Chargers beat Chiefs in overtime victory!
When Carbondale Area's Joe Gigliotti turned the corner en route to a game-winning nine yard TD dash in overtime, he also turned the page on a heart-thumping, three consecutive battles for the Chargers.
Gigliotti's score capped a 14-0 run in the final 5:53 of the game and overtime that included a pair of fourth down conversions to keep the game-tying drive alive and a two-point conversion to force overtime.
The Chargers, coming off two straight losses that came down to the final :44 and :15, came up with a huge defensive stand at the CA 17 to suddenly turn the game into a nail-biter over the final 5:53 and overtime.
"Our kids never quit," said head coach Larry Gabriel III. They rose to the challenge on that defensive stand and made huge plays the rest of the way. That defensive stand was outstanding gave us a final shot at forcing overtime and the offense responded."
The Chiefs led 14-6 and forced a CA punt to midfield with just over 9:00 left.
A Joe Natale 17 yard flanker run and a Kyle Kiehart 18 yard dash suddenly put the Chiefs at the CA 15 and possibly heading towards the game-clinching TD.
The Charger defense, led by Brian LaVolpe, Ricky Jones and Bailey Hughes, stopped the Chiefs on a one yard gain, tossed Kiehart for a five yard loss, corralled Kiehart after a four yard gain then forced an incompletion in the endzone to give CA the ball at their own 17 with 5:53 left.
Gigliotti hit Lukas Durkin on back-to-back passes for to the Chargers 28. Jason Martin produced a twisting grab at Lakeland 44 before a three yard gain and two pass attempts produced a fourth and 18. Gigliotti stepped up and delivered a 28 yard strike to Brandon Sales to keep the drive alive at the Lakeland 23.
On fourth and nine at the 22, Martin found an open seam. Gigliotti delivered a toss that Martin tipped, took a quick back-pedal then gathered at the two before slicing through two defenders to score and close the gap to 14-12. Gigliotti hit Remington Hedden for the two point conversion try to tie the game at 14-14 with 2:18 left and force the 2,100 paid attendance to check their pulse the rest of the way.
Lakeland moved to midfield before the end of regulation.
The Chargers won the toss and went on defense to start overtime.
The Chiefs' first snap, in shotgun, sailed over Kiehart's head and bounced back to the CA 25. A fumble snap exchange on second down and two Jones' defensive deflections turned the ball over to CA at the 10.
Sales gained a yard on first down before Gigliotti rolled to his left on a keeper. A huge Mike Scotch block on the perimeter sprung Gigliotti to the left pylon untouched and ignited a victory celebration on the Chargers' sideline.
CA took an early 6-0 lead when Lakeland's lined up for a punt snap on the game's first series on fourth and two but fell a yard short of a first down on a snap to the up-back on a fake.
Gigliotti took CA's first snap from shotgun, faked a hand-off and darted 40 yards down the Chiefs' sideline for a quick 6-0 lead.
Lakeland advanced to the Chargers 25 on their next possession but LaVolpe stuffed a fourth and three to stop the threat.
On Lakeland's next possession, Gigliotti made the hustle play of the game. Chris Roche, who turned in an outstanding game at TB for the injured Tyler Brady, sprinted 54 yards before Gigliotti crossed the field catching Roche at the CA 2.
A delay penalty two rushes for no yards, a five yard QB sack and an incompletion turned the ball over to CA at the 10.
CA managed its best possession of the half on a 11 play, 53 yard drive before the Chiefs took over the their own 30.
Kiehart's four completions in the nine play, 70 yard drive was jump-started by a 20 yard Gavin O'Donnell hook-up. Kiehart scored from tow yards out to tie the game with 1:49 left in the half.
After a scoreless third period, the Chiefs took the lead on a drive that started late in the third period. A Kiehart to O'Donnell 15 yard completion and a Roche 14 yard scamper ended the third period and put the Chiefs at the CA 37.
Kiehart's 14 yard run and a 16 yard scramble to the seven set-up a Roche 10 yards TD and pass conversion catch from Kiehart for a 14-6 Lakeland lead with 10:07 left.
After forcing a punt, the Chiefs were driving for the game-clincher when the CA defense turned momentum and set the stage for the dramatic finish.
Lakeland averaged 5.4 yard per carry on 48 runs and added 99 passing yards while CA posted 4.6 yards per carry on 27 runs and added 115 passing yards.
Roche led all rushers with 128 yards and a score on 15 runs.
Sales led CA with 59 yards on 13 carries in his full-time roll at TB due to Sam Demianovich's season-ending injury last week.
O'Donnell had six catches for 72 yards while Martin had three grabs for 73 yards and a TD.