By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- McDaniel coach Mike Hoyt decided to throw conventional wisdom to the wind with Saturday's game on the line.
With his team trailing by a point after a touchdown with 17 seconds left, Hoyt sent his offense back onto the field for a game-winning 2-point conversion try.
The gamble paid off with a dramatic reception of a tipped pass and the Green Terror shocked the Crusaders, 43-42, in a back-and-forth Centennial Conference battle at Nicholas A. Lopardo Stadium.
Hoyt decided to take a chance with his one-win team rather than send the game into overtime with an extra-point kick. McDaniel quarterback Seth McFall dropped back on the attempt, looked left and threw a pass for the end zone but Adrian Bernard jumped and deflected the ball into the air, seemingly stopping the Green Terror and allowing the Crusaders (1-8, 1-7 CC) to survive.
However, the ball spun backwards on the tip and fell into the waiting hands of Britton Hastings, who stepped across the goal line to push McDaniel ahead by a point.
"As I just said to the team, I don't know why the ball's not bouncing our way this year," Susquehanna head coach Steve Briggs said. "It's been from week one. We're not getting breaks. We're not causing breaks."
The 2-point conversion attempt almost didn't happen as the Crusaders forced McDaniel into fourth-and-11 from the Crusaders' 25 on that final drive. Mike Oliveto settled into open space in the middle of the field and McFall connected with him for a first-and-goal. Three plays later, McFall lofted a ball over the Crusaders defense to Nick O'Melia in the back of the end zone to make it a 42-41 game.
The Crusaders had one final chance to pull out a win as Mark Rosenbaum completed a pass over the middle, but a pitch to keep the play alive was bobbled and McDaniel recovered the loose ball to seal the win.