Fourth quarter rally falls short for Mounties
MANSFIELD - Mansfield's Jeremy Estremera caught a 16-yard touchdown from Ben Pepper with 10 seconds remaining in the game, but the tying two point conversion pass was intercepted and returned for a two-point defensive conversion as Post held on for a 37-33 win in a CSFL matchup before a Homecoming crowd at Karl Van Norman Field Saturday afternoon.
"A loss is always disappointing," said head coach Graham Johnsen. "But you just have to have a lot of pride in the way our kids came back and how hard they played. That was a tremendous effort in the fourth quarter and a real character builder for us."
Thing's looked bleak for Mansfield when Post's Daniel Awwad caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Greg Volpe with a little more than four minutes remaining in the third quarter to give the Eagles a 35-7 lead.
But Mansfield didn't give up, taking the ensuing kickoff and driving 68-yards with sophomore Levi Eck capping the drive by catching a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Maniscalo to cut the score to 35-14 after Kirk Haskill's PAT conversion.
Mansfield held Post on the next series with the Eagles turning the ball over on downs at the Mansfield 21 yard line.
Mountaineer quarterback Ben Pepper hit freshman Kurt Logan with a 15-yard completion on a key 3rd and 13 to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, junior Sean Green pulled in a deflected pass for a 51-yard touchdown to pull Mansfield to 35-20.
However, in what would prove to be a key play in the game, the ensuing PAT attempt was block.
Mansfield's Jarell Gibbs recovered an on-side kick on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Mountaineers the ball at the Post 37. On a third-and-one from the Post 28, Pepper found a diving Logan in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown with 9:42 to play. Haskill's extra-point pulled closed the gap to 35-27.
Three series later, Mansfield got the ball at its own 16 yard line after a Post punt with 1:55 to play.
Pepper completed a key 18-yard pass to Joe Bucek early in the drive and keep the drive alive four plays later when he connected with a Green for a 17-yard completion on a tipped pass giving the Mountaineers a 1st and 10 from the Post 44.
On a second-and-two from the Post 36 with 45 seconds remaining, Pepper hooked up with Estremera who made a sensational catch in traffic for an 18-yard gain to the Post 18.
Facing a fourth and eight from the Post 16 with 10 seconds remaining on the clock Pepper threw the ball into the end zone where Estremera went up over the defender to pull in the touchdown and cut the sore toe 35-33.
But Mansfield's luck ran out on the two point conversion when AChacho stepped in front of a pass into the left hand side of the end zone and returned it 100-yards for the two point defensive covernsion.
Pepper completed a career-best 22-of-42 passes for 286-yards and three touchdowns to lead the Mansfield offense. Logan had six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown while Joe Bucek had five grabs for 67 yards. Estramera caught four passes for 49 yards.
Senior linebacker Jason Winters led the defense with a game-high 11 tackles while Jake Myers had 10 tackles.
James Harrington ran the ball 23 times for 170 yards for Post with two touchdowns. Quarterback Greg Volpe completed 20-of-28 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns.
Mansfield host Army next Saturday at Karl Van Norman Field.