WINGATE - The big question following Friday night's game between Chestnut Ridge and Bald Eagle Area is, how many more close encounters can BEA head coach Jack Tobias and his gridders take?
One week ago, the Eagles withstood a last-second effort from the 1-yard line to defeat Penns Valley by a single point, and Friday night, the Eagles again put a scare into the Tobias, his staff and the fans as they outlasted the Chestnut Ridge Lions for a hard-fought 28-26 win at Alumni Stadium.
"I can't take much more of this. These kids are killing me," Tobias said while wearing a big smile. "It shouldn't have come down to this point (final seconds), but they did what they had to do to win the game. I was a little disappointed with the offense in that we weren't able to run the ball a little more and run three minutes off the clock."
Although his team came out on the short end of the final score, Chestnut Ridge head coach Max Shoemaker was proud of the effort he got from his troops.
"I am really proud of the effort my kids gave us tonight, but give them (BEA) credit because they made a few more plays than we did," Shoemaker said. "In a game like this one, it is just a matter of one play or one play there so our kids have nothing to hang their heads about. We played hard, but unfortunately we came up a couple points short."
For Chestnut Ridge, quarterback Beau Bosch made the majority of the noise as the rangy quarterback rushed for 120 yards and passed for another 164 for the Lions.
"We give him a lot of latitude out there," Shoemaker said. "When he comes up to the line, he is checking in and out of plays so he has a lot of options at the line of scrimmage. In the first half, he was right on, but in the second half, they (BEA) made some adjustments and took several things away from him. He is just a junior and he is going to do nothing but get better."
BEA built up a 21-6 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game and they used big plays to get the job done.
"The guys executed real well to start with and I thought the guys up front did a good job," Tobias said. "We were able to hit our counters and those types of things and that kept them (Chestnut Ridge) off balance. I was just hoping we would be able to run the ball a little more in the second half and we weren't able to do that."
Bryan Greene hauled in a 33-yard TD pass from quarterback Cole Long, Dakota Bartley outran the entire Chestnut Ridge team for 80 yards and a score and Greene scored his second six-pointer of the night with a nifty 71-yard jaunt to paydirt.
In addition to his 69 net yards on just two totes, Greene added the 33-yard pass reception to his total for a game total of 102 yards of offense.
"Being 4-and-0 is a great thing for us," Greene said. "That hasn't been done around here for a long time. Now we have to get ready for Central (Martinsburg) and they also have a good quarterback as well, so we'll be tested two weeks in a row."
Greene was the player chosen to wear "31" in the memory of former BEA standout Steve Dorman and he would have made Dorman proud with his performance.
"I wasn't expecting to get the chance to wear it," Greene said about the honor. "The coaches just said that I was thirty-one when we were eating (before the game). I was real proud to be able to wear it."
Trailing by a 21-6 count early in the second period, the Lions put together a pair of scores to claw their way back into the game and that is when Tobias and his staff made some changes to control the wide-open Lion offense to begin the second half.
"Credit our defense because we made some adjustments to slow down their run game," Tobias said. "The first half they ripped off 20 points mostly by running the ball and we were able to shut that down for the most part which forced them to throw a little bit more. Overall, the guys did a good job. We talked to the guys about how important it was going to be to start the third quarter strong and tonight it was more critical because we didn't have the ball. I told them we needed to shut them down, and the kids responded to get the job done."
Complementing Greene's effort on the offensive side of the ball was Dakota Bartley with 129 yards and one score on 11 carries, while Dion Barnard chipped in with 59 yards on 10 tries.
Neither team scored in the fourth period and in crunch time, it was Austin Cowher who stepped in front of a Bosch aerial for a "pick" to all but seal the deal.
Now 4-0, the Eagles will try to heal some of their banged-up troops before heading to Martinsburg for a battle with the Scarlet Dragons Friday night.
"We have some guys who are banged up," Tobias said. "Our center Dakota Rossman was filling in for our center (Caleb Daye) who was out with an injury and we hope to have him back next week. We had a different defensive end in there and we must have rotated 10 or 11 guys on the line and when it came down to the end, we got a good pass rush when we needed it."