T-D HS Football

Syster’s big day keys Purchase Line

By: BY PAUL BURIAK

A record-shattering effort by junior tailback Grant Syster keyed a dominating performance by Purchase Line on Saturday afternoon as the visiting Red Dragons overwhelmed Conemaugh Valley 40-0 in the season finale for both teams.
Syster became the first runner in Red Dragon history to surpass the 300-yard mark in a single game as he rolled up 306 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries. “We wanted to use this game to set the tone for next year,” said Syster. “We did this as a team. I couldn’t go anywhere without the fullbacks and the line doing the great job they did.”
Purchase Line gained all but two of their 382 total yards on the ground.
“We have a young team, and the expectations for this season weren’t very high,” said Purchase Line head coach Brandon Overdorff. “We’ve been getting better with each game, and we’ve played well in all three phases over the last few weeks.”
The Red Dragons won four of their last five to finish at 5-5 overall.
“Obviously as a competitor, you want to win every game,” said Overdorff. “But it’s about progression, and we are moving in the right direction.”
Purchase Line limited the Blue Jays (1-8) to just 52 total yards and three first downs.
“We were physically outmanned,” said Conemaugh Valley head coach Tom Marshall. “We had to play all freshmen and sophomores on the line this week, and we were too inexperienced and undersized to compete.
 “They were just a much better football team than we were today.”
Senior linebacker Drake Markiewicz had a stout effort in defeat as he tallied 19 total tackles for the Blue Jays.
The Red Dragons scored on four of their first five possessions in the first half, and they took the opening kickoff and drove 62 yards in 10 plays.
Syster carried seven times for 51 yards, and Zack Bartlebaugh got the final yard on a scoring dive with 7:30 left in the quarter. Syster added the first of his four extra points for a 7-0 lead.
Conemaugh Valley fumbled at its own 34 on the ensuing possession, and after the Red Dragons picked up two first downs on the ground, Hunter Rice converted the turnover into Purchase Line points with a 4-yard touchdown run.
The Blue Jays were stopped on downs at their own 40 on the final play of the opening quarter, and from there Syster picked up all but 3 of the yards on the subsequent drive as he scored from 14 yards out to make it 20-0.
Purchase Line put together one more ball-control drive before halftime as the Dragons moved 64 yards in 10 plays. Four carries by Syster covering 52 yards set up Syster’s second score, a 6-yarder with 1:38 left before the break.
A Blue Jay punt to open the third left the Dragons backed up at their own 9, but a 47-yard bolt by Syster quickly turned that field position around. Quarterback Alec Sunderlin eventually capped off the drive with a 1-yard sneak that made it 33-0.
Rice added his second touchdown of the day on a 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter that set the eventual final.
 

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