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Edison closes out Cartwright with comeback victory

DIVING IN — Edison’s Ethan Waggoner reaches the end zone for a touchdown during Friday’s game against Wellsville. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

RICHMOND — All that Cartwright Memorial Field has endured over the past few years does not matter anymore. Edison gave its fans one lasting memory before demolition begins today.

And, it came in dramatic fashion and most likely will go down as one of the most improbable finishes in school history.

The Wildcats will not remember only winning one game in the previous two years before Friday, or that its first playoff appearance since 2002 a few weeks back was a blowout defeat.

They celebrated like champions. They embraced those that never gave up on them. Even writers and producers in Hollywood couldn’t make this up.

With Edison trailing Wellsville by two points and 1:02 left in the game, it faced 4th-and-10 from its own 44-yard line. Quarterback Gage Cline was sacked on the previous play, and a timeout followed.

Cline took the snap, rolled to his right and fired the ball high into the dark sky, with lightning striking miles away. He hit Jacob Cusick right between his No. 25 on the front of his jersey. Cusick hauled it in, then spun around a Wellsville defender and raced into the end zone for a game-winning 56-yard touchdown.

“The play was designed to do either one (go for a first down or a touchdown). It was a two-read where you have your choice,” Edison head coach Shane O’Brien said. “Gage made a great play and a great read, and Cusick made a great reception. It was just a great team play all the way around.

“There definitely were some ups and downs during the game and some plays we left on the field in the first half. Sometimes the ball doesn’t roll your way. In the second half, we were able to hit some of those big plays that went our way.”

The Tigers still had one last chance, but Edison’s defense stepped up. The Tigers began in Edison territory after an attempted onside kick only traveled 2 yards. But, they lost 19 yards, and when the scoreboard read 0:00 for the last time, the Wildcats came out on top, 33-28.

“I just saw him open and threw him the ball. I knew he would make that catch,” Cline said regarding the game-winner. “We couldn’t give up, and we just kept playing.”

During the final Wellsville (4-5) drive, quarterback Troy Carter threw back-to-back incomplete passes. Then, on 3rd-and-10, Isaiah Greathouse lost 4 yards on a draw. The Tigers then lost 15 more on a personal foul. Carter threw one more incompletion to seal the Edison victory on 4th-and-29.

“Coach O’Brien and his team did a good job. We had some key breakdowns that should’ve never happened, and they capitalized on them,” Wellsville coach Robert “Moose” Ramsey said. “We just couldn’t play up to our potential, and they capitalized on it, which wasn’t good for us. We have to get better at staying with our game.”

Edison (4-4) began the final quarter trailing, 28-19. On the first play of the fourth, Cline threw an interception to Garrett Krzyston in the end zone on fourth down. The Wildcat defense made its first great stop of the final stanza and forced a punt.

The offense took advantage and scored with 5:27 remaining. Vinnie Marcino did the honors with a 1-yard TD run, and Mason Montgomery booted the PAT. The drive was set up by a Tyler Griffith 31-yard sweep, followed by an Ethan Waggoner 17-yard run. Later on, Cline ran for 7 yards on 4th-and-6.

The Wildcats began the game with an early 7-0 advantage, with Waggoner rushing for a 2-yard score. The drive was set up by a Cline interception on Wellsville’s second play from scrimmage.

The Tigers inched closer and trailed, 7-3, after the opening frame. Casey Lemasters booted a 29-yard field goal.

After nearly 10 minutes of scoreless football in the second quarter, Carter got red-hot. He threw a 23-yard TD pass to Garrett Krzyston with 2:27 left. Less than a minute later (at the 1:40 mark), he found Krzyston again, this time for 73 yards. Both PATs were blocked, leaving the score at 15-7.

The Wildcats cut the deficit shortly thereafter. Following at Cusick 57-yard kick return, Cline connected with Decker Lancaster for a 28-yard score. The PAT failed, so the Tigers led, 15-13, at the break.

