Trenton Central trips Allentown High School gridders, 20-14, in overtime


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On the heels of a thrilling comeback victory over Lawrence High School the previous week to win its first game of the 2021 season, the Allentown High School football team had another chance to be the comeback kids against Trenton Central High School on Sept. 25 in Trenton.

The Redbirds came back from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 14-14 and then got a goal-line stand from their defense in the final minute to send the game to overtime.

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In overtime, each team would take possession at its opponent’s 25 with a chance to score.

When the fourth quarter ended, momentum seemed to be on Allentown’s side, but that changed quickly.

Trenton elected to go on offense first in overtime and scored on its first play with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Makhai Brown to Navonn Barrett. The extra point attempt failed and the Tornadoes led 20-14.

Allentown began its overtime possession at the Trenton 25, but a sack by the Tornadoes on second down pushed the Redbirds into a third and 18 situation they could not overcome in two tries. The loss left Allentown at 1-3 in 2021.

“We got down in the second half a few times and kept battling back,” Allentown Coach Andrew Lachenmayer said. “It’s a great thing to see, but unfortunately we made too many mistakes throughout the game as a unit and it cost us.”

Allentown was hurt by four turnovers, including an interception Barrett returned for a touchdown with 1:22 to play in the third quarter that gave Trenton a 14-7 lead.

A fumble by the Redbirds to begin the third quarter got Trenton rolling as Jermaine Tillery tied the game at 7-7 with a six-yard touchdown run.

Allentown had taken a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Daniel Cruz and an extra point by Monroe Schloss.

“Turnovers and penalties are hard to bounce back from,” Lachenmayer said. “You have to protect the football. The most valuable thing on the field is the football. You can’t give it away and kill drives with long penalties.”

Trailing 14-7 entering the fourth quarter, Allentown rallied after a bad snap by Trenton on a punt.

The Redbirds took over at the Trenton 15. Three plays later, sophomore quarterback Luke Wiedau scored on a five-yard run, Schloss kicked the extra point, and the Redbirds tied the game 14-14 with 7:15 to play.

Wiedau rushed for 91 yards against Trenton and has accounted for nine touchdowns in four games.

Lachenmayer is proud of the way the sophomore has played and believes there are big things to come for Wiedau.

“Luke is a tough kid,” the coach said. “We are going to continue to ride him. He is going to continue to develop into a hell of a football player.”

Following Wiedau’s game-tying touchdown, the Redbirds’ defense forced Trenton to go three and out. The offense got the ball with 5:00 to play, but Wiedau was sacked and lost a fumble that Trenton recovered at its own 44 with 4:37 to play.

The Tornadoes drove to the Allentown 2 with 1:40 left and appeared ready to take the lead, but the Redbirds’ defense denied Trenton, stopping the Tornadoes on downs and keeping the game tied at 14-14.

Allentown ran the final seconds off the clock to send the game to overtime. The Tornadoes grabbed the lead on their first play in the extra session and then stuffed Cruz on Allentown’s fourth down play to seal the win.

Despite the 1-3 start, Lachenmayer knows the fight from his players is present on the field and that there are things the Redbirds can build on to have success.

“The effort is there. There are a lot of promising things to build on. We just have to continue to go to work and get better every day,” the coach said.

Allentown will travel to Lawrenceville to play Notre Dame High School on Oct. 1.

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