There was a football game at Warrior Stadium on Saturday night when a chess match broke out.
Contrasting styles were on display when Gettysburg hosted York Suburban – the Warriors pound-the-rock, move-the-chains, chew-the-clock offense versus the Trojans’ high-flying aerial circus with junior quarterback Camden Brewer at the controls. When the smoke cleared, Brewer and his Trojan teammates made enough big plays to prevail, 27-18.
Brewer completed 14 of 22 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns – all to sophomore sensation Kenny Johnson, who finished with eight receptions for 171 yards and added a pair of acrobatic interceptions on defense.
“He’s the real deal,” said victorious head coach Andy Loucks of Johnson’s performance. “I’m excited about what he can accomplish in his career. Our guys gave it everything they had tonight. They were phenomenal – that’s the best game we’ve played as a team in six years.”
The guests’ Mike Bentivegna returned the opening kickoff 46 yards to allow the Trojans (2-2) to start their initial possession in Warrior territory. Shane Brockett corralled Bentivegna to prevent a touchdown, then two plays later pounced on fumble. Gettysburg (3-1) took over on its own 33 and marched inside the Suburban five on a foray that lasted more than nine minutes. An incompletion on third down forced a field goal attempt and Zach Parr’s kick was good from 24 yards out to put the hosts up, 3-0.
Brewer struck quickly at the start of the second period on a 69-yard moonbeam that Johnson gathered in behind the Warrior secondary and waltzed into the end zone. The two-point conversion attempt failed but the visitors led, 6-3.
Gettysburg answered when Jeremiah Scott’s twisting double pirouette from eight yards away capped a 50-yard incursion that catapulted the home team back in front, 10-6. Brewer replied with another parabola to Johnson – the hookup covered 31 yards and put Suburban back in front.
Asher Baddick’s first completion of the night was good for 16 yards to Ruger Pennington for a first-and-goal inside the one. Pennington, who led the Warriors with 141 rushing yards on 21 carries, made a one-handed grab and injured a wrist when he plummeted earthward. Baddick bulled in for six but the kick was no good and the Warriors were up, 16-13 with 3:10 to play in the half.
Brewer showed that was more than enough time. He drove his club the length of the field and hit Bentivegna out of the backfield on a go route that was good for 43 yards. Bentivegna took it in from the two with 17 ticks on the clock and the Trojans entered the locker room with a 20-16 advantage.
Pennington rushed for 134 yards over the first two periods but was held in check in the second half.
“We really didn’t make any adjustments,” said Loucks. “We just eliminated our mistakes.”
The Warriors went three-and-out to start the third period and forced YS to punt from its own end zone on the ensuing possession. Hunter Williams blocked the punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety that trimmed the deficit to 20-18. Gettysburg was poised to get the pigskin back when calamity struck. Gunner Wilson tried to short-hop a line-drive punt that would have given the Warriors great field position. Instead, Suburban recovered to give Brennan another opportunity and he found Johnson open again. The 31-yard connection gave the Trojans a two-possession edge, 27-18. The Warriors threatened in the final frame but Johnson’s picks kept them at bay.
“We had too many mental breakdowns,” said Gettysburg head coach Matt Heiser. “Mistakes bite you in a close game like this. Losing isn’t fun but we have to appreciate the opportunities we’ve had to get out there and play the game.”
The Warriors travel to New Oxford (4-0) on Friday while York Suburban hosts West York. Gettysburg must secure a victory to claim a share of the division title and keep their District 3 playoff aspirations alive.
“We have to clean ourselves up, lick our wounds and accept the challenge,” said Heiser of the impending clash with the Colonials – who now control their destiny atop the division.
York Suburban 0 20 7 0 – 27
Gettysburg 3 13 2 0 – 18
G – Zach Parr 24 FG 2:27
YS – Kenny Johnson 69 pass from Camden Brewer (pass failed) 11:48
G – Jeremiah Scott 8 run (Parr kick) 10:25
YS – Johnson 33 pass from Brewer (Damian Yepez kick) 8:01
YS – Mike Bentivegna 2 run (Yepez kick) 00:17
G – Hunter Williams blocked punt out of end zone for safety 6:05
YS – Johnson 31 pass to Johnson (Yepez kick) 1:08
First downs 17 12
Rushing 31-103 36-193
Passing 14-24-0 5-17-2
Passing yards 273 53
Total yards 376 246
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 8-60 4-27
Punting 3-18.3 2-36.2
Rushing: YS-Mike Bentivegna 10-68, Camden Brewer 16-39, Jamal Lewis 3-10, Kenny Johnson 2-(-14); G-Ruger Pennington 21-141, Jeremiah Scott 9-36, Taysean Foster 2-9, Asher Baddick 2-6, Cody Rexroth 1-1, Jayden Johnson 1-0 .
Passing: YS-Brewer 14-22-273-0, Bentivegna 0-1-0-0, Johnson 0-1-0-0; G-Baddick 5-17-53-2.
Receiving: YS-Johnson 8-171, Bentivegna 2-69, Ty Posey 2-28, Jayce Henderson 2-15; G-Andrew Gastley 2-17, Pennington 1-16, Rexroth 1-15, Scott 1-5.