Blayne Mallow will always remember the play, post pattern to the end zone, the ball is a little high for him but he hauls it in anyway. It’s the final play of the game and his team wins.
This is not the tale of glory for the offense this time, instead it’s the tale for the other guys. The defense can make glorious plays also. And Mallow, a senior linebacker for Riverdale playing in his final high school game, intercepted a Lehigh pass on the game’s final play to preserve a 44-36 victory in the Battle of the Bell Friday night at Lehigh.
The bell-ringing victory allowed Riverdale to keep the trophy for the second consecutive year. The Raiders trail Lehigh 10-9 in the all-time series.
With 11:38 left in the game, Riverdale had just taken a 44-20 lead before the Lightning pulled out all the stops in making a furious comeback.
“It looked good (for Riverdale),” Riverdale coach Tom Roszell said. “But I have to tip my cap to Lehigh they made a great comeback.”
It started when Lehigh senior quarterback Matthew Yzaguirre hit Andre Thomas-Cobb on a 45-yard pass, the subsequent 2-point conversion made it 44-28 with 7:26 left.
The Lightning picked up the onside kick and again it was Yzaguirre to Thomas-Cobb for the score and adding a 2-point conversion to make it 44-36 with 5:28 left in the game.
Despite a pooch kick recovered by Riverdale, the Raiders were unable to grind out the yards needed for a first down and had to punt the ball back to Lehigh.
The Lightning started on their own 30 and used 16 plays to drive 51 yards — converting two fourth and long situations — to reach the Riverdale 19 with 2 seconds left. That’s when Mallow came up big for the Raiders.
Riverdale looked to pull away in the first half scoring on each of its seven possessions to build a 37-20 lead at the half. The Raiders also rolled up 305 total yards in the first half and ran for 262 yards. However, the Lehigh defense held the Raiders to 39 yards on the ground in the second half.
But both teams slowed in the third quarter and neither could crack the goal line until Tony Alexander grabbed a Jesse Lighthall pass at the start of the fourth quarter.
Van Edwards led Riverdale with 109 yards rushing on 19 carries and scored twice. Yzaguirre was 18 of 36 for 229 yards with three touchdowns – all to Thomas-Cobb.
R: Jason Blair 62 run (kick failed)
L: Andre Thomas-Cobb 36 pass from Matthew Yzaguirre (kick blocked)
R:Van Edwards 9 run (Brian Abrams kick)
R: Edwards 3 run (Abrams kick)
L: Henry Shackleford 13 run (kick blocked)
R: Malcolm Smith 30 pass from Jesse Lighthall (Abrams kick)
L: Malik Douglas 57 run (Yzaguirre run)
R: Austin Alphonso 5 run (Abrams kick)
R: Abrams 27 FG
R: Tony Alexander 11 pass from Lighthall (Abrams kick)
L: Thomas-Cobb 45 pass from Yzaguirre (Yzaguirre run)
L: Thomas-Cobb 26 pass from Yzaguirre (Yzaguirre run)