BRANDYWINE HUNDRED – William Penn only gained 17 yards of total offense in the second half on Saturday.
The Colonials won because they wouldn’t let Concord gain 1 more yard in the final seconds.
William Penn stopped Raiders quarterback Sean Doogan inches short of the goal line with 21.7 seconds remaining to preserve a 14-7 victory in a defensive slugfest at Raiders Stadium.
“On the board, we put it was going to be a 48-minute war,” Colonials coach Marvin Dooley said. “It took 47 minutes and 55 seconds.”
Actually, it was 47 minutes, 38.3 seconds, but who’s counting? William Penn, ranked fourth statewide in Division I, won its fifth straight game and improved to 6-1 overall, 5-1 in Blue Hen Flight A. Fifth-ranked Concord lost its second straight and slipped to 5-2, 4-1.
“We’ve kind of been written off a little bit,” Dooley said. “You don’t hear anything about us. It’s all Middletown, Sallies and Concord. We weren’t in the mix.
“I’m proud of my guys. They stayed together as a team, and this was a 55-man win today.”
The Colonials forced a three-and-out to start the game, then scored on their fourth play from scrimmage. Isaiah Gaynor bolted 52 yards for a 7-0 lead with 8:42 left in the first quarter.
William Penn’s next drive ended on downs at the Raiders 10, but Concord couldn’t move and a short punt set up the Colonials at the Raiders 36. A holding penalty pushed them back a bit, but Lance Edwards broke free on a counter play for a 40-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
“My linemen did a great job blocking, and there was all this green grass in front of me,” Edwards said. “I’ve got to give that to my linemen.”
Zachariah Burton intercepted a pass for William Penn with 1:19 left in the half. But Jared Hill returned the favor with a Concord pick on the next play, returning it 21 yards to the Colonials 29. A 25-yard pass from Doogan to Hill gave the Raiders first-and-goal, and Doogan’s 1-yard plunge pulled the Raiders within 14-7 with 22.9 seconds left in the half.
“I got greedy. That was on me,” Dooley said of Hill’s interception. “I was hoping we could hit a slant, catch them sleeping. We ended up giving them a touchdown before the half.”
Neither team could gain much offensive traction in the second half, as they combined to punt six times. A fumbled snap pushed the Colonials back to their own 9, and a short punt gave Concord a final chance from the Colonials 38 with 3:22 to play.
On fourth-and-2 from the 30, the Raiders’ Kyle Batch broke a tackle and went 27 yards to the 3. But the William Penn defense had more to give.
Deondre’ Boyd broke through to drop Concord’s Byron Simpson for a 2-yard loss. Then Edwards stepped up to fell Avery Roberts for another 2-yard loss back to the 7. Doogan kept around the left side and dove to the 1 on third down.
Then Doogan disappeared into a pile of bodies on the fourth-down quarterback sneak. After 20 seconds of pushing and straining, the officials ruled him to be inches short.
“I couldn’t see anything. I was just praying,” Dooley said. “I was just praying he wasn’t in. That’s just a gamble, and that’s hard for an official. I’m just glad he was stopped.”
The Colonials finished with 183 yards of total offense, while the Raiders had 177. Gaynor cranked out 75 yards on just five carries for William Penn. Batch led Concord with 50 yards on 16 tough carries.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