Fill-in quarterback carries Keystone Oaks past South Park in Class 3A thriller
Friday, October 30, 2020 | 11:22 PM
With its star quarterback hobbled by an ankle injury, Keystone Oaks turned to senior Mark Hutchin to spark the offense and erase a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.
Down 24-21, Hutchin took the Wildcat snap and ran to the right side for an 8-yard touchdown with 29 seconds remaining to lead the No. 4 Golden Eagles (5-2) to a 28-24 win over No. 5 South Park (4-4) in the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals at Dormont Stadium.
“This is something you can build off of,” Keystone Oaks coach Greg Parry said. “We have a lot of young kids that were getting time out there. To be able to come back and win a playoff game helps the program.”
The Golden Eagles will move on to face No. 1 Central Valley (8-0) in the semifinals next week. The availability of senior quarterback Logan Shrubb, who didn’t practice all week, is up in the air.
Hutchin’s late score gave Keystone Oaks its first lead of the game. The score was set up by one of the few plays Shrubb was on the field for in the second half.
On a third and long, Shrubb dumped it off to junior running back Kevin Drew for a 16-yard gain to bring the Golden Eagles down to the 8-yard line with a new set of downs. Hutchin scored on the following play.
“We were against the wall there,” Parry said. “Mark was running out of gas. We wanted to use Mark as a decoy. We figured the back would be there coming out.”
Hutchin, who replaced Shrubb behind center at halftime, finished with 206 yards rushing on 26 carries and two touchdowns. Hutchin capped the night off with an interception of South Park sophomore quarterback Harper Conroy in the end zone with five seconds left in the game.
The Eagles were driving in the final seconds and had the ball on the 15-yard line before the interception.
“It means a lot to me to be able to close out the game for KO and the whole community,” Hutchin said. “I give all the credit to my front five and my running backs. I don’t even know some of the run plays. I was learning as we were going. They were carrying me as we were going. They were making all the blocks.”
Down 10-0 at halftime, Keystone Oaks immediately got a jolt in their offense with the change behind center as Hutchin drove the Golden Eagles down the field on their opening drive. Hutchin capped it off with a 2-yard score.
However, South Park quickly responded when senior Xander Robertshaw returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown to restore a 10-point lead for South Park.
Drew scored his first of two touchdowns with a 9-yard scamper. After Conroy sneaked one in from 2 yards out for the Eagles, Drew responded early in the fourth with a 5-yard touchdown run to narrow the deficit back to three points.
After the Drew score, the Golden Eagles forced South Park into a fourth-and-medium, where Conroy rolled out and tried to escape the Keystone Oaks pressure but was sacked at the 45-yard line to provide the Golden Eagles with a short field with 5:14 remaining in the game. Eight plays later, Hutchin scored the game-winning touchdown.
“They were able to make their adjustments at halftime,” South Park coach Marty Rieck said. “I was very proud of how our offense played, especially with giving us a chance to win at the end. Our team didn’t quit.”
Conroy finished with 153 yards on 10 of 18 passing. He threw his only touchdown pass when he connected with junior wide receiver Brendan Wood on a 36-yard strike down the left side to start off the scoring late in the first half.
Junior running back Adam Johnson finished with 98 yards rushing for the Eagles.
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