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GA wins to clinch share of Inter-Ac title

Germantown Academy's Patrick McGettigan made the defensive play of the game Saturday, and it came after the final buzzer blared.

Germantown Academy's Patrick McGettigan made the defensive play of the game Saturday, and it came after the final buzzer blared.

The Patriots held off visiting Penn Charter, 17-14, thanks to senior kicker Vincent Capone's 22-yard game-winning field goal with 2.4 seconds remaining.

The victory earned Germantown Academy a share of the Inter-Ac championship with Malvern Prep (4-1), which overwhelmed Springside Chestnut Hill (0-5), 48-28, on Saturday.

The Patriots (4-1) last won the league title in 2004, a year in which they also shared with Episcopal Academy and Penn Charter.

Saturday's triumph, before an overflow crowd at Carey Stadium, was a physical, emotional, and at times contentious battle between rivals who met on the football field for the 130th consecutive year.

As gleeful Germantown Academy fans - presumably students - stormed the field at game's end, a few exchanged words with Penn Charter players who were walking toward the Quakers' sideline.

As the crowd moved closer to the exiting Quakers, McGettigan, who will play at Penn next season, stepped in front of the students, extended his arms so none could pass, and then guided them back into the Patriots' celebratory mosh pit on the field.

"Pat's one of the top two or three players in the league," said Patriots coach Matt Dence. "That's why he's going to Penn and that's why he's playing Division I football. But he's also a Division I person."

On the field, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound linebacker seemed to be in or around most Germantown Academy tackles. He accounted for at least six on his own.

The Germantown Academy offense was supplied by senior Kyle McCloskey, who finished with 172 yards and a touchdown in the air, and 124 more yards and another score on the ground.

McCloskey, who was 10 of 23 in the air, also finished with a school record for career passing yardage (3,903), breaking Hayes Nolte's record of 3,886 in 2013.

"I'm really going to miss them," Dence said. "I'm coming to realize the next game I coach won't be with Pat and Kyle."

A scoreless first half featured just 98 yards of offense for the Patriots and 81 for the Quakers (2-3). GA finished with 326 total yards, while PC ended with 271.

The play before halftime also drew the ire of Penn Charter's coaching staff as Edward Saydee ran out of bounds at the GA 19-yard line with what the Quakers staff believed was at least four-tenths of a second on the clock. Game officials, however, determined no time was left.

In the third quarter, McCloskey eventually scrambled for the game's first score, a 7-yard touchdown with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the quarter. Saydee responded with a 7-yard score of his own that was set up by a 75-yard pass and catch from Michael Hnatkowsky to Chris Tucker.

McCloskey then hit Mike Reilly for a 49-yard touchdown, and Saydee responded again with a 68-yard scoring pass from Hnatkowsky with 4 minutes, 12 seconds remaining.

Saydee finished with 97 receiving yards and a touchdown on six receptions. Hnatkowsky finished with 217 passing yards and a score on 15-of-25 passing.

With 1 minute, 6 seconds remaining, McCloskey began the 7-play, 59-yard drive that ended on the foot of Capone, who received a much-needed pep talk before he kicked for glory.

"On the way out you could tell, Vinny, our kicker, was a little nervous," said McGettigan, who is also the snapper. "I looked at him, smiled, and said, 'I know you're going to make it.'"

Was Capone really nervous?

"Oh, yeah, definitely, 100 percent," Capone said.

Moments after his kick, the Patriots' sideline erupted in championship jubilation.

Germantown Academy 0 0 7 10 - 17

Penn Charter 0 0 0 14 - 14

GA: Kyle McCloskey 7 run (Vincent Capone kick)

PC: Ed Saydee 7 run (Adam Kuper kick)

GA: Mike Reilly 49 pass from McCloskey (Capone kick)

PC: Saydee 68 pass from Michael Hnatkowsky (Kuper kick)

GA: FG 22 Capone