Mercersburg’s football team won the 2021 Keystone State Football League title November 6 with a thrilling 28–22 overtime victory over host Perkiomen School in Pennsburg, PA.
Tommy Quick ’22 rushed for two touchdowns, Christian Jetter ’22 caught a touchdown pass from Caleb Newcomer ’23, Newcomer ran for the Blue Storm’s touchdown in overtime, and Griffin Lange ’22 picked off a Perkiomen pass in the end zone in overtime to seal the victory—and Mercersburg’s first league championship in football since the 2005 squad won the Mid-Atlantic Prep League crown.
“We told the players that if they wanted to win the championship, it was there for the taking,” said Blue Storm head coach Andy Brown. “The message was simple—just play Mercersburg football. It was a game of back-and-forth momentum which came down to the end.
“I am so happy for and proud of our players and our program for this incredible achievement. It is well deserved and was a total team effort.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Mercersburg (7–1) kicked into high gear in the second period. Quick got Mercersburg on the board with a 2-yard touchdown run and added the two-point conversion, and the Storm increased its lead to 16–0 when Logan Butts ’23 recovered a fumble and returned it to the Perkiomen 1-yard line, and Quick found paydirt and the two-point conversion again. Perkiomen responded with a 60-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Mikey Boyle to get within 16–6 with 1:15 left in the half before the Mercersburg’s Caleb Newcomer ’23 found Christian Jetter ’22 on a 45-yard halfback pass for a score to increase the Storm’s edge to 22–6 at halftime.
The Panthers recovered an onside kick to start the third quarter, but the Mercersburg defense stopped them on downs at the Storm 13-yard line. But the Panthers pulled within 22–14 on a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown with 4:53 to play in the third. Following an interception, Perk drove down the field and converted a 4th-and-goal from the 9-yard line when Boyle hit Samuel Gilio for a touchdown. After a successful conversion, the game was knotted at 22–22 with 7:34 to go in regulation.
Mercersburg needed another big defensive stop to force overtime after Perkiomen drove inside the 30-yard line in the final two minutes, and got it when Louis Concordia ’22 made a huge tackle for loss on fourth down to send the contest to overtime. In the overtime format, each team gets a possession starting on the opposing 10-yard line, with possessions alternating until one team pulls ahead of the other at the end of a period.
Perkiomen won the coin toss and chose to play defense first. An injury on third down forced Newcomer (typically a running back) into the quarterback position for a crucial 4th-and-goal from the Panthers’ 4-yard line, but Newcomer bulled through the right side of the line to push the Storm ahead, 28–22. The two-point attempt failed, giving Perk (6–2) the opportunity to win the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion. But on second-down of the Panthers’ OT possession, Lange stepped in front of a Boyle pass in the end zone and picked it off to give Mercersburg its first KSFL title in the two-year history of the league.
The teams had split their first two meetings this season, and Perk defeated the Storm in the 2019 championship game (also in Pennsburg, which is about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia).