By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
PINE GROVE – It was a perfect example of the line from the old Wide World of Sports theme song, the agony and the ecstasy.
There was no poor sap tumbling down a ski slope, but, for Line Mountain fans, it was just as painful to watch.
Line Mountain’s Ryan Reed 39-yard punt died at the Pine Grove 1-yard line in a 7-0 game with 5 minutes, one second left in the second quarter.
But just that quickly, Cardinals’ senior tailback Ryan Heim stole that momentum and literally ran with it. Heim padded his Tri-Valley League-leading rushing total by going 99 yards the other way on the first play, a school record. Tristan White’s kick made it 14-0 and the Cardinals were on their way to the eighth win in as many tries 35-0 on Friday night at Cardinal Stadium.
Heim said the team was frustrated that the ball stopped on the one after the Cardinals let it roll.
“We said we’ve gotta get some room and, obviously, we got better than that,” Heim said.
After taking the handoff, he saw a hole, but then saw the Eagles’ linebackers flowing toward it.
“I looked outside and a receiver made a beautiful block on the corner and so I just cut it outside and there was no one out there,” he said.
On his way down the left sideline, he said, “I saw a flash of white (an Eagle player) and I started moving faster.”
When he reached the end zone, he said, “I can’t even describe the feeling. You’re pinned up against your own goal line and you’re never expecting that, but you just want to get some room. That was a great feeling.”
Line Mountain wasn’t expecting it either.
Coach Rodney Knock said, “Defensively we came out strong and played well and that one play, Heim is a good back and they have good linemen who block well. He set up our corner who went inside and he juked a backer on the outside and, with his speed, we weren’t catching him.”
Pine Grove coach Jeff Sampson, who said it was the first 99-yard TD run he has seen, “but I saw a 98” added that, although you don’t expect it, “With Ryan, anything is possible.”
But, he added, “We were just trying to move the ball and get our offense going.”
Before the Heim heroics, the Eagles (3-5, 2-5 TVL) were holding their own, helped by a Coltin Gaw sack of quarterback Steve Zimmerman and a great pass break-up by Garrett Hepner, among others. The Eagles even survived a blocked punt by Guy Zimmerman, recovered by Heim at the Eagles’ 11. Gaw’s sack helped get the ball back.
But after an Eagle three-and-out, the Cardinals rode the legs of Heim for a 10-play, 51-yard scoring drive, capped by Heim’s 5-yard run to make it 14-0.
A Tyler Wolfe interception set the Cardinals up for another score, a 5-yard run by Steve Zimmerman to make it 21-0 at halftime.
Heim added a 9-yard TD run as well as a 9-yard interception return for a TD to complete the scoring, finishing with 201 yards rushing.