Liberty falls short, 13-12, vs. Northeast

Lions' two-point attempt is foiled in final minute

Football

September 18, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Northeast running back Joe Brockmeyer likely will struggle through his early classes this morning.

Last night, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound running back carried 42 times for 171 yards, and junior safety Chris Dyke batted down a two-point conversion attempt in the final minute to lift the visiting Eagles to a thrilling 13-12 victory over Liberty.

Northeast (2-0) dominated the line of scrimmage, but nearly lost as a result of six turnovers. Trailing 13-6 with 51.4 seconds remaining, Liberty (1-1) scored on a trick play in which quarterback Nick Sargent threw a 25-yard lateral to wide receiver Ryan Stecher, who then found Matt McDermott for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Having missed an extra point earlier in the game, Lions coach Ken Johnson decided to go for two points, but Sargent's pass in the flat was knocked away by Dyke.

"We went for the win," Johnson said. "They deserved to win the game. I can't believe we were even in the game at the end."

Northeast outgained Liberty 314-75 in total yardage, earned 19 first downs to five for Liberty and ran 73 offensive plays. The Lions ran 42 plays, exactly as many times as Brockmeyer carried the ball.

"I love it. I want to carry the ball as much as I can," Brockmeyer said. "My offensive line came through with great blocks for me. I love them. They were great. I'm going to buy them all dinner."

Northeast dominated the first half but trailed 6-3 late in the second quarter after Brockmeyer lost a fumble and Sargent hit receiver Derek Ruch for a 16-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing play.

The Eagles tied the game 6-6 with .9 of a second remaining in the second quarter on Britt Mitchell's second field goal. That was set up by a Liberty fumble, when Johnson called for a run on the Lions' 5-yard line with 12.7 seconds left in the half.

Northeast broke the tie with 8:31 remaining in the game when senior quarterback C.J. Spoone found slot back Paul Lutz wide-open on a play-action, roll-out pass for a 50-yard touchdown. Liberty went three-and-out on its next two possessions, but still had a chance to win before Dyke knocked down Sargent's pass at the end.

"I saw him roll out, and I didn't even have my coverage," said Dyke, who also had four catches for 75 yards. "I saw it and just jumped up."

For Northeast, which entered last season on a 31-game losing streak before finishing 5-5, the win marked one more step in the direction of turning the program around.

"This is the biggest win we've had probably since 1988," Northeast coach Michael Cotham said. "To come as far as we have in just a year is because of the kids. The work they've done for us has paid off."

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