CARBONDALE ‚?? With 15 seconds remaining in the game, the GAR defense faced a Carbondale two-point conversion attempt that would ultimately decide the fate of the game. A loss would drop the Grenadiers to 0-3 on the season.
GAR once again displayed its resilience when Jamaar Taylor came off the edge on a blitz, forcing Carbondale quarterback Joe Gigliotti to throw a desperation pass that fell to the turf. The incomplete pass secured the Grenadiers‚?? first win of the season 20-19.
‚??This is a kid who started off as a safety for us and out of necessity we moved him to defensive end and he did a great job being a chase end,‚?Ě GAR coach Paul WiedlichJr. said. ‚??I can‚??t say enough about him. He made a great play.‚?Ě
The Grenadiers squandered a few opportunities in the first half and faced a 13-0 deficit entering the third quarter.
Carbondale received the ball at the start of the second half, but GAR halted the Chargers when the Grenadiers forced a fumble. Shakir Soto scooped it up and ran it into Carbondale territory.
Despite the strong defensive effort, GAR came up empty on the drive. After the GAR defense forced a three-and-out, the Grenadiers put together their first scoring drive in eight quarters. Rich Sickler highlighted the drive with a 27-yard run that moved the Grenadiers into the red zone.
Corey Moore capped off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Benton, who shook off a few tacklers to cut the deficit to 13-7 with a minute remaining in the third quarter.
On the ensuing possession, the GAR defense came up with another stop to give the Grenadiers a chance to take the lead. Behind the senior leadership of Benton, the Grenadiers would not be denied.
‚??I wanted it bad,‚?Ě Benton said. ‚??I was sick and tired of losing so I had to come in for the team and just do what I had to do.‚?Ě
Moore completed a pass to Benton, who scampered 60 yards to the Carbondale 10-yard line. After leaving the game because of cramps, Benton came back for fourth down. Moore went right back to him on a fade route to the right corner of the end zone. Benton leaped up and hauled in the pass to give the Grenadiers a 14-13 lead.
‚??That‚??s the Lucas Benton of old that we saw during his sophomore and junior year,‚?Ě Wiedlich said. ‚??He really stepped up and showed a ton of heart.‚?Ě
On the ensuing possession, GAR forced another fumble, which Soto again recovered. Three plays later, Sickler took a handoff up the middle and scored on a 35-yard touchdown run to give the Grenadiers a 20-13 lead. Sickler finished with 111 yards on 12 carriers.
‚??That kid is about 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds and he plays like he‚??s a 220-pound kid,‚?Ě Wiedlich said. ‚??Some of the big runs Rich had tonight really set things up.‚?Ě
Carbondale fought back with about one minute remaining in the fourth. Gigliotti completed four passes for 64 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown strike to Jason Martin that cut the GAR deficit to 20-19 with 15 seconds remaining in regulation. The Chargers elected to go for the win, but Taylor‚??s blitz ended any chance of a Carbondale victory.
‚??I can‚??t say enough about our kids,‚?Ě Wiedlich said. ‚??They showed a ton of heart and they showed a lot of moxie.‚?Ě
GAR 20, Carbondale 19
CARB ‚?? Remington Hedden 9 pass from Joe Gigliotti (kick no good), 4:12
CARB ‚?? Hedden 45 pass from Gigliotti (Jason Martin kick), :017
GAR ‚?? Lucas Benton 7 pass from Corey Mooore (Luke Height kick), 1:09
GAR ‚?? Benton 3 pass from Moore (Height Kick), 4:03
GAR ‚?? Rich Sickler 3 run (Height kick), 1:17
CARB ‚?? Martin 20 pass from Gigliotti (2-point fail), :15
RUSHING ‚?? GAR: Sickler 12-111, Lucas Benton 11-38, Moore 5-(minus-5), Elmer Strollis 2-(minus-2), Rashaun Mathis 2-(minus-2); CARB: Sam Demianovich 16-72, Hedden 7-30, Brandon Sales 5-19, Gigliotti 4-0
PASSING ‚?? GAR Moore 11-21-1-147; CARB Gigliotti 8-12-0-137
RECEIVING ‚?? GAR: Benton 7-103, Jamaar Taylor 1-5, Sickler 1-11, Mathis 1-16, Rashaun Jackson 1-12; CARB: Hedden 2-54, Demianovich 2-19, Michael Scotch 2-40, Lukas Durkin 1-4, Martin 1-20
INTS ‚?? CARB: Kevin Ormes
MISSED FGS ‚?? None