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Carrick has a “bear” of a time with Oliver

Written by: on Sunday, October 12th, 2008


PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh City League doesn’t see many 7:00 kickoffs on Saturday nights, but maybe, after Carrick and Oliver’s Saturday night thriller, the powers-that-be might schedule a few more games in that time slot.

Carrick (4-3) snapped a two-game losing streak by scoring the winning touchdown with 1:22 left, holding off Oliver (2-5) 18-12 from Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh.

Carrick, though, could have been down much worse to the Bears.  The Oliver program, known for its staunch defense, limited Carrick to just 34 yards of offense and three first downs in the first half.

Carrick head coach Jeff McCafferty needed just one line to describe that opening 24 minutes.

“In the first half, I thought we looked terrible,” he said.

“Oliver, I thought, did a very good job.  I congratulate Oliver.  It was an exciting game.  They did a great job.”

But the praise from McCafferty could only do so much for the Bears, who limited themselves by committing 11 penalties for 85 yards and turning the ball over four times, twice via interceptions, and twice via fumbles.

Despite the mistakes, Oliver held a 6-0 halftime lead on the arm of DeVaughan Copeland’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Hill.

Hill, who was not listed on the Oliver team roster, also recovered a Carrick fumble on defense.

Carrick came out a different team in the second half, taking their opening possession of the second half 53 yards, capped by a Morgan Lewis nine-yard touchdown pass to Chris Nyugen.

Oliver answered right back.  Two plays later, Copeland (11-of-25, 215 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) found a wide open Edward Mathis for a 59-yard strike.  Oliver led, 12-6.

Punch, counterpunch.

Carrick countered, running 5:50 off of the clock, and when Lewis hit the City League’s leading receiver, Bruce Thornton, on a 31-yard scoring pass, the game was knotted at 12-apiece. 

Thornton, who entered the game with 676 receiving yards, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, caught two passes for 31 yards and the touchdown, giving him 708 yards this season.

Neither team could get much going after that, that is, until Oliver fumbled the ball, which Sesky recovered, setting the Raiders up at the Bear 16 yard line with 1:27 to play.

One play later, the Carrick crowd was roaring in delight when Lewis (7-of-16, 73 yards, 3 TD) hooked up with Ryan Roeper from 16 yards out.  Carrick missed the two point conversion, and led, 18-12.

Oliver, though, was not and did not just go and roll over.

“The kids said they wanted to win it,” Oliver head coach Tim Keefer said.  “So we went out to win it.”

The Bears got a great start with a Martise Smith 48-yard kickoff return to the Carrick 42.  Then, on a 4th-and-18, Copeland found Smith on a 30-yard dart to the Carrick 20.

But the Bears’ rally died from there.  A false start penalty and four straight Copeland incompletions sent this one to the record books.

Keefer, despite being eliminated from City League playoff contention, was happy.

“I’m happy with them (my team),” he said.  “They had a great effort.”

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