An amazing chapter in Indiana County sports history came to a close last night as the Penns Manor Comets fell to Bishop McCort in the District 6 playoffs, 32-29. Record-breaking quarterback Danny Ferens battled illness and an aggressive McCort defense and was nearly able to pull it out at the end, as he ran for 273 yards and three touchdowns, threw for another score, and almost pulled off a miraculous comeback at the very end of the game.
McCort scored first, with an opening drive capped by a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Spangler from Zaine Tomkowski, who threw for over 200 yards for the Crushers, with two TDs and he also ran for two. The extra point was missed and the Comets answered with a one-play spectacular run, Ferens darting around the left side, leaping into a pile of tacklers and emerging on the other side to outrace the defense 78 yards for a touchdown. Penns Manor then made the extra point to lead it 7-6 and they scored again on their next drive, with Ferens bulling in from a yard out to make it 14-6.
Tomkowski pulled McCort to within two points with a 2-yard run on 4th down, but the two-point conversion failed and at the half, Penns Manor led, 14-12.
McCort scored twice in the third quarter, converting a fumble into points with a 44-yard drive and a Tomkowski 1-yard run to retake the lead, 8-14. Then Spangler got behind the secondary and caught a 67-yard touchdown pass and it was suddenly 25-14 Crushers, and it became evident that neither team was going to have much success stopping the other. Ferens led Penns Manor down the field, using running back Cody Bytner to offset his own runs, and he answered with a 1-yard scoring run followed by a two-point conversion that made it 25-22 McCort.
The Crushers came right back and got a third-down 18-yard pass to Ryan Siwy, and it was 32-22. Ferens led the Comets down the field yet again and scrambled before finding Ryan Gromley open for a 15 yard touchdown pass, but time was running out, and with the Comets down three it looked very bad. But Ferens intercepted a fourth-down pass and returned it to the McCort 48, where he slipped and fell, and when a McCort player speared him as he lay on the field, it looked like Penns Manor could pull some magic out of their Comets helmets. But the penalty was not called. Still, Ferens drove for a third-and-long first down to the 31 yard line and hurried his team to the line of scrimmage. But his long pass for Corey Brown in the end zone was picked off and Bishop McCort was able to barely hold on for the victory.
Penns Manor finishes 9-2 and Ferens and his senior teammates end a remarkable run, one of the best in Indiana County sports history.