After a 0-10 season, the Lions have come back to do the unthinkable. The Lower Moreland football team won the District 1 Championship against New Hope-Solesbury with a 14-13 win in a late-game thriller that went down to the wire.
With 20 seconds remaining in the game, New Hope connected a long 35-yard touchdown pass and an extra point was all that separated the two schools from a tie score and possible overtime. But New Hope chose to go for the win with a two-point conversion attempt. Before the snap it was a raucous atmosphere in the stands with LM fans chanting, “Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye.”
Everybody was standing in anticipation before the two-point conversion was attempted. The District title came down to one play. New Hope handed the ball off to its running back who tried to make a move, but was stopped by LM's Jeremy Maiorana and Anthony Morales to preserve the win and district title. Every Lower Moreland fan erupted and screamed as loud as they could. After a winless season just a year ago, the Lions can now be called district championships.
The Lions trailed 7-6 in the 4th quarter with 7 minutes remaining in regulation. A 13-yard pickup from Ryan Killion set up a Joe Leventhal 5-yard touchdown to put Lower Moreland up 12-7. Then Coach Mark Mayson decided to go for a two-point conversion of their own. Lance Gifford was in the shotgun and the ball was snapped; he hit Dylan Kanter in the end zone to put the Lions up 14-7 with 4:15 remaining in the ball game.
When Kanter was asked how he felt about the 2 point conversion he said this,
“The excitement started kicking in when (coach ) Mayson called my favorite play. Once Lance let the ball go and I caught the 2-point conversion I was just so happy to be able to make it a one touchdown game”
Fans from both sides were getting into the game and getting rowdy for their teams from the get-go. The stage was set, Friday Night Lights and a district championship on the line, nothing bigger than this.
After a bunch of possession changes in the first quarter, Lions running back Max Sandberg ran one in and the Lions went up 6-0 after a missed extra point. The game was back and forth, and both teams failed to score after Sandberg’s run, so at halftime, the Lions were up 6-0.
New Hope really capitalized on the Lions mistake, however, and drove down the field. To cap off a long drive, New Hope’s Connor Hadden ran one in from 15, and then they made the extra point to go up 7-6.
After halftime, the Lions came ready to play. Nofry Hannanel returned the kickoff for 40 yards giving the Lions the ball on the 50. A few short plays later, quarterback Lance Gifford took a shot down field for Dylan Kanter. Kanter won the ball in the air, came down with it and was finally marked down all the way at the New Hope 1-yard line. But, the Lions failed to capitalize on the 1-yard line and failed to score.
Congratulations to everyone part of LM football on a great season that isn’t even over yet. Thanksgiving day the Lions will be playing Springfield in a classic “Turkey Bowl”. Come out have a great time, and support the Lower Moreland Lions, the new District 1 Champions.