Warriors Contribute to New York's Wild Big 30 Comeback Tie (Video)

OTH: New York's fourth-quarter rally forces tie

BRADFORD, Pa. — As New York’s players planned their post-game celebration, Pennsylvania’s walked off Parkway Field with mixed feelings.

Neither state lost Saturday night’s 46th annual Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic. But New York sure felt more like the winner thanks to a 21-point fourth-quarter rally that stunned the Keystone State.

What resulted was the third tie in Charities Classic history, 27-27, and first draw since 1996.

“Obviously you want to come out with the true victory,” said New York coach Jehuu Caulcrick of Southwestern, “but I’m just proud of these guys.”

New York snapped a three-year Pennsy win streak and maintained its all-time series lead, 22-21-3.

“We all went in the locker room (at halftime) and we said, ‘There’s no regrets here,’” said Pioneer quarterback Nick Rinker, who engineered an unconventional comeback. “This is our last time we’ll ever get to play together, and we left it all on the field.”

Indeed, New York had three possessions with a chance to take the lead in the final four minutes. The last came after Tyler Hedlund (Salamanca) returned an interception 20 yards to the Pennsy 30. On the game’s final play, Allegany-Limestone’s Conner Golley lined up for a 47-yard field goal, but the kick fell short.

That didn’t diminish New York’s efforts. Pennsylvania led 27-6 after three quarters. New York cut the lead from three possessions to one in a span of less than three minutes.

Rinker made it possible, going 6-of-17 passing for 181 yards and three touchdowns. His three TDs tied a game record previously shared by four players.

The 6-foot-3 signal-caller benefitted from extended time, playing the final seven series after Salamanca’s Zariah Armstrong suffered an injury when Pennsylvania’s Chris Connelly (Otto-Eldred) tackled him at the 3-yard line to save a touchdown on a fourth-down play late in the third quarter.

“He was able to play a bunch of series in a row, he got some rhythm, and he caught fire,” said Pennsylvania coach Jeff Puglio of Bradford. “He really was the difference maker. Defensively, we kind of let him out. He scrambled and we kind of got out of position a few times, our ends weren’t in contain enough to kind of give him the scrambles that he got and extend drives. But he got a hot hand. The rhythm that he was able to get by playing constantly benefited them. That’s football, though. Injuries happen, and that was an opportunistic one for him.”

Rinker agreed.

“That helped me get in sync, definitely,” he said. “(Playing) every other drive with like 15 minutes of down time was making my arm cold. When I got in there every single time, I started getting in sync a little more, my arm stayed warm.”

After Connelly’s stop of Armstrong near the goal line, Pennsylvania went up 27-6 when Ridgway’s Cole Secco ripped off a 65-yard TD run. He finished with 124 yards on eight carries.

Rinker followed with a 2-yard scoring run. After Pennsylvania’s next drive stalled, punter Blake Kinner bobbled the snap and was dropped for a 13-yard loss to the Pennsy 29. New York scored on the next play when Cuba-Rushford’s DeAndre Ahrens caught his first of two touchdowns from Rinker.

The game was marred by penalties — 13 on Pennsylvania for 120 yards and nine on New York for 97 yards. The most dubious came on Pennsylvania with under six minutes remaining during New York’s game-tying drive. A sideline violation negated a would-be fumble recovery by Devin McGrath (St. Marys) at midfield.

“Which is unfortunate because usually you get a warning, and you let me take a chance at controlling that,” Puglio said. “It didn’t happen there. They gave us the penalty ...”

And New York scored three plays later when Rinker connected with Ahrens from 25 yards out. A halfback pass from Salamanca’s Ira John to Allegany-Limestone’s Connor Parsons for a two-point conversion tied the game with 4:31 left.

Of the penalties in general, Puglio said, “I’ve seen Big 30 games. You’ve got to manage the personal fouls. You’re going to have them — it’s feisty, it’s heated, it’s a rivalry. We had way too many personal fouls in that second half. It killed drives for us, and it boosted drives for them. We played that whole fourth quarter on the other end of the field. Penalties.”

In the fourth, Pennsylvania punted three times, fumbled and threw an interception.

New York, meanwhile, overcame a rough start offensively. It lost fumbles on its first two drives, the second of which Connelly recovered at the New York 17, leading to a 12-yard TD run by Bradford’s Donny Pattison.

New York had only two first downs and 118 yards of offense in the first half — but 77 came on a touchdown reception by Southwestern’s Alex Card.

“We had adversity, we turned the ball over several times,” Caulcrick said. “We shot ourselves — we had a lot of self-inflicted wounds. Going into the half, we had to play smart football, we had to play together, and I think in the second half we battled and we did that.

“Nick (Rinker) did a great job. ... All along he’s like, ‘Hey, Coach, count on me, I’ll take this game over,’ and he did that.”

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