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ONE FOR THE AGES: Cumberland Valley stuns McDevitt in double OT

Written by: on Saturday, December 5th, 2009

HERSHEY, Pa. – Trying to find the words to describe the second half of football between Bishop McDevitt and Cumberland Valley would be hard to do. There were many highlight-worthy plays and heart-stopping moments.

But, in the end, Cumberland Valley’s Kevin Snyder made the biggest play of his career and the Eagles’ season.

Snyder picked off Matt Johnson in the end zone in double overtime to seal the Eagles’ (12-2) 34-27 thrilling victory over the highly-touted Crusaders (12-1) from a cold Hersheypark Stadium Saturday evening.

With the victory, Cumberland Valley will take on State College Area (12-1), a 14-3 victor over WPIAL champion Woodland Hills, in the “AAAA” Western Finals from Altoona’s Mansion Park Stadium next Saturday, with kickoff slated for 1 p.m.

This latest District 3 title is the 11th in the career of Tim Rimpfel, his 9th at the helm of Cumberland Valley, and 276th overall. He won two titles at McDevitt in the middle-1980s. Rimpfel’s career record now stands at 276-90-1.

“This one’s in the top-10 (all-time),” Rimpfel said. “This is one of the sweetest.”

It wasn’t that McDevitt didn’t have its chances. The Crusaders thrice moved the ball to or inside the Cumberland Valley 20 yard line in this game, but came away empty-handed with three turnovers on downs.

“We had the opportunities,” said Crusaders’ boss Jeff Weachter. “We just didn’t capitalize.”

Cumberland Valley hit two big plays in the first half – the second set up a Travis Friend two-yard touchdown. Those plays were Eric Sawyer completions of 34 and 58 yards, the 58-yarder went to Snyder, who had a heck of an all-around game for the red and white.

McDevitt sliced the Eagle lead to 7-6 when Matt Johnson hit Dan Leonard on a 24-yard seam rout, but the extra point was blocked.

Cumberland Valley was stuffed on its next possession, and forced to punt, but McDevitt muffed it, and CV recovered at the Crusader 13 yard line. One play later, Snyder scored on a 13-yard run, and the lead was now 14-6.

Jameel Poteat brought McDevitt to within 14-12 on a 9-yard run, but Snyder answered the bell with a 67-yard scoring run on Cumberland Valley’s next series, and McDevitt got a much-needed block of an extra point to keep CV ahead by only eight points, at 20-12.

Johnson (233 passing yards, TD, 4 INT) opened McDevitt’s ensuing drive with passes of 20, 8, and 14 yards, then added a 7-yard run to set up Poteat’s second touchdown, an 8-yard run to make it 20-18. Johnson’s keeper on the two-point try knotted things up at 20.

“We had the heart of a champion,” Weachter said.

Poteat opened the overtime scoring with a 3-yard run, but Cumberland Valley got touchdowns on its two possessions, a 10-yard pass from Sawyer (151 passing yards, TD, INT, 5-of-10 passing) to Colton Fitzpatrick and a 1-yard run from Friend, his second of the game.

That set the stage for McDevitt’s possession in the second overtime, which ended with Johnson’s fourth interception.

Snyder finished with 136 rushing yards, 84 receiving yards, and had two interceptions on defense. Friend finished with 33 yards on 11 carries. In all, Cumberland Valley ran for 199 yards on 40 carries and had 11 first downs and 350 yards of offense.

McDevitt put up gaudy stats rushing (229 yards on 48 carries) and passing (233 yards), and finished with 462 yards of offense and 23 first downs. But five turnovers, not counting the ones on downs, doomed McDevitt, and spoiled a 158-yard, three-touchdown performance by Poteat and great efforts by Dan Leonard and Salath Williams.

Last year at this time, CV was licking its wounds after a 35-7 loss to Wilson-West Lawn, in which the Eagles committed a title-game record eight turnovers.

“Last year’s experience helped us,” Rimpfel said. “With (Trevor) Harmon and (Travis) Friend back from last year, they really helped keep our guys focused this week.”

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