JERSEY SHORE - Through the first two games of the 2013 season, the Bloomsburg football show has been led by the cousin combo of Ricky and Colby Klingerman to a 2-1 record.
However, Friday night at Thompson Street Stadium, the Jersey Shore defense decided it was time to be a show stopper as the Bulldogs outlasted the Panthers, 21-14 in overtime.
"I am really proud of this group of kids," said Shore coach Tom Gravish. "We have always believed in them and this is the way you want to win a game because the going got tough and we had some other chances to score and didn't cash in on them."
Logan English (3) of Jersey Shore looks to pass as Bloomsburg’s Jahveal Hemphill pursues Friday night at Jersey Shore.
With the two teams tied at 14-all, the game went to overtime and Shore (2-2) had the first possession.
Tailback Levi Lorson lost two yards, but Logan English hit Troy Rowan for eight yards to the Bloom 4. On the third down play, English called his own number for the four yard score, the quarterback/kicker nailed the PAT, and the Bulldogs held a 21-14 lead.
Having played tough football all night long, it was time for the Shore defense to stand up tall one more time, and the unit did just that.
Two plays netted the Panthers nine yards, and that is when the Shore defensive front and linebackers went to work to stuff the Panthers inches short of the goal line to preserve the hard-fought win.
"That was two huge plays by our defense to keep them out of the end zone," Gravish said. "They really dug in when they had to and I am really proud of the effort. I think that shows when these kids get their backs to the wall they just refuse to lose. We (the Shore coaches) stress that to them all the time. These kids really like each other and we keep telling them, hey, just be patient because our time is going to come. To be honest about it, I haven't been this proud of a football team in a long time."
The two teams traded punches with their first possessions as Bloomsburg went 65 yards on 15 plays for the game's first score. However, the Bulldogs answered right back with an 80-yard drive in 14 plays, Brody Smith carrying the mail to paydirt on a 4-yard TD toss from English.
English tacked on the PAT and with no scoring in the second period, the two teams headed to the locker room at halftime deadlocked at 7-all
Although Shore couldn't muster any points in the second period, the Bulldogs put together 52-yard drive that fell three yards short of the end zone with time running out.
Bloomsburg drew first blood again in the second half when the Panthers recovered a Shore fumble and quickly moved 57 yards for the score. With the PAT, Bloom held a 14-7 advantage with four minutes left before the turn for home.
Facing the 7-point deficit, the Bulldogs answered the gigantic fireworks display at the Historical Days in Antes Fort that was visible from the West stands as they put on a fireworks display of their own.
After again turning over the ball on an interception, the Shore defense, which played a hard-nosed game for much of the 48 minutes, came up with the big play when defensive end Dom Loffredo blocked his second punt of the season and the Bulldogs set up shop at the Bloom 31.
Five plays later following a huge pass play from English to Troy Rowan that covered 24 yards, tailback Lorson followed a convoy around right end for the final seven yards and the tying score.