TURBOTVILLE - It was a drive that could have easily ripped the heart out of any team. Wyalusing marched 80 yards on 15 plays and took seven minutes off the clock on its way to a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
The one-win Rams punched the one-win Defenders right in the gut. Dylan Otis, a 235-pound fullback, delivered most of the blows, carrying eight times, including seven straight that advanced the ball from the 47-yard line to the Warrior Run 8 before quarterback Andrew Pickett accounted for the final 8 yards with his legs.
The Defenders had two ways to respond and when senior quarterback Garrett Moser entered the huddle, he knew immediately what his team's reaction would be. He didn't see any quit in the eyes of his teammates, instead he saw intense and focused stares - ones of a team that wanted to win a second consecutive game.
Moser led his team for the tying score and after one of two fourth-quarter takeaways, Warrior Run took the lead and held on for a 21-14 win at Defender Stadium on Friday night.
"We've had a really tough year this year," said Moser. "Coming from behind... we knew we had it in us."
The Defenders (2-7) needed to drive 65 yards after being knocked to the canvas when Pickett scored with 10:41 left in the fourth quarter.
"We went out there and the intensity... just looking at the guys in the huddle it was so different when we knew we had to score to win that game," said Moser.
Derek Keiser did heavy work on the game-tying drive, carrying the ball four of five plays and advancing it to the Wyalusing 35. Keiser's biggest run came on a fourth-and-2 from the 45. Moser, who struggled with the Warrior Run passing game, delivered one of his four completions - a perfectly lobbed pass to Nick Rohm down the sideline - for a 35-yard game-tying touchdown.
Warrior Run's defense didn't appear recovered from Wyalusing's previous scoring drive and the Rams (1-8) ran five consecutive plays totaling 34 yards and two first downs. A sixth straight run, however, ended with the ball in the hands of Warrior Run safety Wyatt Kirkendall.
Keiser, who finished with 98 yards on 13 carries, totaled 50 yards on consecutive rushes to move the ball to the Wyalusing 10. Moser utilized a hard count for 5 easy yards and two more Keiser runs moved the ball to the 1. Facing a third-and-goal, Moser called his own number, buried his head and reached the end zone on a sneak. Elias George added a third PAT and the Defenders led 21-14 with 2:56 left.
Needing one more stop for a second consecutive win, Rohm intercepted Pickett and Warrior Run ran out the clock.
"We didn't get down, which is a big thing," said Warrior Run coach Mark Burrows. "We've been working on that for eight weeks. Things are going to happen in football games and I tell them the character of a guy is what happens when he gets knocked down. What do you do when you get up and they got up tonight."
Mark Blanchard secured the final first down with a 20-yard run and allowed Moser to kneel two times. Blanchard finished with 177 yards on 24 carries as the Defenders rushed for 290 yards.
Moser, who moved into third place in the school's all-time passing leaders, finished just 4 of 14 for 36 yards with a touchdown and interception, but his final attempt was the 35-yard connection with Rohm for the game-tying score.
"That one catch was a perfect pass from Garrett and that turned the game around for us," said Rohm.
Warrior Run closes its season next week at home against Southern Columbia.