PITTSBURGH — With Mount Lebanon down 16-14 in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter, junior kicker Ben McAuley said that even though a Blue Devils touchdown could secure a win, he knew the game’s outcome rested on his shoulders.
“I knew it was coming down to me, to be honest with you,” McAuley said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking, but then you realize that it’s probably coming down to you, so you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.”
McAuley’s lone attempt to that point, a 40-yarder earlier in the game, had plenty of leg but sailed wide right. McAuley said the early miss didn’t phase him.
“You’ve just got to shake it off, next play, so that’s what I did. I was able to come back and make [the game winner],” McAuley said. “I felt pretty confident going into that.”
The Blue Devils trailed 16-0 entering the fourth quarter and mounted a furious comeback to claim the win.
McAuley said the game swung in Lebo’s favor after defensive back Vincent Musial’s pick-six pulled Lebo within two.
“It was electric. It was great,” McAuley said. “It was what we needed in that moment.”
Emotions ran high in the Mt. Lebanon huddle in the moments following the Blue Devils’ walk-off win.
Members of the coaching staff were as fired up by the 17-point comeback as the players but tried their best to remain levelheaded and turn the page toward the next game, reminding their charges that they hadn’t won a league championship yet.
Even so, one of the assistants let the facade slip, uttering the phrase made famous by head coach Bob Palko’s son Tyler after an upset win over Notre Dame.
“I’m so proud of this f…… football team,” a coach gushed.
The elder Palko laughed.
“I’ve heard that one before.”
A player chirped back, as if there were any doubt to the phrase’s origin.
“Yeah, your son said it.”
Bob Palko laughed when asked about his son’s iconic moment.
“I was at that game, and I didn’t see it on TV, but I did hear what happened,” Palko said. “You try to do the right things…he was grammatically correct in how he used it. Probably not at the right time, but I’m proud of these kids.”