York edges rival Tabb 31-27 on late touchdown pass

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The 45-year-old York-Tabb rivalry displayed more football talent 30 years ago, but the past decade has featured several of the most memorable games. The latest renewal at Bailey Field on Friday produced six lead changes as York used a late touchdown pass to turn back upset minded Tabb 31-27.

The game-winning score was John-Michael Cassidy’s 26-yard touchdown pass on third-and-17 with 1 minute, 15 seconds to play. Adam Lytle’s twin, Cole Lytle, intercepted a pass three plays later to clinch the Bay Rivers District victory for the Falcons.

“That’s any little kid’s dream, to throw the winning touchdown pass,” said Cassidy, a running back who took a direct snap on the play. “Adam ran a slow-go fade route and I saw the safety bite a little bit because we usually run the sweep out of that formation.

“I put it up and Adam did what he does best.”

But it wasn’t easy for Adam Lytle who caught the ball on his finger tips on the run and barely stayed inside the pylone for the score.

“My heart was beating so fast,” he said. “It was like things were happening in slow motion, because I barely reached out and caught the ball.

“I thought I was going to run out of bounds, but the defensive back’s hit kept me in.”

It was a bitter ending for the Tigers (0-3, 0-2 district), whose 291 yards – including 205 rushing and two touchdowns by Jimmie Simmons – more than doubled York’s 147. But special teams hurt the Tigers badly.

York (3-0, 2-0) scored on Josh Marteniez’s 69-yard kickoff return to start the game and scored two more touchdowns quickly after blocking Tabb punts. Following Marteniez’s return, Cassidy ran for two points to give York and 8-0 lead.

The Tigers retaliated via Alec Mahar’s nicely thrown 15-yard touchdown pass to Zach Coldsnow and Simmons 4-yard run to go ahead 13-8 in the second quarter. York closed the gap to 13-10 late in the first half with its third safety in as many games. Marteniez made the tackle of Simmons in the end zone two plays after Cassidy’s punt pinned Tabb inside its own 1 yard line.

The rivals spent the second half trading leads. Two plays after Tri Cartwright blocked a Tabb punt, Cole Lytle ran 6 yards to give York a 16-13 lead.

Tyrese Pettaway’s recovery fumble inside the York 5 set up Mahar’s 1-yard TD sneak at Tabb retook the lead 20-16 late in the third quarter. Another York punt block, this time by JT Andreson, gave the Falcons the ball at the Tabb 8 early in the fourth quarter. Cassidy ran 4 yards for a touchdown two plays later to give York a 23-20 lead.

Simmons broke for a 67-yard touchdown run off of left tackle on the first play after the kickoff to put the Tigers back on top 27-23 with 8:50 remaining. Following an exchange of punt, the dormant York passing game came to life to settle the issue.

On third-and-12 at his own 29, York quarterback Ramsey Hayyat scrambled away from pressure and completed a 41-yard pass to Cartwright at the Tabb 30. That paved the way for Cassidy’s pass to Adam Lytle that gave York its first 3-0 start in five years.

“Tabb is our big York County rival and they’re always tough, but we came out with the win,” Cassidy said.

O’Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963 and follow on Twitter @MartyOBrienDP

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