-yard touchdown.
McCreary leaped to haul in the pass over his back shoulder, in between three defenders, and raced downfield to give Abington Heights a 7-0 lead with 2:13 left in the second quarter.
“Jordan did a great job of getting the ball to me quick,” McCreary said. “I had great blocking in front of me so I was able to make a play on the ball and turn it into something positive for our team.”
West Scranton outgained Abington Heights, 217-197, but the Comets forced five turnovers and held on for a 20-12 win over the Invaders in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division 1 game on Saturday, Oct. 24.
“Each week, we want to come out with maximal effort and play 48 minutes,” Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis said. “During the course of a football game, a lot of things happen, some positive and some may not go your way. I’m extremely proud of this team’s effort. Every player out there contributed and made plays on offense, defense and special teams.”
West Scranton (3-4, 2-2 LFC Div. 1) turned an Abington Heights turnover into points in the final minutes of the first half. Invaders defensive back Austin Lipowitch intercepted a Hollander pass at the West Scranton 45-yard line and returned the ball down to the Abington Heights 28. Four plays later, quarterback Matt Gaul connected with tight end Dillon Hart for a 15-yard touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the first half. Dashawn Minnick missed the extra point try.
The first three possessions of the second half featured a turnover on downs from Abington Heights, a West Scranton fumble recovered by Kyle Gerrity and a 27-yard missed field goal by McCreary.
The fourth possession had a major impact on the outcome of the game. West Scranton drove the ball 74 yards to the Abington Heights 6-yard line, but on third down Tamon Brown ran into a pile of Comets defenders. McCreary knocked the ball loose and scampered 95 yards for a touchdown. Although he missed the extra point, Abington Heights led 13-6 with 10:50 left in the fourth quarter.
“Our defense made a great stop,” McCreary said. “I stripped the ball out, picked it up and ran. I had great blocking from my teammates.”
West Scranton answered with a score of it own just 14 seconds later when Glenn Soto returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Hollander intercepted the pass on the Invaders two-point conversation attempt and the Comets maintained a one point lead.
Facing a 3rd-and-7 play at the West Scranton 45-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Abington Heights (4-4, 2-3) called a timeout.
On the next play, Matthan Sherman made an acrobatic catch along the sideline for a 26-yard gain to keep the drive in progress.
“He’s very athletic and he’s a big playmaker for us,” Hollander said of Sherman. “When he goes up and makes plays like that it brings our whole energy up as a team.”
Four plays later, Hollander found Brandon Hardy wide open in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. McCreary’s extra point gave Abington Heights a 20-12 lead with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter.
“We knew when they made the game close, it was a big drive,” Hollander said. “Regardless if it went their way or our way, it was going to be a big momentum shift.”
A pair of interceptions by Hollander and Rothenberger sealed the win for the Comets on Homecoming Day.
Abington Heights will travel to play North Pocono in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division 1 game at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.