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Bald Eagle clutch play gives them a thrilling last second victory over River Valley in D6 playoff opener

By Kenny Varner

WINGATE – This one was not for the faint of heart.

But the resilient play of the Bald Eagle football team proved to have what it took as it defeated a spunky River Valley team 33-29 in a thrilling District 6 post season opener, Friday at Alumni Stadium at Bald Eagle Area.

With time running out in their playoff contest with River Valley, the Eagle’s team found itself trailing by three and facing a fourth down and 7.

The Eagles reached down deep inside themselves and kept the drive alive as quarterback Carson Nagle hit Camron Watkins on a comeback route to keep the drive alive and placing the ball on the Panthers 12.

With the drive still alive, the Eagles put the ball in the hands of Garrett Burns in the wildcat formation and the team finished off the drive with a touchdown with only 38 ticks left on the clock.

“We’re coming along. Our young kids are coming along. It’s fourth and seven down there and I wanted to kick the field goal but my offensive coordinator said that Carson’s going to throw that ball on a dime and Cam’s going to be open. He came back and Carson threw it right on time. Things like that it’s a sophomore and a freshman. That was pretty impressive to put that in their hands,” said Bald Eagle coach Jesse Nagle.

Minutes later, Matt Yetsko put the game on ice, intercepting River Valley quarterback’s Braden Staats offering and sending the Eagles to the next round of the District 6 playoffs.

Leading the way for Bald Eagle on the ground was Garrett Burns who ran for 154 yards, most of it coming out of the Wildcat formation.

Bald Eagle quarterback Carson Nagle threw for 169 yards, 110 of those went Owen Irwin.

Defensively, the Eagles were very dominant at times forcing five turnovers. It’s Achilles heel though was Bald Eagle accumulated 128 yards of penalties.

What started out as Eagle dominated first quarter proved to even out in the second quarter as the Panthers tied the contest before the intermission.

Garrett Burns opened the scoring when he blazed his way into the end zone on a 17-yard TD run, Bald Eagle made it 7-0 on the Kaden Burns PAT at 3:39, left in the opening period.

The defense of the Eagles went right to work as Ethan Koleno picked off Staats for the first time of the night, giving the Eagles another chance to push another touchdown in before the end of the quarter.

The offense did not disappoint.

Burns scored his second touchdown as he busted through the line on a 2-yard touchdown, upping the lead to 14-0 with still 1:42 left.

The Second quarter belonged to the Panthers.

Staats capped off a long drive as he muscled his way in on a 1-yard TD run, cutting the Eagles lead in half at 4:54 left in the half.

With the Eagles driving the ball deep into River Valley’s end, Hank Skibill was able to force a strip of an Eagles receiver and scamper for the 85-yard strip fumble TD knotting the game at 14 at 1:21.

Going into the Third quarter, the Panthers got the ball coming out of the half and wasted no time scoring.

On its first offensive touch of the half,

running back Angelo Bartolini broke the line of scrimmage for a 57-yard TD run  and with the Behena kick, River Valley held the lead for the first time in the contest at 11:07.

Back battled the Eagles as they continued to feed the ball to Burns and he responded, time and time again.

Burns 1-yard run put Bald Eagle within one but the PAT was blocked, making it a 14-13 contest at 8:00.

As the teams went into the final stanza, Bald Eagle would take the lead when Carson Nagle launched a 24-yard TD pass to Owen Irwin but 2- point conversion failed.

However, the Eagles took. Ack the lead at 26-21 with 6:45 left in the third.

Minutes into the fourth, the Panthers’ defense got their team back into it.

Holding the Eagles at bay deep in their territory, River Valley forced a fumble that rolled into the end zone.

It would be Rocco Bartolini that would pick up the fumble recovery in the end zone, taking back the lead at 29-26 as they also converted on a 2-point conversion at 7:07.

But it would be Burns and company that would have the last laugh as they rolled down the field on a time consuming drive that would leave only 38 ticks on the clock after the game winning touchdown.

Bald Eagle will be back in action next Friday as they host Forrest Hills.

Bald Eagle Area 33, River Valley 29

RV.    0 14  7  8 – 29

BEA 14  0 12 7 – 33


BEA – Garrett Burns 17-yard TD run (Kaden Burns Kick), 3:39.

BEA – G. Burns (K. Burns kick), 1:42

Second quarter

RV – Braden Staats 1-yard TD run (Keith Behena kick), 4:54.

RV – Hank Skibill 85-yard strip fumble TD (Behena kick), 1:21

Third quarter

RV – Angelo Bartolini 57-yard TD run (Behena kick), 11:07.

BEA – G. Burns 1-yard run ( kick blocked), 8:00.

BEA – Carson Nagle 24-yard TD pass to Owen Irwin (2- point conversion failed), 6:45.

Fourth quarter

RV- Rocco Bartolini fumble recovery in the end zone (7:07).

BEA – G. Burns 1-yard run ( K. Burns kick), :38.


                                      RV   BEA

First Downs               10      17

Rushes-Yards       28-147 31-164

Comp-Att-Int.       10-13-3 12-21-1

Passing Yards         52      169

Total Plays-Yards   38-199 43-333

Fumbles-Lost          3-2    1-1

Penalties-Yards      5-65 12-128



Rushing: BEA –  Garrett Burns 28-154, Brayden Comly 1-7, Kahale  Burns 1-0, Chase Thompson 1-3. RV – Angelo Bartolini 19-137, Sincere McFarlin 4-4, Luke Woodring 1-0, Braden Staats 2-2, Rocco Bartolini 2-4.

Passing: BEA – Carson Nagle 12-21-169. RV – Staats 10-13-52.

Receiving: BEA – Camron Watkins 2-17, G. Burns 2-16, Kahale Burns 3-24, Owen Irwin 5-110.

RV – A. Bartolini 1-7, McFarlin 3-16, Woodring 1-10, R. Bartolini 3-19, Skibil 2-10.

Interception: Bald Eagle 3

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