BY JOSH WEIR
Repository sports writer
CANTON If McKinley head coach Todd Filtz has a mantra, it probably is what he said shortly after the Bulldogs’ thrilling 13-10 win Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium.
“Play 48 minutes,” Filtz said. “Not one second less.”
Down 10-7, McKinley ran a fake field goal. Holder Chris Prowell-White rolled to his right and hit Nick Faulkner for a 16-yard touchdown pass as time expired to topple the rival Golden Eagles and keep the Bulldogs undefeated.
The remarkable play snapped McKinley’s two-game losing streak to GlenOak and gave the Bulldogs — ranked fifth in the state in Division I — a win on a night Eric Glover-Williams and their offense were completely stonewalled by the Golden Eagles.
“We play to win,” Filtz said. “They know that’s my mentality. I know that’s their mentality.”
VIDEO: Highlights & interviews from the game
The Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0) struggled to execute anything, but they executed the final play perfectly.
Prowell-White read the rush of GlenOak, rolled to the correct side and threw a perfect pass to Faulker, who had a step on his defender.
McKinley has never run the play in a game but practices it on a weekly basis, said Prowell-White, a senior receiver.
“I’ve never thrown the ball to Faulkner in practice,” he said with a laugh, adding that he usually goes to his other option, Maurice Horner.
Faulkner, an athletic defensive end by trade, felt like the ball was in the air for an eternity.
“You don’t really expect to have to do that,” he said. “But the situation came, and it worked. It’s unexplainable.”
In a season of what ifs and almosts, GlenOak got another punch to the gut. The Golden Eagles’ four losses have come by a combined eight points. A win Saturday would have put GlenOak (3-4, 1-2) back in the Federal League race and breathed new life into its playoff chances.
“I really don’t know what to say,” GlenOak head coach Scott Garcia said after his team lost its third straight game. “Our kids played their asses off tonight. I’m proud of them. You go back through our season, we’re about four plays away from being 7-0. The effort was there. You’ve got to give (McKinley) credit. They made a play at the end.”
McKinley played three and half quarters of sloppy, uninspired football on the offensive end. The defense gave the Bulldogs the jolt of life it needed.
With GlenOak driving inside McKinley’s 10 for a potential game-clinching score with less than four minutes left, the Golden Eagles coughed up the football. McKinley’s Darius Smothers scooped it up and ran 95 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Bulldogs’ deficit to 10-7 with 3:09 left.
McKinley forced a quick three and out and got the ball back at its own 35 with 2:04 left. The Bulldogs drove to the GlenOak 16 with eight seconds left before burning their last timeout.
Filtz called for the fake, then had to sit through GlenOak calling two ensuing timeouts.
Did he ever second-guess himself?
“I was trying to talk to people to keep my mind off of it to tell you the truth,” Filtz said. “But it was good to see (GlenOak’s) set. We were sticking with the plan. We were running that fake no matter what.”
The fantastic finish capped an ugly, hard-hitting game that saw 18 combined penalties and little offense.
GlenOak’s Kyle Hall picked off a McKinley pass at the 11 and returned it 70 yards late in the first half. It was the junior’s team-high fourth interception.
Four plays later, GlenOak’s Andrew George booted a 28-yard field goal with 55 seconds left in the half for a 3-0 lead.
GlenOak couldn’t handle a pooch kick on the second-half kickoff. James Smith recovered at the 17 for McKinley.
After the Bulldogs gained zero yards in three plays, they settled for a 34-yard field goal try. But GlenOak’s Zack Meronoff knifed in and swallowed up the attempt, nearly taking it off Austin Shaheen’s foot.
“We just weren’t playing up to our abilities,” Prowell-White said. “We can’t play to the level of our opponents. If we played to our level, we’d dominate every game.”
Later in the third quarter, GlenOak’s Jason Simon broke four tackles and busted loose for a 55-yard gain. That led to Austin White’s scrambling 11-yard TD run and a 10-0 GlenOak lead.
The Bulldogs totaled 154 yards of offense. GlenOak’s front seven held the slippery Glover-Williams, who didn’t appear to be at 100 percent because of a lingering ankle injury, to negative-two yards on 12 carries.
Jarrod Smith led the Bulldogs with 63 yards on 13 carries.
Simon led GlenOak with 72 yards rushing on 17 attempts. Jason Boykins added 65 on eight carries as GlenOak totaled 203 yards of offense.
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