Charles Dickens penned a “Tale of Two Cities.”
On Friday night, the Harrisburg and Carbondale football teams wrote their own classic — “A Tale Of Two Halves.”
Carbondale used an 18-point third quarter to swing the momentum and post a 32-22 win over Harrisburg at Bleyer Field on the Terriers’ Senior Night.
The win improved Carbondale to 3-6 overall, but the loss was more devastating for Harrisburg, which finished the season at 4-5 and needed a victory to ensure a playoff spot for next weekend.
A disappointed Harrisburg head coach Gabe Angelly said poor field position in the second half, parlayed with a stagnate offense didn't do his team any favors. This coming on the heels of the Bulldogs leading 22-14 at halftime.
"We were sitting really well with the lead at halftime, we were in good shape, but we just didn't come out and run the football effectively in the second half and that's what we knew we had to do,” Angelly said. “We knew we couldn't get into a spread matchup and throw the ball.”
He said Harrisburg needed to use the power run game, but it was ineffective in the second. Also, the Bulldogs were unable to control the clock, which ultimately ended up being the difference in the contest, he said.
Harrisburg scored on its first possession on 13-yard touchdown run by Jordan Bartok to put the Bulldogs on the board 7-0.
Carbondale responded to start the second quarter and knot the game at seven after Terrier sophomore quarterback Tavaris Macklin hooked up with Jaden Bradley on a well-executed route for a 11-yard strike.
The Terriers then took the lead after the duo hooked up again on a slant for a 37-yard pass play for a 14-7 lead with 9:31 to play.
The tide seemed to turn in the favor of Harrisburg, which scored two more touchdowns from Jordan Bartok before intermission, one coming from four yards out and another from 26 yards out, giving the Bulldogs the 22-14 advantage.
Carbondale strapped up the chin guard on defense in the second half and stymied the Harrisburg offense. Offensively, Carbondale responded with a 1-yard run and a 4-yard run by Jakeba Burleigh and the final touchdown coming when Burleigh hooked up with a Armondo Davis from nine yards out to give Carbondale a 32-22 lead with 3.1 seconds left to play in the third quarter.
Carbondale head coach Bryan Lee said there were adjustments that were made at halftime, the biggest of which were firing up his ball club.
"We're playing for a lot here, although we're not playing to get in the playoffs,” Lee said. “We're playing to get a game better than last year, represent the South Seven and we play a tough schedule.
“We wanted to come out and show that we can come out here and ball. I think it says a lot for the program, where we are and we don't quit.”
Lee said Carbondale’s second half was one of the best its played all year.
“When you're looking at 2-6 and you play your best half, the second half of your last game, that's encouraging going forward and speaks to the character of our kids," he said.
Michael Dann covers prep and college sports for the Harrisburg Register, Eldorado Journal & The Gallatin County Democrat. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.