Points were hard to come by on Friday night at Western Regional Park, but Manchester Valley answered when it needed it the most.
Down 6-0 with a little more than five minutes remaining, Dallas Engel tossed up a pinpoint fade to the left corner of the end zone. Junior wide receiver Joshua Chanaud hauled in the catch for a 17-yard touchdown.
Dayne Koontz’s extra point gave Man Valley a one-point lead, which would prove to be the difference in a 7-6 win over Southern of Anne Arundel County — featuring one of the crazier endings a high school game could provide.
Facing fourth-and 15 on the 50-yard line with only seconds left in regulation, a desperation heave by Bulldogs senior quarterback Austin Buiniskis fell incomplete as the opposing crowd and players erupted in celebration.
However, a pass interference penalty gave Southern life at the Man Valley 35-yard line with an untimed down.
The Bulldogs elected to attempt a 47-yard field goal, which was blocked by Evan Bare to seal the thrilling finish.
Man Valley came into the game 0-2 with losses to Williamsport and North Hagerstown, but the Mavs’ record could have very well been the opposite. The losses came by a combined 10 points.
This time, a close decision fell their way.
A scoreless half saw five punts as both sides traded possessions with little success. The Mavs’ best scoring opportunity came on an 11-play drive into the red zone, but senior Engel was intercepted by a diving Casey Marshall on third down.
Engel finished 15-of-23 for 100 passing yards (unofficial) 0one touchdown and two interceptions.
One possession later, senior running back Brandon Yingling powered a Man Valley drive down to the Southern 33-yard line — setting up a long field-goal try for senior kicker Dayne Koontz on fourth down.
But a penalty backed up the special teams unit back five yards, forcing MV to punt and erasing a crucial scoring opportunity.
A fast-paced third quarter featured more of the same until Engel sailed a ball over the middle of the field into the hands of Marshall — his second interception on the night.
Southern took the ensuing drive 58 yards down the field, finished off by a 3-yard touchdown run from Buiniskis.
The Bulldogs took a 6-0 lead after the extra point was blocked.
Manchester Valley allowed just six points in a 14-6 victory over Southern last season and replicated the same defensive performance. The Mavs forced five punts Friday.
Yingling entered the matchup as one of Carroll County’s top rushers, totaling 195 yards on the ground through two games — capped by a 145-yard performance on 29 carries last week against North Hagerstown.
He saw the bulk of the run production again Friday and was called on 20 times, totaling 70 yards on the ground.
Friday’s game was slated to be a home game for Man Valley but heavy rains forced the Mavericks, among two other county teams, to travel to Western Regional Park in Woodbine.
It was preceded by a matchup between South Carroll and South Hagerstown.
The Mavericks head back home next Friday and begin Carroll County Athletic League play against Westminster.
Southern 0 0 0 6 — 6
Manchester Valley 0 0 0 7 — 7
S-Austin Buiniskis 3 run (kick blocked)
MV-Joshua Chanaud 17 pass from Dallas Engel (Dayne Koontz kick)