If you have followed the Point Boro-Lakewood rivalry, you know just how close these matchups have been in the past. Two years ago, the Panthers beat the Piners 14-13 to capture a share of the Class B South title. Last season, Point Boro once again defeated Lakewood to capture the division title outright and improve to 6-0. This time around, the Panthers went on the road to once again put their undefeated record on the line against the Lakewood Piners.
Right away the Panthers found themselves in a huge hole trailing 20-0. It was a 69 yard TD pass from Zeyheir Jones to Jyhier Jones to give Lakewood a 6-0 lead in first quarter. Lakewood would then score on a Myles Jackson 6 yard TD run to extend the score to 13-0. Jones would follow with another TD catch to give Lakewood a 20-0 lead in the second quarter. At this point, the Panthers have not trailed by more than 3 points in any game.
With that said, it was crucial for them to get on the board before the end of the half if they wanted to close the gap. It was just before the half when Nate Chiarello got Point Boro on the board with a 3 yard TD run. At halftime, Lakewood took a 20-7 lead into the locker room.
Point Boro would receive the second half kickoff and proceeded to find the end zone to further cut into the deficit. It was Tanner Gordon who cut the lead to 20-14 on a 53 yard TD run. It was after this run in which momentum appeared to shift towards Point Boro. James Fara would soon follow with a 16 yard TD run of his own to give Point Boro their first lead of the game. What was once a 20-0 deficit was now a 21-20 lead for the Panthers in the 4th quarter.
Lakewood, however, would continue to fight throughout the remainder of the game. With 8:21 remaining in the 4th, the Piners were able to a retake a 28-21 lead. Point Boro would soon tie the game at 28 via a Nate Chiarello 11 yard TD. At 28-28, Point Boro was able to recover the ensuing squib kick after it touched a Lakewood player. This set the Panthers up with prime field position as Tanner Gordon was able to score with 38 seconds left. Although this would stand as the game-winning TD, Lakewood still had time to drive down the field.
The Piners would drive all the way down to the Point Boro Ten yard line with five seconds left in the game. With one final attempt to send the game into OT or win, Lakewood quarterback Zyheir Jones heaved one up to end zone intended for his brother and it was broken up by Trevor McNamera.
It was a big test for a Point Boro team that proved they are never out of a game.
“We came out slow at first but at halftime, we knew we had to play the football we knew we could and that’s exactly what we did. It was an exciting game to be a part of,” McNamara said.
On the final play, McNamara explained that knew he had to act quickly and make the play for his team.
“It all happened so fast. He was their go-to guy all game so the play to keep them alive I knew the ball was going to him and when I saw him go towards the back corner I just followed him and got myself into a position to make a play on the ball. We both went up for it and he actually had it in his hands but I was able to just get my hand in between his hands and rip the ball out,” McNamara explained.
With Tanner Gordon blending back into the offense, Point Boro has fully established the running game that they have relied on all season. While Tanner knew that he was important to his team Saturday, he knows that it was the entire offense that helped Point Boro back into the game. “I know I have an important role in this running game,” Gordon explained when asked about coming back from injury.
“Guys like James Fara, Nathan Chiariello, and Brandon Cipriano are also big-time playmakers,” Tanner Gordon said.
Quarterback James Fara also talked about his team’s running game and what makes them so difficult for opponents.
“Its hard to focus on just one guy,” Fara explained.
“If you focus on one person, the next person will step up,” Fara said.
When asked about the challenges of coming back from a 20 point deficit, Gordon that his team had to keep a clear mind. “What made this game so crazy was that our team was able to overcome adversity and never give up,” Gordon said. “The fact that it came down to the final seconds really made it a nail-biter,” Gordon explained.
Hear From Conor Landis as he talks about the Offensive line in Saturday’s win Vs Lakewood.