Westmo quarterback Zack Green (13) pitches back to Tim Harrison for a 1st quarter TD.
Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
The Westmoreland Bulldogs and the Sandy Creek Comets played a game tonight in the Carrier Dome that sure lived up to its billing. In the end, the State ranked #4 Comets prevailed by a score of 26-21, despite a dramatic final possession drive by the Bulldogs that fell just short.
Westmoreland’s hopes for a 5th Section III Championship in seven years were dashed, largely due to three costly turnovers, all of which led to Sandy Creek touchdowns.
The heart breaking defeat was the second to Sandy Creek this season. The Comets nipped the Bulldogs 21-19 in another nail biter early this fall.
The Bulldogs struck first however, when Tim Harrison took a pitch from Zack Green and found the end zone with 4:34 remaining in the first quarter, to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead. Green’s extra point was perfect,and Westmoreland held the early advantage at 7-0, a that lead would hold all the way to the second quarter.
Sandy Creek, which has been widely known for its bruising running game, flipped to the back page of the playbook on its second possession of the second quarter when quarterback Tyler Swarthout dropped back and rifled a 43 yard touchdown pass to Cameron Hall, pulling the Comets to within 7-6 with 6:03 remaining in the first half.
Swarthout nailed the extra point,and the Dogs and Comets were knotted at 7-7. The Comets big pass play was set up by a Zack Green fumble at his own 39 yard line.
On Westmoreland’s next possession, Green’s pitch to running back Tim Harrison slipped away and into the hands of Sandy Creek’s John Shirley at the Westmoreland 41 yard line.
Just four plays later, Sandy Creek’s Mason McNitt rumbled in for a 24 yard touchdown run,and the Comets went up 13-7. Another Swarthout extra point made it 14-7 in favor of Sandy Creek with 3:51 to go before the intermission.
Sandy Creek opened the second half with a three and out and on the ensuing punt to Westmoreland, Bulldogs Tim Harrison returned it 37 yards to the Comets 33 yard line.
Just three plays later, Zack Green called his own number and dashed 17 yards for a touchdown to pull the Bulldogs within a point with 9:41 remaining in the third quarter. Green hit his second extra point of the game to make it 14-14.
The Comets next possession turned to disaster when a shotgun snap sailed over the head of Tyler Swarthout and then slipped out of the hands of McKnitt before being picked up by Westmo’s Zack Green, who scooped up it up and rambled into the end zone from 41 yards away to give the Bulldogs a 20-14 lead with 6:05 to go in the third quarter. Yet another Green extra point made it 21-14 Dogs.
Sandy Creek got back to basics on its next turn with the football when Cameron Hall scored his second touchdown of the game, this time on a 64 yard run from scrimmage, to pull the Comets back to within one at 21-20 with just 1:11 to go in the third.
Swarthout’s kick sailed wide left on the extra point try, so Westmoreland maintained the lead at 21-20.
On Westmoreland’s second possession of the fourth quarter, Zack Green was picked off by Cameron Hall, who returned the ball to the Bulldogs 8 yard line. Two plays later, John Shipley redeemed himself for a previous fumble and barreled into the end zone for a touchdown to make it 26-20 in favor of the #1 seed in the playoffs. McKnitt’s two point conversion run failed,and the Comets lead stood at six points.
Westmoreland took over at its own 28 yard line with 4:03 remaining in the ball game.
The Zack Green Band managed to drive the ball down to the Comets 25 yard line, but on 4th and 5 with under a minute to play, Sandy Creek’s (yes, you guessed it) Cameron Hall deflected Green’s pass away from Harrison and the Comets put this one away.
Robert Heitzmann led Westmoreland’s offense with 96 yards on 18 carries.
Mason McKnitt, Cameron Hall, Tyler Swarthout and John Shirley combined to roll up 268 yards rushing on 42 carries, resulting in three TD’s.
Westmoreland ends yet another fine season at (7-3), while Sandy Creek improves to (10-0) and will represent Section III in the upcoming State Tournament.
Sandy Creek 26 Westmoreland 20
1 2 3 4 Total
Westmoreland 7 0 14 0 21
Sandy Creek 7 7 6 6 26