Football team pulls out wild win in overtime

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Eastern’s offense had trouble getting anything going all day, but in the final seconds redshirt junior quarterback Scotty Gilkey Jr. found Alexander Hollins on a Hail Mary pass to the end zone for a touchdown.

Eastern beat Eastern Kentucky in overtime 23-20.

The Panthers were able to send out their seniors with a win on O’Brien Field on “just another day of Panther football,” as coach Kim Dameron called it.

All six of Eastern’s win this season have came by three points or less.

Freshman kicker Matt Severino helped aid a struggling Eastern offense with three field goals on the day. He was 3-3 on field goals and perfect on extra points as well, including the one to tie the game with one second left after the touchdown by Hollins.

“He went out there and kicked 100 percent, unbelievable,” Dameron said. “I mean clutch kicks.”

Severino is the same player who did not travel with the Panthers to their season-opening game against Indiana State months ago. But with Nick Bruno getting hurt in warmups before that game, someone had to fill that role throughout the year and Severino did just that.

“I had to call this kid and tell him to come get his gear and get over there in time for kickoff,” Dameron said. “We let Nick (Wilson) do most of the kicking, but (Severino) was there. And as he has progressed he’s basically taken over the kicking job.”

Dameron said Severino was worked his “fanny off” this season.

He made a 44-yard field goal to tie the game for the Panthers at 10 with 1:31 left in the half. Then he tied it again with a 33-yard field goal.

Severino finished off his clutch day with a season-long 45-yard field goal to give Eastern the lead in overtime, setting up senior Bradley Dewberry’s game-winning interception on Eastern Kentucky’s first play.

Dewberry described that feeling “unexplainable.”

“Of course for the seniors I’m happy we’re leaving our mark with a ‘W’ in our last home game,” Dewberry said. “Just winning all together, that’s something we take pride in and we’re looking forward to all the work we put in all week.”

Dameron said these seniors have a special place in his heart.

“They’ve meant everything to this program,” Dameron said. “They’ve been leaders since they were freshmen, especially guys like (Bradley) Dewberry. We have a lot of seniors that have put a lot of time in and effort here.”

What the Panthers’ seniors have meant to the program is relevant to all of the underclassman—guys like Severino who made clutch kicks all game, Gilkey Jr. who steps up and finds Hollins with a Hail Mary pass with 1 second left, someone like Hollins who goes up and brings the ball down for the score.

“All the underclassmen wanted it so bad for these (seniors),” Dameron said. “They know this type of sacrifice they put in.”

For defensive seniors like Dewberry and Nick Horne, they hope they have set a standard and built a culture for fighting until the end, they said.

“That’s something we take pride in as leaders,” Dewberry said. “When I first came here that’s something the leaders before me took pride in. That’s something that you just have to build on.”

Horne said this win means everything.

“Especially because Dewberry had the game-winning play, he played a big part in this game,” Horne said. “Me and Dewberry have been playing on the same side for a while now. I think every since I started playing linebacker, I’ve been playing with Dewberry behind me.”

Eastern’s fans erupted, Eastern’s sideline went berserk, and it capped off an incredible win by the Eastern football team on senior day.

“They’ve got a story to tell their grand kids 30-to-40 years from now,” Dameron said.

Sean Hastings can be reached at

581-2812 or [email protected]