By TOM WILLIAMS
James Rice and Travis Stoerrle have both made some big tackles this season. But the one they will remember most will be the last one – when they teamed to stop Pleasantville’s Mohamed Toure on the final play of today’s Thanksgiving rivalry game with Pleasantville to preserve a 34-32 Ocean City victory.
OCHS had come from behind – once trailing 20-7 – to take a 34-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter. But Pleasantville quarterback Sahmir Jones, a transfer from Mainland, connected with Toure (four catches, 103 yards) for a TD that cut the Raiders’ lead to eight points.
Later in the final quarter, after an Ocean City fake punt failed to get a first down, Pleasantville got the ball back on the OCHS 43. Jones hit Toure for 29 yards to the 14 and the Greyhounds got another first down on the three, calling time out with nine seconds left. Smith rolled out and hit Brian Stalworth in the back corner of the end zone to make it 34-32 with no time left on the clock.
Pleasantville would need the two-point conversion to tie the game.
The snap was a little high but Jones controlled the ball and gave it to Toure. He fired off left guard but Stoerrle hit him from one side and Rice from the other. It was close, but the officials waved the attempt unsuccessful and set off a big celebration.
“We gave our punter (Brandon Lashley) the option to run if he saw something,” said OCHS coach Kevin Smith. “There wasn’t much time left so we figured we could stop them if we didn’t get the first down. We were right – by two inches.”
Jones (14 for 27, 194 yards) threw three TD passes in the game (he had 14 this season) including a four-yarder to Le’quai Athill to give the Greyhounds a 7-0 lead. Ocean City tied it when Harry Pfeifle scored from four yards out early in the second period. Athill scored again from two yards away and Toure brought back an interception 35 yards to give Pleasantville that 20-7 lead. But Pfeifle (18 carries, 69 yards) scored his 16th touchdown of the season from five yards away and then hit Bob Shallcross on a 23 yard TD pass to send the game to halftime, tied 20-20.
Issac Robertson (eight carries, 72 yards), who also intercepted a pass to set up a TD, scored his 11th touchdown in the third quarter from 29 yards away and Liam Bergman (26 carries, 116 yards) went over from eight yards away to give Ocean City the 34-20 lead before Pleasantville’s final threat.
The win gave the Raiders a 50-40 lead in the all-time series and was their fourth straight over the Greyhounds. Both teams finished with 7-3 records – Pleasantville’s best record since 1999, Ocean City’s since 2001.
The Raiders will keep the Mike Slaveski-Bob Thomas Memorial Trophy for another year and they did it, as their coach said, by inches.
EXTRA POINTS: … the interception return TD by Mohamed Toure was his second defensive touchdown of the season, tied for the most by a Cape-Atlantic League player … Keith Larkin kicked four extra points, giving him 31 for the season – the third most by an Ocean City kicker, behind Matt Daher (36 in 1995) and Dan Kennard (34 in 1999) … Travis Stoerrle made 10 tackles for OCHS, James Rice eight and Bill Kroeger seven. Two of Kroeger’s tackles were sacks … three of the five games today that involved CAL teams came down to the wire. In addition to the Raiders’ win, Atlantic City upset Holy Spirit, 36-32, by stopping the Spartans with 34 seconds left, and Lower Cape May surprised Middle Township, 21-20, scoring the seven winning points in the final 20 seconds of the game … a full box score and complete OCHS season stats are available at http://www.OceanCitySports.com …