Truman had just taken a 2221 lead with 30 seconds left when Owen Poulson capped a long drive by banging his way in from nine yards out, and then completed a two-point conversion to take the lead. But after West took the kickoff at its own 48yard line, Ryan Wetzel hit Jackson Luneberg for 31 yards to the Tigers’ 22-yard line. That set up Byrnes’ heroics and set off a wild celebration at Kottmeyer.
“We just decided that our season was not going to be over,” Wetzel said. “And on that last pass I just threw it up and hoped Danny or Jackson would come down with it and Jackson made a great catch.”
Truman (10-2) started the game like it was going to blow the Whippets (11-1) off the field. The Tigers used their vaunted Wing-T to perfection and rolled up 258 rushing yards in the first half, and had 40 offensive plays to the Whippets’ nine in the opening half. Downingtown West did not have a first down in the first half, but the West defense made two big stops late in the second quarter to give the Whippets some much-needed confidence going into the second half. Truman rushed the ball for 331 yards on the night compared to the Whippets’ Downingtown West quarterback Ryan Wetzel throws during Friday night’s win over Harry S. Truman. 93 yards on the ground.
With Truman still holding a 14-0 lead going into the fourth quarter, West stormed back to score 21 unanswered points and take a 21-14 lead with just 3:48 to play. The Whippets scored a 51yard touchdown on a tipped pass from Wetzel to Byrnes for their second score, tying the game at 14-14. After the ensuing kickoff, Truman went three and out and went into punt formation. But the Tigers’ punter fumbled the ball, and after a wild scramble, Tyler Alston fell on the ball in the end zone for a 21-14 West lead.
“On the second touchdown it looked like the defender was going to pick the ball off but I tried to keep my concentration and I got the ball and just kept running,” Byrnes said. “I was lucky the ball was slippery and he did not hang on.”
With Truman down, 21-14, and less than four minutes to play, the Tigers went on a 68-yard, 10-play drive to crawl within one point of the Whippets. Poulson barreled in from nine yards out to make it a 21-20 game. After a timeout, the Tigers rolled quarterback Dylan Snelling out to the right, and he hit a wide open Poulson in the end zone for the two-point conversion, and a 22-21 lead with 30 seconds to play.
But the Whippets caught a break as a 15-yard celebration penalty on the Tigers was assessed on the kickoff, and the Whippets took over at their own 48-yard line. After Wetzel’s pass to Luneberg, West called a timeout ato set up the field goal. With three seconds to play, Byrnes drilled the 39 yard kick, which appeared like it would have been good from 50 yards.
“What can I say about these kids,” West head coach Mike Milano said. “I am so proud of these guys. We were getting our butts kicked at halftime and these guys kept battling. These kids a few weeks ago when Will Howard went down with an injury and a bad loss to Coatesville. But, they have battled back and they continue to play their butts off and tonight was no different.”