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Cowanesque rallies from 20-point deficit to beat Bucktail in football

KEVIN RAUCH/For The Express Bucktail's Kyler Friese scored on a pick-6 early in the second quarter, sparking a run that put the Bucks up 20-0 during Friday night's game against Cowanesque.

At halftime Friday things seemed to be going about as well as they could in Farwell for the Bucks as they hosted Cowanesque Valley. Bucktail led by 20, seniors Paul Risley and Maille Considine were named the homecoming king and queen and all things pointed for the Bucks to win.

Unfortunately homecoming 2020 will go down as the one that got away.

Bucktail saw its 20-point lead slip away as Cowanesque Valley scored 23 second-half points to win, 23-20.

After a scoreless first quarter, freshman Kyler Friese returned an interception 24 yards to put the Bucks up, 6-0, after a failed two-point conversion.

Friese’s pick not only gave the Bucks the momentum, but confidence as well as it was about to be nothing but cheers along the sideline for the remainder of the half.

Ashton Intallura stepped back to kickoff for Bucktail as his on-sides attempt worked out to perfection with the kicker himself jumping on the ball 10 yards down the field, giving his team the ball right back.

The Bucks would end up with a fourth-and-2 on the Indians’ 22 when Bucktail quarterback Dylan Cross called his own number. After initially entering a scrum, Cross suddenly emerged streaking from the right side of the field across into the center of the hash marks as no Indian was able to close the gap for a 14-0 lead

On the ensuing kick Intallura again booted an onsides attempt, this time recovered by his teammate Tanner Pettingill as the onslaught was something that hasn’t been seen in awhile in Farwell. The attendance is limited but the fans were feeling it and the Bucks offense was feeding off of the frenzy.

Cross would put on a drive that included key passes to Braylon Fantaski and Zack Pick, setting up a Connor Mason 3-yard touchdown run with the junior powering his way right through the middle of Cowanesque Valley defensive line. Within 10 minutes, the Bucks piled up a 20-0 lead going into halftime.

On the opening drive of the third quarter the Indians looked to their 6-foot-1 sophomore quarterback Jacob Smith. The lengthy Smith came up with three big runs around the left end, before scoring by reaching over the pile for a score on fourth-and-1 from the one foot mark. With a successful kick, the lead was cut to 20-7.

The Bucks offense struggled to get anything going in the second half as their first possession predicted with a quick series.

On the next Cowanesque possession, Smith dropped back on a fourth-and-4 and with the QB scrambling, Bucktail’s homecoming king Risley strip sacked Smith, allowing Bear Kelley to scoop up the loose ball and run 35 yards before being tackled on the Indians’ 4.

That’s where the game really started to change.

The Indians defense came up with a goal-line stand, stopping the Bucks just a few inches from the end zone and giving the ball back to their offense. It would be all Indians the rest of the way.

Smith would lead his team down the field and score through the air, finding Tanyan Brown for a 3-yard touchdown pass before again hooking up with Brown for the two-point conversion. It cut the lead to 20-15 with just 4:38 remaining.

The Bucks again faltered on offense forcing them to punt with a little more than two minutes remaining. It was suddenly the Indians’ special team’s time to shine as they blocked the Intallura punt, giving Cowaneque Valley the ball deep inside of the Bucks’ redzone.

As if on cue, Smith found a wide open TJ Madison for a quick touchdown strike, before hitting Elliot Good for the two point conversion pass, setting up a 23-20 Indians lead, their first of the game with 2:08 remaining.

Despite Cross converting a fourth down on the final drive, the Bucks again couldn’t move the ball allowing the Indians to complete the thrilling comeback.

The game was marred with penalties, including more than half of dozen personal fouls.

The loss dropped Bucktail to 1-5 who are set to go to Curwensville next Friday. The Indians picked up their first win as they came in at 0-5 and will be at CMVT next Saturday afternoon.

Cowanesque Valley 23, Bucktail 20

Bucktail 0 20 0 0 — 20

CV 0 0 7 16 — 23

Second quarter

B–Kyler Friese 24 interception (run failed), 10:02.

B–Cross 22 run (Cross run), 7:30.

B–Mason 3 run (run failed), 2:32.

Third quarter

CV–Smith 1 run (Tanyan brown kick), 9:58.

Fourth

CV–Smith 3 pass to Brown (pass good), 4:38.

CV–Smith 7 pass to Madison (pass good), 2:08.

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