By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Jeremy Winn heard the audible gasp from the crowd.
The Lewisburg coach knew it wasn’t good and it wasn’t.
Dante Taylor had trouble fielding the kickoff after Towanda took a one-point lead on the Green Dragons with 1:14 left in the game.
After watching the two teams combine for 11 turnovers, one more Lewisburg miscue might have been more than the Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium crowd could handle.
But Winn heard a voice in his headset.
“I heard the crowd react, but in my headset Coach (Dave) Fortunato said up in the press box ‘there is a seam in the middle of the field,’” Winn said.
Luckily for the Green Dragons, once he gathered the ball, Taylor noticed the seam as well.
He raced 78 yards to the Towanda 2 to set up Drew Newcomb’s game-winning touchdown run with 56 seconds left to give Lewisburg a 25-20 victory over the Black Knights on Friday night.
Lewisburg overcame six turnovers, including four in the half, but always had answer for the Black Knights.
“I’m proud of the kids. Anytime you commit that many turnovers, it’s easy to letdown,” Winn said. “We kept bouncing back.”
Towanda led 14-13 in the third quarter when the Black Knights decided to fake a punt from their own 35 with a little over six minutes left in the game. The Green Dragons stuffed Noah Huff at the line of scrimmage.
Lewisburg took advantage taking four plays to take the lead on a 20-yard pass from Nick Costagliola (207 yards passing) to running back Logan Aikey with 4:21 left in the game. The two-point conversion pass failed giving Lewisburg a 19-14 lead.
Stephen Yates returned the ensuing kickoff for the Black Knights 34 yards to set up a six-play drive that gave the lead back to Towanda. Huff (22 carries, 136 yards, two scores) ran 21 yards on a quarterback sweep to start the drive. Dan Lejedal scored from two yards out with 1:14 left in the game. Towanda’s two-point pass failed giving the Black Knights a 20-19 advantage.
On the ensuing kickoff, the ball ricocheted off Taylor before he was able to corral it.
“I was a little bit scared (when the ball was on the ground),” Taylor said. “I didn’t see the seam right away, but my teammates made some great blocks. If it wasn’t for my teammates blocks, I couldn’t have broken (the return).”
Taylor went 78 yards before he was pushed out at the two-yard line. Drew Newcomb capped the drive with a two-yard plunge with 56 seconds left for a 25-20 lead after the two-point conversion failed.
Luke Smith picked off Huff on the first Towanda offensive play with 51 seconds left to seal the game.