BY JEFF FALK
PALMYRA – It is one of the most rewarding and electrifying turns of events in all of football. Mostly because it defies the odds, and uses sheer will and determination to do so.
Although it had very little effect on the outcome, Palmyra’s goal-line stand against East Pennsboro on Friday night at Buck Swank Stadium was truly a thing of beauty. Not once. Not twice. Not three times. But four times did the Cougars’ defense deny the Panthers from inside the Palmyra five-yard line.
With the Cougars comfortably ahead – up 30-0 – late in the third quarter, East Pennsboro recovered a Palmyra fumble and hit a 19-yard pass play down to the Cougars’ two. But the Cougars simply refused to allow East Pennsboro to penetrate their end zone.
On first down, Palmyra stopped EP’s quarterback cold. On second down, the Cougars stuffed a Panther running back for no gain. On third, the Cougars snuffed out another attempted quarterback sneak. Then on fourth down, as East Pennsboro was attempting a pass, Palmyra broke through and came up with a sack back to the eight-yard line.
Four shots. The results? A total of negative six yards.
While certainly more prevalent in high school than in the college or professional ranks, goal-line stands are certainly rare occurrences in football.
In the big picture, all the Cougars’ goal-line stand really did was preserve the shut out. But beyond that it showed the Cougars’ mental toughness, their pride and their intensity.
Those are all things that will pay dividends in more tangible ways down the road.