Irwin’s Last-Second Field Goal Seals Buckskin Win

By Ethan Miller ‘23

Conestoga Valley tallied their second straight victory Friday night over the Governor Mifflin Mustangs in their penultimate home game of the 2022 season. The Buckskin offense came back from an early deficit, the defense produced 4 turnovers in the first half, and senior kicker David Irwin, who’s been nearly perfect this season on field goals and extra points, kicked the game winning field goal from 29 yards out with 5 seconds left in the game to bring the team’s record to 4-3. 

Governor Mifflin got off to a fast start, as they scored a touchdown on two of their first three drives with nearly identical 54-yard runs to go up 14-0 in the first quarter. Late in the first, however, the Buckskins offense finally kicked it into gear.

A good kickoff return gave the Buckskins solid field position to start the drive at their own 41. Two completions to senior WR Zach Phy moved the ball into Mustang territory, and 3 plays later, QB Macoy Kneisley found sophomore Jayden Johnson for a 25-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown that cut the Mifflin lead in half. 

The Buckskin defense got the ball right back thanks to a fumble recovery by Jeff Fisher, setting up shop for the offense on the Mustang 19. Phy and Nick Tran alternated carries, bullying their way towards the end zone, culminating in Tran punching it in from 4 yards out.

Malachi Santana intercepted Governor Mifflin’s next offensive play from scrimmage after it was tipped into the air and returned it 50 yards for a pick-six. In a matter of minutes, a 14-0 deficit turned into a 21-14 lead for the Buckskins. 

The defense continued to shine as the game raced towards halftime, with the next three Mustang drives ending in a punt, fumble (Forced by Robby Swift, recovered by Wyatt Wolgemuth), and interception (Ish Camacho). While the offense hit a lull in performance, the defense kept the Mustangs at bay and kept the score the same. Right before halftime, Mifflin kicker Jackson Schools nailed a 51-yard (!) field goal to cut the Buckskin lead to 4, at 21-17. 

Coming out of halftime, CV mounted a drive that stalled out within field goal range. Senior kicker David Irwin, who’s been nearly perfect on kicks in 2022, missed just to the right of the goalpost, keeping the score at 21-17. On the next drive, he made a 25 yard field goal to extend the Buckskin advantage to 24-17. 

Governor Mifflin wasn’t done yet. Early in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs broke off a 46-yard touchdown run to draw even at 24-24. CV responded with a stellar drive that wound down the clock and set up the go-ahead score. The offense reached the Mustang 19 and turned to Collin Martin, who rumbled 19 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. With time winding down, the score was 31-24 Buckskins.

After what seemed to be a game-winner by Martin, the Mustangs stunned the home crowd with a drive that culminated in a shocking 34 yard passing touchdown that tied the game again, this time at 31, with just 55 seconds to go. The offense, already having manufactured one game-winning drive late, needed another.

Kneisley drove the team into Mustang territory, aided by a 33 yard dart to Ish Camacho that moved the ball to the Governor Mifflin 40. Two sure touchdowns were dropped by Buckskin receivers, to the dismay of the crowd and themselves, but that didn’t stop the team from continuing their march. A combination of runs and short passes got the ball to the Mustang 12, with 5 seconds left, and the kicking team trotted onto the turf. 

Irwin, perfect on the night on extra points, had also made a field goal earlier in the game. With the wind at his back, and the entire stadium holding its’ breath, the senior kicker sent the ball, spotted 29 yards away from the crossbar, straight through the uprights- a perfect kick. The crowd roared as the Buckskins mobbed Irwin, having regained the lead with 2 seconds remaining; the Mustang desperation play fell flat as time expired and the Buckskins stormed the field.

Speaking after the game, Irwin broke down the do-or-die field goal attempt.

“I was extremely nervous,” Irwin said. “It was very exciting to be able to do that for our team.” 

Early on, winning looked hopeless from the early deficit. But the Buckskins, led by head coach Jon Scepanski, never gave up and clawed their way back into the game.

“Our talk before the game was the word ‘all’, a-l-l, and talking about how we’ve got to go all game long, giving everything we have, and being a team,” Scepanski said postgame. “It made sense, when you look at the game, it took all of us, it took all aspects of the game. I’m just so proud of the guys, coming out and being down 14-0, and fighting adversity and battling back, it says a lot about them. I’m very, very proud of them.” 

The win moves the Buckskins to 4-3 on the season, and it maintains them at third place in Section 2 behind Manheim Central and Exeter (both 7-0). CV travels to Manheim Central next week to play the Barons in Manheim at 7 PM.

Box Score


Player of the Week

After such a great game, it’s impossible to pick just one POTW- so I’m picking three!

First up, on offense: QB Macoy Kneisley turned in his best game of the season, going 13-21 for 114 yards and a touchdown. He kept the offense moving with accurate passes, and probably could have had an even better line if not for a few key drops. This is Kneisley’s second POTW award of the season. 

Next is junior defensive back Malachi Santana, who returned an interception for a key touchdown to get the Buckskins back in the game. This is his first POTW award of the season.

Finally, David Irwin steals the show with his last-second game-winning field goal from 29 yards. The senior place kicker has been phenomenal all season long, with a near-perfect record on extra points and field goals, as well as booming kickoffs that routinely pin opponents deep. This is his first POTW award of the season.

Past POTW:

Week 1: WR Jeff Fisher

Week 2: RB Nick Tran

Week 3: RB Nick Tran

Week 4: RB Nick Tran

Week 5: DE Wyatt Wolgemuth

Week 6: QB Macoy Kneisley 

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