MANCHESTER — An odd and abbreviated 2020 season came to a close for two teams on Friday night at Veterans Stadium in Manchester.
The Sciotoville East Tartans traveled to Adams County to face off with the host Manchester Greyhounds in a contest that was the regular-season finale for both squads.
For three quarters on Friday night, it looked like the Greyhounds might finish 2020 on a two-game winning streak, but the Tartans had other ideas.
Trailing 14-8 as the final period began, East got touchdown runs from Landehn Pernell and quarterback Austin Baughman in that final stanza to pull off the come-from-behind 24-14 victory.
The Tartans struck first on Friday, after Tyell Baker recovered a Manchester fumble, setting the East offense up at the Greyhound 31.
Six running plays later, Pernell took it across from one-yard out — and the Leviticus Justice conversion run made it 8-0 with 7:48 left in the first quarter.
The Hounds responded quickly, however, going 46 yards in five running plays of their own, getting a big 30-yard scamper from Trey Spears and finally a six-yard scoring run from Lucas Smith.
Rylan Bailey pushed across the two-point conversion to tie the game at 8-8 just two-and-a-half minutes later.
The rest of the first half was a defensive shutout for the home side, though the Tartans certainly had their opportunities.
One drive took the visitors to the Manchester 10, where Baughman fumbled it into the end zone and it was covered by the Hounds’ Dallas Wages.
Later, the Tartans drove to the Manchester 17, but turned the ball over on downs when a fourth-and-eight run by Baughman came up short.
With 3:25 to go in the first half, the Greyhounds took the lead.
In a drive that began at its own 10-yard line after the aforementioned defensive stop, a Bailey run for 59 yards got the Manchester offense out of trouble — and a one-yard touchdown run by Spears gave the Hounds a 14-8 advantage.
The Tartans got one more possession before the half ended and again put together a sustained drive, but saw a 1st-and-goal from the nine turn into a failed 4th-and-goal from the 14 — and the half ended with the Hounds holding the slim six-point lead.
The second half began with East repeating its first-half performance, driving to the Manchester 10 before turning the ball over when a 4th-and-4 pass fell incomplete.
The two teams exchanged fumbles, and the Tartans finally turned the tables after an interception by Matthew Flannery that he returned to the Greyhound 18 as the third quarter closed.
Three plays into the fourth period, the Tartans had grabbed the lead.
A two-yard scoring run by Pernell, plus another two-point run by Justice, gave East a 16-14 advantage barely over a minute into the fourth.
Now playing from behind again, the Hounds held the ball for 12 plays, all on the ground, but saw their drive sputter and die when they turned it over on downs at the East 32-yard line.
The Tartans then needed to just put together a time-consuming drive to wrap it up but they got much more, when Baughman got loose for a 48-yard touchdown scamper with just 59 seconds to play — with the sophomore quarterback also taking in the two-point try to put the final nails in the proverbial Manchester coffin.
A Justice interception of a Lucas Smith pass on the game’s final play sewed it up for the visitors from Scioto County.
With the win, the Tartans finish their shortened 2020 campaign at an even 3-3, while the Greyhounds complete their half-season at 2-3.
* * *
Sciotoville East 8 0 0 16 —24
Manchester 8 6 0 0 —14
E — Landehn Pernell, 1-yard run (Leviticus Justice run), 7:48, 1st (8-0 E)
M — Lucas Smith, 6-yard run (Rylan Bailey run), 5:15, 1st (8-8 tie)
M — Trey Spears, 1-yard run (2-point conversion failed), 3:25, 2nd (14-8 M)
E — Landehn Pernell, 2-yard run (Leviticus Justice run), 10:54, 4th (16-14 E)
M — Austin Baughman, 48-yard run (Austin Baughman run), :59, 4th (24-14 E)