YORK RUN -- For 32 years the Albert Gallatin football program was stuck in a losing pattern.
That all changed on Friday night in front of a packed stadium at York Run.
The Colonials used a ball-control offense and two stellar defensive stands to hold off visiting University High of Morgantown and earn a gutsy 13-12 victory that ensured a non-losing season for the first time in program history.
Caleb Lang scored both Albert Gallatin touchdowns, Malik Kirby rushed for 84 yards and Tristan Robinson completed 5 of 9 passes for 79 yards and a score to lead the Colonials.
AG improved to 4-1 with three games left on its schedule and also tied the school record for wins in a season.
"It's unbelievable," an emotional Colonials coach Drew Dindl said. "The kids deserve it. They've been working so hard. I've got no words right now. It's just an awesome feeling.
"What a game for these guys."
The outcome came down to a two-point conversion try by University High (2-4) following a 12-play, 88-yard touchdown drive after recovering an AG fumble. Hawks quarterback Chase Edwards completed a 21-yard TD pass to Andrew Myers, who was covered well on the play, with 1:41 left in the game and coach John W. Kelley opted to go for the win.
The Colonials called timeout as University High lined up. Afterwards, Edwards attempted a pass that was deflected into the air and fell harmlessly to the ground.
"We wanted to see what they were going to come out in, then we called timeout," Dindl said. "We knew what we were looking at. I told them this is it, this is for the game so what are you going to do? They wanted it and they stepped up."
The game wasn't over yet. AG survived an onside kick attempt but, with the Hawks still possessing all three of their timeouts, the Colonials needed to grind out one first down to run out the clock. They did just that when Robinson gained 3 yards on third and 1. Three kneel-downs later, Albert Gallatin had the victory and their fans roared their approval.
"From last year until now, you can just feel the difference," Robinson said, noting AG's winless 2018 season. "Everyone is happy. The student section is in the game. It's just great."
The Robinson-led offense out-gained the Hawks, 354 to 190, and ran 62 plays to 46 for University High.
Albert Gallatin's defense rang up four sacks and an interception in a strong effort. Dylan Shea and Brady Shore halved one sack, and Shea came up with another, as did Shawn Loring and Braxton Turner. Antonio Efford made the interception at the AG 3 on a fourth-down pass by Joseph McGee early in the third quarter.
The Colonials got on the board first with an impressive nine-play, 74-yard drive capped by Robinson's 18-yard touchdown pass to Lang on fourth and 6.
"Tristan threw a beautiful ball, just laid it right in there," Dindl said.
Jace Bowers kicked what would prove to be an important extra point for a 7-0 lead.
A key sequence came in the second quarter. After the Hawks' Colin McBee recovered a fumble at the AG 17, the visitors moved to a first and goal at the 4. Three runs netted just 3 yards and the Colonials defense stuffed Jospeh McGee for a 2-yard loss on fourth down to snuff out the drive.
"What a stand," said Dindl, who commended defensive coordinator Gary Pillar. "They made the play and got us the ball back. There were flying to the ball all night. They made big plays when we needed them."
The Colonials offense then took center stage, marching 97 yards in 13 plays with Lang scoring on a 5-yard run with seven seconds left in the half to make it 13-0.
"I saw my teammate, Dylan Shea, pancake someone so I just ran outside," Lang said.
"Caleb's an athlete," Dindl said. "When the ball's in his hands you never know what's going to happen. He's a nice weapon to have back there. He does a great job with the football."
Key plays in the mammoth march were a 17-yard run by Lang and a 30-yard pass by Robinson to Efford.
University High finally got on the board late in the third quarter when Logan Raber followed a 21-yard scramble by Edwards with an 11-yard touchdown run, but AG stopped Raber on the two-point run attempt to keep the score at 13-6.
The Colonials' offense almost put the game away with a 17-play drive that ate up nine minutes off the clock but ended in the fumble that set up the frantic finish.
Albert Gallatin churned out 222 yards on the ground, including 55 by Bruno Fabrycki, 42 by Lang and 29 by Kolby Varano, on just seven carries apiece. Kirby's 37-yard jaunt in the first quarter was the game's longest play.
Lang credited his offensive line.
"They really pushed harder than they ever have before tonight," Lang said.
Edwards completed 4 of 7 passes for 58 yards after relieving starting QB McBee early in the second half. Raber rushed for 60 yards on 16 carries.
"It was a good football game," Kelley said. "It was a great battle. Hat's off to them. They did everything they had to do to win. It was a fun game. They had a nice game plan and they executed it well."
University High 0-0-6-6 -- 12
Albert Gallatin 7-6-0-0 -- 13
AG: Caleb Lang 18 pass from Tristan Robinson (Jace Bowers kick), 5:26
AG: Caleb Lang 5 run (kick failed), 0:07
UH: Logan Raber 11 run (run failed), 3:08
UH: Andrew Myers 21 pass from Chase Edwards (pass failed), 1:41
Records: University High (2-4), Albert Gallatin (4-1).