Nancy Haggerty’s story on Panas, which strengthened its playoff possibilities with a strong second half:
CORTLANDT MANOR — For entertainment value, nothing beats the last minute of the first half.
But, clearly, Panas wasn’t that amused.
The host Panthers, who entered the third quarter in a scoreless tie with Eastchester Friday night that included one crazy play after another, scored three second-half touchdowns en route to a 21-7 win.
In a game of exclamation points, senior running back John Brophy had more than his share, rushing for 206 yards, including an 11-yard TD, but also fumbling on the Eagles 8 late in the fourth quarter.
That miscue turned into seven points for Eastchester on the next play as, nearly sacked, Eagles QB Anthony Gallucci broke free on a 92-yard touchdown run.
That cut the Panthers’ lead to only seven, but big runs by Brophy put the ball back deep into Eagles territory and Tyler Mason snagged his second TD pass of the game from Liam Hagens — this one for 20 yards — to seal the win with 1:01 to play.
Mason’s earlier touchdown grab was of 25 yards with 10:40 left in the fourth.
Brophy, who spoke of going to sectionals, credited fullback Mike Zingaro and his offensive line with making holes for him.
But the truth is the senior did a lot of sidestepping on his own, going inside, then cutting outside for big gains.
Brophy, who sported a bloody forehead and aptly termed himself a workhorse, also praised his squad’s wide receiving corps, terming it “amazing.”
Of the halftime discussion, he said, “I was telling my whole team they gotta stay focused.”
That might have been easier said than done following the whacky closing minute to the first half.
It included Panas (4-1) gaining 37 yards on a trick pass play with Mason lateraling to Russell Mlynar down to the Eastchester 8.
But three plays and no gain later, Tim McCauley’s field-goal try was blocked. Stefano Scarpa picked it up and rabbited all the way down to the Panas 36 with 33.8 seconds left.
Panas’ Trey Hodge picked Gallucci off at the 3 but was flagged for interference. A Panas bench unsportsmanlike pnealty then put the ball on the Panas 6 with 18.6 seconds. A run took the ball to the Panas 2 with 12 seconds left but, in keeping with the craziness, Gallucci fumbled while dropping back to pass.