Talk about starting the season in style.
Down 29-22 with 21 seconds to play, Liberty quarterback Brendon White scored on a third and goal from the one, then hit Johnny Wiseman on the two-point conversion to cap a thrilling 30-29 season-opening win over host North Allegheny in the opener of the Western Pennsylvania Legends Football Classic Friday night in Wexford, Pa.
The game-clinching connection wasn’t the first time the two hooked up, either.
With the Patriots trailing 21-8, White capped a 69-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Wiseman late in the third quarter. Wiseman then fired a 45-yard TD pass to Ben Roderick to give Liberty a brief 22-21 lead one play into the fourth.
North Allegheny answered with a big play of its own, regaining the lead on a 25-yard run from Ethan Maenza. The ensuing two-point conversion was good, making it a 29-22 game with 5:45 left.
The Patriots, despite trailing much of the game, had next to no trouble moving the ball. They amassed 422 yards while running 25 more plays than North Allegheny.
White was dynamic in his first start at quarterback. He completed 15 of his 21 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown while running the ball 23 times for another 100-plus yards and two TDs.
Will Fowler was the Patriots’ leading receiver, finishing with five grabs covering 26 yards.
Ed Warinner led the Liberty defense, finishing with 5.5 tackles and two tackles for loss.
Maenza led North Allegheny, finishing with 117 yards rushing to go with two touchdowns. He also completed eight of his 16 passes for 140 yards and two TDs, both to Niko Mermigas.