Pittsville – Even when the odds were against it, the Pittsville Panthers overcame a 24-3 deficit to defeat the Auburndale Apaches, 37-36, Friday night in the home opener.
Auburndale was boosted by two touchdowns from junior Dylan Paun and a third quarter touchdown plunge by senior quarterback Aaron Marth to put the Apaches up by 21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Pittsville responded with three scores of its own: two touchdown receptions by Hunter Wilke from Sam Hardinger and a 51-yard deep throw into double coverage by Hardinger with under a minute left in regulation that helped tie the game at 24.
After trading touchdowns in the first overtime, Pittsville struck first in the second overtime on a Hardinger touchdown run to make the score, 37-30, in favor of the Panthers.
The Apaches matched the Panthers score on a long pass from junior quarterback Cooper Weinfurter and then had a choice to either extend the game with an extra point or win it with a successful two-point conversion.
Auburndale made the decision to go for two to win the game, but the ball was swatted away by the Pittsville defense and the Panthers held on for the remarkable comeback.
Pittsville will look to carry the success of opening night into its next matchup on the road against the Rib Lake-Prentice Hawks on Friday, Aug. 24. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Auburndale will look to avenge the overtime defeat as it heads back on the road to take on the Little Wolf Wolves on Friday, Aug. 24. The game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m.