Sometimes a midseason football game between teams hovering around the .500 mark can result in a remarkable finish. Thus was the case in today’s “When Sports Were Played” game as Chartiers-Houston, a yard away from trailing by three scores, rallied in the final six minutes to beat Brentwood on Oct. 16, 2015.
HOUSTON – The Chartiers-Houston football team’s playoff hopes weren’t on life support or even dimming a great deal, but a loss to Brentwood would have made qualifying for the postseason a bit tougher.
That’s the scenario the Bucs were faced with as the Spartans had a third-and-goal on the 1-yard line, a 14-3 lead, and under 7 minutes to play on a rolling clock.
Then the unthinkable happened.
A fumble. A school-record scoring play. A quick three-and-out.
Suddenly, the Bucs were 50 yards away from taking an improbable lead. Just to make things a little more exciting, a holding penalty backed Chartiers-Houston up a little more. But its momentum couldn’t be stopped.
Spencer Terling scored from the one with 1:16 to play, and Chartiers-Houston pulled off an incredible comeback to stun visiting Brentwood 18-14 Friday night, moving closer to clinching a playoff spot out of the Class A Black Hills Conference.
“There have been a couple of times we ended up on the bad side of these, so it feels good to get one that way,” said C-H coach Terry Fetsko. “It’s over if they score at the end there.”
The game turned with the goal-line stand with 6:33 left. Given the Bucs’ struggles to move the ball, an 18-point lead would’ve been near insurmountable to overcome. But a fumbled exchange that Terling fell on stopped Brentwood (1-4, 2-5) and kept the candle of hope burning just a little bit longer for Char-Houston (3-3, 4-3).
What happened next turned that candle into a blaze.
Backed up on their own two-yard line, T.J. Johnston lobbed a pass downfield that was hauled in by Tyrone Wormsley around the Bucs’ 45-yard line. In a foot race, no one was catching him, and he rumbled 98 yards for what is believed to be the longest play in school history.
“When I saw the ball in the air, my eyes got really big,” said Wormsley. “I just wanted to focus on getting the ball in my hands and then running. Right when I caught it, I knew I was gone.”
The two-point conversion cut the Bucs’ deficit to 14-11, and with Mike Cushma having already nailed a 35-yard field goal with ease earlier, the possibility of at least forcing overtime was much higher.
“Coach called it in and we took a chance,” said Johnston. “I threw it up to him and he made a play. Tyrone is a big-time guy.”
“We felt we’d have one-on-one coverage because they’d be pounding the box,” said Fetsko. “We decided to take a shot and it worked out for us.”
Brentwood’s offense wasn’t faring much better, and the Spartans went three-and-out on their next possession. A 22-yard punt return by Wormsley put the ball at midfield – his 28-yard return earlier set up Cushma’s field goal – and the Bucs were in great shape.
The holding penalty on first down backed them up, but then Terling stepped up again. His 54-yard run doubled his yardage for the game and put the ball at the Brentwood 17.
Suddenly, the idea of settling for a field goal was put on the back burner and the end zone was in sight.
“We were being aggressive because we didn’t want to go to overtime, but it’s so comfortable knowing you have Mike there to make that field goal,” said Fetsko. “But we were aggressive and were trying to score.”
A crucial third-down conversion was necessary, with Johnston hitting Ethan Shober for 10 yards to keep the drive alive. Terling scored two plays later, and Cushma’s extra point forced Brentwood to need a touchdown to win.
“We didn’t do a whole lot offensively, but I still felt comfortable,” said Fetsko. “We weren’t reaching for things.”
Four straight incomplete Spartans passes later, and the Bucs were able to kill the clock.
Chartiers-Houston now just needs to beat Fort Cherry in two weeks to clinch a playoff berth.
“This will be the craziest game of our season probably,” said Wormsley.
Terling finished with 107 yards on 19 carries. Johnston completed 10 of 21 passes for 189 yards. Wormsley caught four passes for 145 yards.
All three of the game’s turnovers (two by Brentwood) came at or inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.