Varsity Football Outshines McNeil in Final Seconds of Game

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  • Grant Jaeger ’23 and Scott Uffelman ’25 jump up to each other after running out of the blowup. They hurried to the huddle afterwards.

  • The Warriors run out of the blowup during the beginning of the game. The varsity football team played McNeil.

  • Grant Jaeger ’23 runs down the field. He was able to gain several yardages and a first down for the Warriors.

  • Owen Norrell ’24 runs the ball. He was able to gain several yardages for the Warriors.

  • The student section cheers loudly following an interception from the Warriors. The theme for this week’s game was western.

  • The JROTC runs down the field with flags after the Warriors scored a touchdown. The final score of the game was 17-15.

  • Nikhil Modak ’24 plays a solo during the band half time performance. He looked at the drum major for beat guidance.

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After a three-game losing streak, the varsity football team was eager to come home with a win. Both sides were on their toes as the score inched closely together. The final trajectory of the game was uncertain, but with four seconds to go, the Warriors won the game 17-15.

And with a whistle, the game began with a kick from Zach Harris ‘23. The Mavericks made consistent long passes to quickly move the ball up the field. However, the Warriors soon saw patterns, leading to an interception within the first few minutes. Quarterback Owen Norrell ‘24 made successful passes to Lane Wood ‘24 and Grant Jaegar ‘23, who moved up the field swiftly, gaining several yardages for the team. Noticing that the Warriors had seen through their many passes, the Mavericks started getting feisty, leading to three yellow flags within the first 10 minutes. Using the extra yardages to their advantage and looking for gaps in the Maverick’s defense, the Warriors were able to score the first touchdown of the game through a quick pass from Norrell to Jaegar, who was standing on the goal line. The first quarter ended with a score of 7-0.

The team and spectators were anxious to see the second quarter as the Warriors have not done incredibly well in the past second quarters of the last few games. However, the team denounced the streak with consistent runs from Ananias Vance ‘24, who helped the Warriors obtain several first downs. Additionally, a lucky play was made by Jaegar, who dropped the ball after a Maverick kick but was able to fake out his opponents and gain 20 yards for the team. Although losing by a touchdown, the Mavericks were seemingly cocky, as they decided to make a run for a touchdown 15 yards away from the goal line during a fourth down instead of committing to a field kick. An unsuccessful pass close to the ground caused the Mavericks to end their first-half touchdown dream and led to the Warriors having the ball and stalling the remaining 1:30 of the half. The final score of the first half was 7-0.

“We did really well the first half,” Jerry DeBlois ‘23 said. “We did really well on defense and had a great start to our offense with a touchdown for us.”

The second half started with a 30-yard run from Vance, followed by a timeout by the Mavericks. It was clear that their cockiness had began to fall, and they were eager to score. Two minutes after returning to the field, the Mavericks made an interception, running 50 yards and marking their territory with a first down. Shortly after, the team made a touchdown, tying up the score 7-7. The Maverick touchdown created a slight stir for the Warriors as they began making inconsistent passes and fumbles. McNeil was able to come close to the touchdown line again, but instead of taking a field kick during a fourth down, they once again decided to test their luck to score a touchdown. Although unsuccessful, a yellow flag allowed the team to redo their play. Finally learning from their past experiences, the Maverick kicker kicked the ball for a field goal but was deflected from a strategic Warrior defense lineup. The third quarter ended  7-7.

Tensions arose as the teams began the last quarter. Cheers from both sides and the announcers rose exponentially, creating additional pressure on both sides. However, in the first minute of the quarter, Vance ran and scored a touchdown, breaking the tie with a score of 14-7. During a Maverick second down, Scott Uffelman ‘24 caught an interception, gaining 30 yards for the team. A few minutes later, the Mavericks did the same, pushing the ball up their side by 10 yards. With swift and consistent passes, the Mavericks moved the ball up the field and scored a touchdown. Instead of taking a field goal, the Mavericks went for the conversion, scoring an additional two points. With the score of 15-14 blistering on the scoreboard, many Warriors fans groaned in disbelief and frustration. With just under four minutes remaining, the Warriors attempted to move the ball up the field and were successful during several fourth downs and runs. The team found themselves at a fourth down, 15 yards from the goalpost at four seconds. The Warriors called a timeout to discuss whether or not to run the play or to kick. After the team got onto the field, the Mavericks called out a timeout hoping to psych out the kicker. As both teams settled in, tensions arose, and all eyes were on Harris. The referee blew the whistle, and Harris made a kick at the ball, successfully kicking it through the goalpost, winning the game 17-15. The crowd erupted in cheers and groans from the Warrior and Maverick sides, respectively.

“Our resiliency [worked well today],” Coach Anthony Wood said. “Our kids fought. The second half has been our achilles heel these last three weeks. To see the way we got behind and struggled and then to see what they did to make that last drive: the kick, the field goal by Zach Harris, and then the defense. I mean it was a complete team effort to see our guys continue to play the way they did. Let’s see if we can turn one into two.”

The varsity football team will play next at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex on Friday, Oct. 21, for the homecoming game against Stony Point.