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PE comeback capped by late Gooding TD grab

| Monday, September 29, 2014

Under a blazing afternoon sun, the Pyros felt the heat until the closing seconds of their match with the Ducks.

Pasquerilla East (3-0) capped off a miraculous two-minute drill with a touchdown in its 21-19 come-from-behind victory over Howard (1-2).

Pyro captains Macy Mulhall, senior quarterback, and Noelle Gooding, sophomore receiver, connected for passing touchdowns on three separate occasions in the game, including the 15-yard score with just five seconds left on the clock that gave them the lead and the win.

“We definitely learned a lesson on how to play when we’re not on top of our game, so we got our momentum back,” Gooding said.

A Pasquerilla East player runs away from a pursuing Howard player during the Pyros’ 21-19 win Sunday at Labar Practice Fields.Caroline Genco | The Observer
A Pasquerilla East player runs away from a pursuing Howard player during the Pyros’ 21-19 win Sunday at Labar Practice Fields.
A change in mentality was a major factor in the Pyros’ rally at the end of the game, Mulhall said.

“Toward the end, the key to our success today is that we decided to have fun out there,” Mulhall said. “We got a little too serious, then we just decided to take a deep breath, smile a little, and it really helped us a lot out there.”

The Ducks came close to defeating the undefeated Pyros, climbing out of an early 14-point deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter. However, the talent and on the Pasquerilla East sideline allowed the Pyros to come out on top.

“Our defense really shined throughout the game,” Claire Kozlowski, senior captain and defensive back for Howard, said. “We never gave up. To start the second half, [junior] Stephanie Peterson had a great interception, and then right after that we scored a touchdown, [we] just really got some momentum going. You know, that really kept us in it.”

Other highlights from the Ducks included some huge plays by junior wide receiver Maria Ianni, including a 40-yard reception late in the fourth quarter that gave her team its first lead of the game.

“We have a really young team this year,” Kozlowski said. “A lot of freshmen [and] sophomores are stepping up, so I think that’s really great. We’re doing good, we haven’t hit our peak yet. We’re going to keep working. I think you’re going to see more of us, and see some good things as the season goes on.”

The Pyros, meanwhile, expect to see even more success as the season wears on, according to Mulhall. When asked what she expects from her team for the rest of the season, Mulhall simply said, “Win.”

Howard will look to rebound from the heartbreaking loss when they square off against Breen-Phillips on Monday at 10 p.m., at Riehle Fields. Pasquerilla East will savor the win during their off-week before an important matchup against Ryan next Sunday at 4 p.m., at LaBar Practice Fields.

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