South Williamsport had rallied already once on Friday night and staring down just a one-point deficit to Bloomsburg with 8:07 left, Chris Eiswerth and the Mounties knew they had to get it done.
So on 2nd-and-14, quarterback Tyler House dropped back and felt the Bloomsburg defense bearing down and quickly dumped it off to his right to senior Matt Bartholomew on a little screen pass. Bartholomew then turned up field and kept avoiding tackles on the sideline before ending his run with a nice cut to the inside of the field to beat out the final Bloomsburg defender and walked into he end zone for the go-ahead score.
The play, which had the entire crowd of South Williamsport fans screaming and cheering, shifted the momentum back to South Williamsport and the Mounties never relented the lead back as it beat the Panthers, 34-27, at South Williamsport in its season opener.
It's the first time South Williamsport has beaten Bloomsburg this century.
Bloomsburg was dealt a huge momentum killer on the following possession when quarterback Ricky Klingerman (20-for-32, 199 yards, 2 TD) - filling the big shoes left by Rutgers' Blake Rankin - tried to force a pass to Colby Klingerman. Klingerman at first bobbled the reception and looked to have reeled it in. But it was the Mounties Jonny Pulizzi who was there and stole it away for the huge turnover.
The Mounties didn't waste the possession either, as Brandon Stonge burst through the line for a 52 yard gain to put the Mounties at the 5 yard line. House then ran it in for the score, putting the Mounties up by 13 and ensuring the win.
"(Our running backs) controlled the clock, which you have to do against Bloom, very explosive (team)," South Williamsport coach Chris Eiswerth said. "When they came down and ran that two minute offense (on final drive), we're thinking 'are we going through this all over again?' because last year we lost on the last second to Hughesville and I think the kids had that in the back of their mind. But they finished tonight and that's all that matters and what a great team effort."
That offensive line for the Mounties blocked the way as Stonge, Matt Bartholomew and Dominick Bragalone combined to rush for 301 yards, with 183 and two touchdowns coming on Stonge's 18 carries. Through the air, House ended the game with a 6-for-11 performance for 89 yards and a touchdown.
"We have the best backs in the area I think with Dominick and Matt and me," Stonge said. "I don't think anybody's going to be able to stop us. Once we get the passing game going, we're going to be unstoppable."
South Williamsport started off a little shaky against Bloomsburg. The Panthers took their opening possession 76 yards on eight plays for a touchdown and after forcing the Mounties to punt, mirrored their opening drive success. Bloomsburg went 80 yards on 12 plays for another score, eating up the final nearly 6 minutes of the quarter.
"It was just our seniors. We came in and we came together and we were like 'we got to fight, we got to go hard and we got to maul and we got to keep going," Stonge said of the 13-0 deficit to start the game.
The Mounties ended the quarter with an eight yard score by Stonge after Andrew Gipe grabbed a punt off a bounce and ran it down to the Panthers' 22. Stonge then dove over the goal line on a last effort to convert the 2-point conversion, putting South Williamsport ahead, 14-13.
Bloomsburg used a huge blunder from South Williamsport in the fourth quarter when the Mounties accidently snapped the punt too high, giving the Panthers the ball on the Mounties' 18. Four players later, Ricky Klingerman hit John Klingerman in the back of the end zone to put Bloomsburg ahead, 21-20.
The Panthers used a two minute offense on its final possession, going 60 yards in nine plays thanks to Ricky Klingerman's arm to move Bloomsburg's offense for the final score of the night.