By DOUG CHAPIN
CAMPBELL -- You would have to be a defensive coordinator not to have enjoyed the offensive fireworks Friday night as Girard edged Campbell Memorial, 44-43 in overtime, avenging the Indians' overtime loss to the Red Devils last year.
Ironically, it was a defensive player who made the biggest play in the game, which featured more than a half-dozen plays of 40 yards or longer and more than 700 yards of total offense.
Girard linebacker Justin Griffin broke through to block an extra point attempt in the overtime.
"There were great plays throughout the game by both sides and great calls by the coaches on both sides," Girard (1-1) coach Bud McSuley said. "It ended up being one of those games where it seems the last team with the ball wins."
Five touchdowns in fourth
The teams combined for five touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including four in the final 4 minutes, 32 seconds of regulation, to get the game to overtime tied at 37.
Senior running back Brandon Sibly scored from 8 yards on Campbell's third play of overtime. Sibly ran for 177 yards on the game in 18 carries and scored three other touchdowns: a 50-yard scoring pass from Joe Fonda, a 75-yard punt return and a 96-yard run from scrimmage.
"Sibly is an excellent athlete and football player and a true team leader. He helped keep the younger kids' heads up," Campbell (0-2) coach John Protopapa said. "He's very respectful and a good young man,"
Following Sibly's overtime score, Girard's Griffin came up with his big play to keep Campbell's lead at six.
The Indians provided more suspense on their possession, going to fourth-and-goal at the 8. Scooter Hargate, who passed for 246 yards and ran for 75, found Jimmy Petrella in the back of the end zone to tie the score. Petrella did a great job to hang on to the pass as he was hit by two defenders. Hargate then put his extra point through.
"Obviously we've got to get better," McSuley said. "You can't give up 96-yard runs and make turnovers in the red zone."
The Indians trailed 14-0, 21-14 and 29-22, while the Red Devils rallied from 37-29, after Girard sophomore Kyle Stadelmyer scored from 18 yards out with 2:22 remaining in regulation.
Stadelmyer finished with 89 yards on eight carries and 73 yards on three receptions.
"We told the kids we could still tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion, and we had just scored a little earlier on a 96-yard run," Protopapa said. "We've got a lot of sophomores and juniors playing and they are on an emotional roller coaster. I have to credit Sibly and Fonda, two of our captains, for keeping the other kids heads in the game. They showed some good leadership."
The game-tying drive took eight plays and featured a swing pass from Fonda to Gerald Banks for 24 yards and a 24-yard run by Sibly. Banks scored the touchdown from 2 yards out with 30 seconds remaining and Fonda connected with Jermaine Richardson in the back corner of the end zone for the two-pointer to tie the score.