Edison struck first in the third to take a 19-15 lead at the 7:10 mark. Talan McClurg ran twice for 29 yards (his first two carries of the game), including a 15-yard run into the end zone to cap a 46-yard drive. Cusick returned the kickoff 54 yards.

It took 23 seconds for the Tigers to regain the lead on a 61-yard TD pass from Carter to Krzyston. The 2-point try failed, but Wellsville led, 21-19.

What could have been the play of the game had it not been for Edison coming back occurred on the ensuing kickoff. Wellsville caught Edison napping, attempted an onside kick and Gavin Whitman recovered it.

“It was a great call by them because it really shifted the momentum,” O’Brien said. “For a minute there, we did feel like we were on our heels because we thought we would get the ball back and put something together offensively. It was just about responding.”

The Tigers took full advantage, and Greathouse ended the drive with a 20-yard scoring run at the 5:05 mark. This time, Lemasters nailed the PAT. The score stood at 28-19.

“It’s a crazy series of events. It’s guys making plays when you need them to make plays,” O’Brien said following Wellsville’s final score. “I thought our guys took a big step forward in their maturity tonight because they were able to step up and make the play when it mattered. I’m really proud how they responded late in the game after overcoming some adversity.”

Cline finished with 151 passing yards on 7 of 15 attempts, two scores and two interceptions. Cusick was the leading receiver, hauling in two passes for 81 yards and the game-clinching TD.

Waggoner led the ground game with 81 yards on 16 trips and the first TD of the game. McClurg tallied 46 on five carries and a score, all in the second half. Overall, the Wildcats ran for 185 yards on 45 carries and three touchdowns.

For the Tigers, Carter was 12 of 29 for 280 yards, three touchdowns and one INT. Krzyston hauled in six of those passes for 199 yards and the three scores. Greathouse led the rushers with 13 carries for 78 yards and a TD.

“We’ve been preaching all week that this is the last group of guys and the last team to play on this field,” O’Brien said. “We preached how important it was to not only this group of guys and seniors, but to everybody that has played on this field before them and generations of Wildcats, including myself and some coaches on staff. It was a very emotional and sentimental win for us.

“We’re glad to send this stadium out not only on a good note, but also with an exciting game. I might have to spend the night here to soak it in one last time.”

UP NEXT

Wellsville: Hosts Toronto on Friday.

Edison: Travels to Indian Creek for a 1 p.m. contest next Saturday.

Edison 33, Wellsville 28

Wellsville 3 12 13 0 — 28

Edison 7 6 6 14 — 33

E — Waggoner 2 run (Montgomery kick)

W — Lemasters 29 field goal

W — G. Krzyston 23 pass from Carter (kick blocked)

W — G. Krzyston 73 pass from Carter (kick blocked)

E — Lancaster 28 pass from Cline (kick failed)

E — T. McClurg 15 run (2-point failed)

W — G. Krzyston 61 pass from Carter (2-point failed)

W — Greathouse 20 run (Lemasters kick)

E — Marcino 1 run (Montgomery kick)

E — Cusick 56 pass from Cline (Montgomery kick)

RUSHING: Wellsville 23-107-td (Greathouse 13-78-td, Carter 3-10, Kountz 6-7, V. Krzyston 1-12); Edison 45-185-3tds (Waggoner 16-81-td, Griffith 11-43, Marcino 2-5-td, Cusick 2-19, C. McClurg 1-12, Cline 4-(-2), T. McClurg 5-46-td).

PASSING: Wellsville 12-29-280-3tds-int (all by Carter); Edison 7-16-151-2tds-2ints (Cline 7-15-151-2tds-2ints, Griffith 0-1).

RECEIVING: Wellsville (G. Krzyston 6-199-3tds, V. Krzyston 3-39, Greathouse 3-52); Edison (Marcino 2-23, Sanders 1-8, Cusick 2-81-td, Lancaster 1-28-td, Team 1-11).

FIRST DOWNS: Wellsville 11; Edison 14

FUMBLES-LOST: Wellsville 2-0; Edison 3-1

PENALTIES-YARDS: Wellsville 10-100; Edison 3-30

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