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Burnham Bulldogs special athletes hold onto 32-30 nailbiting win


LEWISTOWN – For the sixth year in a row, the Burnham Bulldogs Special Athlete football team saw itself standing on top of the mountain, defeating its rival Overhead Door in a nail biter Sunday afternoon at Mitchell Field 32-30.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Most Valuable Player Alex Burke who ran for a touchdown and was the motivational leader for the team.

The Bulldogs got on the board first when Miranda Taylor broke loose on a 45-yard touchdown run. With a Burke extra point, Burnham came back with a successful PAT.

However, the Overhead door team would fight back with two unanswered touchdowns, taking a 16-8 lead.

But the Bulldogs refused to trail. With the help of some honorary Bulldogs in the Mifflin Huskies football players, the ball went to quarterback Bobby Fisher. Fisher took the ball and followed his blockers for a 30-yard gain.

Finishing off the drive was C.J. Pent who rolled it in from 25-yards out to tie the game.

For the extra point, Burnham put the ball in Matt Beach’s hands and he motored it in from there, ending the first quarter scoring.

Overhead Door started the second half scoring, this time the team went through the air, taking the lead back once again 24-16 lead.

With time ticking on the third quarter clock, the Bulldogs went to veteran running back Walter “The Rocket” Snyder.

Burnham had the ball on its own 40, with one hand off by Fisher Snyder zig-zagged his way for another Burnham big play, culminating with a 60-yard touchdown scamper, tying the game at 24.

Led by the defensive talents of Craig Sainsbury, Adam Wert, David Fye and Josh Crowstoski, Burnham held Overhead Door and got the ball back with time running out in the fourth.

Willie Reed got the touch and rolled down the field, setting up the Bulldogs for a go ahead score.

The Bulldogs got the lead after handing the ball off to Adam Wert. Wert put the score up to 30-24, Sainsbury made the game winning PAT just seconds later, putting the Dawgs up 32-24.

Overhead Door, who tied the Bulldogs in the regular season, had one last drive and made the most of it. With 23 ticks left on the clock, Overhead Door scored, cutting the Burnham lead to just two.

Going for the 2-point conversion, the Bulldog defense kept their opponents out of the end zone and held onto the 32-30 nail biting victory.

After the game, Burke was honored as one of the original group of Bulldogs who have played for the past seven years.

Burke had his number officially retired and became the first member of the Burnham Bulldogs Special Athletes Hall of Fame after becoming one of two first wheel chair athletes to play in an organized football league.

Honoring Alex after the game were not only players, coaches from each team but a special visit from his favorite celebrity, Santa.

Santa presented the veteran player with his own jersey encased in a glass trophy box and a team ball signed by players from both teams.

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