The United Lions faced a decision in the final minutes of their game at Purchase Line on Friday night.

That decision might go a long way in determining how far the Lions advance this season.

Trailing 28-25 with 1:13 remaining, the Lions stared at a fourth-and-2 situation from inside the Purchase Line 10-yard line.

United could have called on kicker Leo Moses to attempt a 25-yard field goal and hope to send the game into overtime.

Or, the Lions could have tried to gain two yards for a first down, or better yet, dash into the Red Dragons end zone to steal a win.

Lions’ head coach Chris Matava chose the latter option.

He put the ball in senior running back Adam Mack’s hands. Mack responded with a 4-yard, first-down run.

Two plays later, senior Zach Stefanko scored from the 4 for a 31-28 victory over previously undefeated Purchase Line.

“We’re capable of kicking that field goal,” Matava said. “But I told the coaches I was going to check with the kids. They said they wanted the win. I made sure they could live with it if we didn’t get it. They said, ‘We’ll get it.’ We got something to work for us, and we got in.”

The Lions withstood an amazing first-half performance by Dragons’ running back Logan Small.

Small tallied 106 yards and three touchdowns on 16 first-half carries to give Purchase Line a 20-19 halftime advantage.

“They were moving the football and we couldn’t stop them in the first half,” Matava said. “It was a huge concern, but we made the adjustments we needed to make.”

United is 3-2. Purchase Line is 4-1.

“I thought my offense did a tremendous job,” Purchase Line coach Dave Small said. “I think we ran the ball well. Our backs and offensive line did an excellent job. The big plays really hurt us.”

The Lions benefited from some excellent special teams play.

Late in the first quarter, tight end Kevin Wissinger grabbed a kick at the 18-yard line and returned it 82 yards for a United touchdown.

Those six points offset Small’s 1-yard TD run on the previous play.

Wissinger was a factor on offense, too.

The senior caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. His 30-yard grab with just over 2:00 remaining put United inside the Purchase Line 20-yard line.

“Kevin Wissinger stepped up big today,” Matava said.

“If I wasn’t involved in this, it would have been a hell of a game to watch,” Matava said. “This is what high school football is all about. I’m just happy to be on the winning side of this one.”

Trending Video

Recommended for you