The Penn Manor Comets emerged victorious with a 27-20 Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) 2014 win over Pennsylvania high school American football rival the Cedar Cliff Colts under Dublin Friday Night Lights.
Having fallen behind to an early rushing touchdown by Colts sophomore quarterback Grant Breneman at the University College Dublin Bowl, Penn Manor took a first quarter lead they would not relinquish and in the ultimate road game, opened the season in style from 3,200 miles from home.
“It was an incredible experience for both teams and it’s unfortunate somebody has to lose,” said Penn Manor head coach Todd Mealy. “The kids played hard on both sides tonight and gave the people in Ireland a heck of a game to watch and hopefully people back home watching the live stream enjoyed it as well.
“There’s no doubt we beat a very good team and my hat’s off to Coach Gillen and his team. I think we just made one more play than them and had the ball bounced differently for them maybe the outcome would have been a little different.
“This is special for both of our communities and we’re fortunate to be the ones that came out on top.”
Organized by Global Football, the GIFT game got underway in driving rain after Honorary Chairman, former Penn State and NFL tight end Kyle Brady, performed the coin toss, along with Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson.
Comets quarterback Tanner Erisman, followed up his game-tying five-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Spangler with a 24-yard scoring bullet to Keagan Gamber in the corner of the end zone to open up a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, as Cedar Cliff took advantage of a turnover and the evening sky brightened.
Erisman then rushed for a touchdown, but a missed extra point matching the Colts’ earlier failure meant 14 points separated the teams in the second quarter. The quarterback might have inflicted further damaged, but was intercepted in the end zone on the stroke of halftime.
The lead was extended to 27-6 soon after the break, but Colts running back Jayden Demmy tore 44 yards through the Comets defense and raced all the way to the end zone on the way to a 150-yard performance on the ground, to cut the deficit to 14 points, trailing 27-13. With two minutes still to play in the third period, Cedar Cliff pulled to with seven, through another touchdown rush by Breneman, but Penn Manor controlled the fourth quarter clock and held on for the victory.
Penn Manor: Tanner Erisman 9-20-177-2-2. Cedar Cliff: Grant Breneman 5-11-77-0-2
Penn Manor: Tyler Spangler 8-46; Jamal McCaskell 8-35; Tanner Erisman 7-17-1; Ashton Leschke 6-26; Justin Matias 2-8; Carter Kinser 2-5. Cedar Cliff: Grant Breneman 19- 92-2; Jayden Demmy 16-150-1
Penn Manor: Ashton Leschke 3-23; Keagan Gamber 2-28-1; Tyler Spangler 2-11-1; Grant Cale 1-55; Gerrin McKinnie 1-8. Cedar Cliff: Noah Malone 2-42; Trysten McDonald 1-13; Jordan Stiles 1-12; Jayden Demmy 1-10