Western Tech may only have 23 players on its roster, with several playing both ways, but the Wolverines proved they were in shape Friday night as they outlasted host Lansdowne, 36-28, in double overtime.
On the first possession of the second overtime period, Western Tech’s Tino Mangwende scored on a 5-yard run and then also ran in the two-point conversion.
Lansdowne had one last chance to answer from the 10-yard line in the second overtime. Western Tech’s Airik Jenkins stuffed Karon Jett for a 2-yard loss on first down. After an offsides penalty moved the ball to the seven, Jenkins stopped Jett again and shortly after — following two incompletions — the Western Tech players celebrated the team’s third straight win after opening with two losses.
“They believe in each other,” Western Tech coach Damon Williams said. “We had a slow start the first two games, but they came together. They’ve still got some work to do, but they are getting better.”
Jenkins was stellar on both lines, along with Ghaffar Kukoyi and Jaelyn Cuyler.
Mangwende, who played safety and running back, made most of the big plays for the Wolverines offense. He was the game’s leading rusher with 136 yards on 20 carries.
His longest gain of the night came on a pass play after Lansdowne had taken a 20-14 lead on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Zach Norris to DeVontay McLaughlin and two-point conversion run by Norris with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter.
On the next play, Mangwende streaked out of the backfield and caught a 42-yard pass down the middle from Ahmed Outbid to move the ball to the Lansdowne 24-yard line.
“That was a new formation and we tried it out,” Mangwende said. “We really haven’t run it that much and we ran it and we executed that play very well.”
Four plays later, after a 16-yard run by Mangwende, Outbid scored from a yard out to tie the game at 20-20.
An incompletion on the conversion attempt sent the game to overtime.
In the first overtime, Norris scored on a 1-yard sneak and he passed to McLaughlin for the conversion and a 28-20 lead.
Western Tech tied it on a 1-yard TD pass from Outbid to Mangwende and conversion run by Elijah White.
Western Tech finished with 183 yards rushing and 132 yards passing and it built a 14-6 halftime lead.
The Wolverines struck first on a 34-yard TD pass from Outbid to White with 7:13 left in the first quarter. Outbid’s run made it 8-0.
The Vikings got interceptions from Karon Burnett and Colin Daughaday and strong tackling from Karon Jett to stay close and they finally got on the board on a 42-yard touchdown run by Harley Young, making it 8-6 with 10:56 left in the half.
Mangwende scored from 13 yards out for the Wolverines second touchdown of the first half.
Lansdowne responded with a 10-play, 48-yard drive to open the second half and it culminated in a 21-yard touchdown strike from Norris to Richard Gross with 7:03 left in the third quarter and the Vikings trailed 14-12.
Lansdowne’s go-ahead drive lasted 14 plays, but they also lost running back Lorenzo Tippins, who was taken away by ambulance with a knee injury.
Tippins didn’t get a carry in the first half, but ran for 22 yards on six carries in the second half.
Jett and Young led the Vikings with 41 yards each and Norris completed 4 of 5 passes for 52 yards in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.
“It was an amazing game, one of the best ones I’ve been a part of to tell you the truth,” said Lansdowne first-year coach Rick Armijo, whose Vikings had won back-to-back games after opening with two losses.
The wins came against Loch Raven, 12-2, and Chesapeake, 8-6.
“With the mentality of our kids, it’s that they have an opportunity to put themselves in a place to win,” Armijo said. “We will be successful. We converted a few third and longs tonight with some passes and that’s all believing in the quarterback and the quarterback believing in the receivers. It’s just buying into a system and it’s taken us a while, but we are getting there.”
Western Tech senior Mangwende was just glad to see his team turn it around after the rough start.
“It felt great,” he said. “Before the season started everybody was doubting Western Tech, we are going to be scheduled for homecoming, and we came out here and put up 36 points. Every touchdown felt great. We stayed in that game. We kept our heads up and we didn’t let nothing stop us.”
Even if it meant playing double overtime with a small squad.
“We do a lot of conditioning, We condition the heck out of these guys,” coach Williams said.
Two-way lineman Jenkins, who injured his leg on the Wolverines’ final defensive series but didn’t come out, wasn’t complaining as he celebrated with his shirt off.
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“All the conditioning we do in practice, I feel great,” Jenkins said.