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PURCHASE LINE — Curwensville posted 17 third-quarter points in a 24-22 victory over Purchase Line on Friday night at Barry T. Madill Field in a rare non-conference game between the two neighboring school districts, the first in more than 50 years.

Junior quarterback Dan McGarry shook off two first-half interceptions and completed 18 of 33 passes, including a long second-quarter bomb to Ty Terry from 59 yards to get on the scoreboard first.

“In the past, the two interceptions may have bothered Danny,” Curwensville coach Jim Thompson said. “But I am really proud of the way he fought back and forgot about the turnovers and helped us pick up a big win.”

Terry and Jake Mullins each caught six passes, Terry for 127 yards and Mullins for 107.

Curwensville held the Red Dragons scoreless over the first 24 minutes and did not find the end zone until the 3:35 mark in the second quarter with the McGarry-to-Terry combination. Jake Mullins was effective in special teams as well, adding the first of his three extra points to bring the half time score to 7-0.

The first half did not have much in the way of scoring, and although the Tide dominated in first-half stats, both teams were slow out of the gate.

“I was actually impressed with the way our guys stayed with it tonight,” Tide coach Jim Thompson said. “It’s hard to keep the kids attention sometimes when you miss a game and all you have is practice, but I liked how they kept it all together.”

Curwensville totaled 177 total yards to Purchase Line’s 68 over the first two quarters and led in total first downs 6-2.

“Our defensive coordinator put together a great game plan,” Thompson said. “We are always going to be undersized, but we can’t use it as an excuse. Our kids know that by now and we have to play hard, especially on defense.”

In addition to McGarry’s two picks, the Tide also turned the ball over on a fumble right before halftime.

Purchase Line’s Austin Chambers and John Elick were on the receiving end of McGarry’s first-half interceptions; however, the Red Dragons couldn’t turn any of the three first half turnovers into any points.

“It’s tough to prepare with a group of kids all week and then hours before the game, things can change on us,” Red Dragons coach Matt Falisec said. “You have to be at practice all week, but we had some guys out, some show up last minute, forcing us to change our lineup.

“Curwensville is a passing team, and they pass the ball well, but it is tough with kids coming and going for all different types of reasons and with not having the same group of guys that we prepared with all throughout the week.”

Curwensville’s Thad Butler found the end zone on a 14-yard run along the visiting sideline on the Tide’s first second-half possession, which took only four plays and covered 58 yards. Mullins drilled the PAT for a 14-0 lead with 11:30 remaining in the second half.

The Red Dragons began at their own 20-yard line after Mullins drilled one of his five touchbacks through the end zone. Purchase Line effectively answered on their eight-play, 80-yard drive with John Elick finding running back Brady Syster for a 9-yard touchdown with 8:21 remaining. A Tide penalty on the PAT moved the ball to the 1-yard line, where Jayce Brooks slammed the two-point conversion in to cut the lead to 14-8.

Mullins continued his impressive night on Curwensville’s next possession with a 20-yard field goal to give the Tide a two-score lead 17-8 with less than six minutes to play in the third quarter.

The Tide used a 47-yard pass play from McGarry to Andrew Freyer to advance the ball to the Red Dragons 1-yard line, but the home team held on three consecutive plays before Mullins’ field goal.

After Curwensville scored on a pass, a run and field goal, the Tide added a defensive touchdown with 4:59 remaining in the third quarter when Blaine Witherite recovered a fumble in the end zone. After Mullins’ PAT, the Tide held a 24-8 advantage.

“We had some guys banged up and moving around playing some different positions, but the defense stepped up,” Thompson said.

The Red Dragons stormed back with two fourth-quarter touchdowns to make it interesting late.

After Mullins coughed up a fumble after a pass from McGarry, Curwensville was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and gave Purchase Line field position at the Tide 47. Eight plays later, Elick scored from 8 yards and added the two-point conversion to move the score to 24-16 with 6:48 to play.

Curwensville was forced to punt on its next possession, and the Red Dragons marched down the field on six plays, with Elick connecting with Jayce Brooks from 13 yards away to bring the Dragons to within a two-point conversion of a tie. Elick’s option attempt was turned away by a host of Tide defenders to keep the score 24-22.

Curwensville recovered the onside kick and add a couple first downs to end the game.

“In the first half, we didn’t get a push at all,” Falisec said. “We had turnovers and created nothing off of them.” “The second half, we didn’t really adjust too much. I think we just decided to start blocking better, running better, and playing better. I don’t know.”

In addition to McGarry’s 292 passing yards, the Tide added 64 net rushing yards totaling 356.

With the Red Dragons’ late push, they were able to accumulate 290 total yards: 186 on the ground and 104 passing.

Purchase Line fullback Jayce Brooks led their attack with 81 yards on 13 attempts. Elick added 57 rushing on eight carries. He also was 13-for-19 for 104 yards. Austin Chambers was his favorite target with eight receptions for 55 yards.

Purchase Line gets ready to face the elite of the Heritage Conference, next week at Homer-Center and the following week against Cambria Heights.

“For us to compete these next two weeks, we have to improve up front,” Falisec said. “We are not just going to be able to line up and pound teams, we have to get better up front with execution.”