It was a slippery, mud-stained game, and each penalty, turnover or possession change seemed like it would be the difference.
But it was a two-point conversion attempt stuffed in overtime that finally ended it as St. Pius X outlasted rival O’Hara 21-20 Friday at home.
The Celtics elected to go for the win after quarterback Michael Briggs scored on a 2-yard keeper, but St. Pius X stopped Larry Boswell on his first and second efforts at the goal line, putting an end to a heated, penalty-filled game played with the temperature in the upper 30s.
“Our kids were so beat up, we wanted to make sure we had a chance to win it,” O’Hara coach Jim DeMarea said of the choice to go for two. “We had momentum behind us.”
Instead, it was the 2-yard overtime TD run by Warriors’ quarterback Marshall Mason—and Daniel Hoambrecker extra point—that won it for St. Pius X, 4-4.
St. Pius X held on after giving up a 14-0 halftime lead and just missed getting the dramatic win in regulation.
Hoambrecker’s 31-yard field goal off high snap and a muddy placement was on target, but it bounced off the crossbar with 9 seconds left in the game.
O’Hara, 4-4, overcame two apparent touchdowns called back by holding penalties, using a pair of St. Pius X turnovers to tie the game 14-14 early in the fourth.
Bosworth’s 14-yard run with 1:15 left in the third made it 14-7 as O’Hara capitalized on a tipped Mason pass intercepted by Austin Evans.
Gerard Harker evened the score 30 seconds into the fourth with an 18-yard TD run that capped a drive ignited by a Warriors fumble.
With both offenses mired by the field conditions in the first half, St. Pius X relied on field position to do its damage.
Nicholas Kelliher 41-yard punt return put the Warriors inside the O’Hara 20 for the first time in the final minute of the first quarter.
On fourth-and-three at the O’Hara 10, Mason’s fade to the back left corner of the end zone was corralled by the outstretched right hand of towering 6-foot-7 tight end Kyle Deters, putting the Warriors ahead 7-0 with 10:31 left in the first half.
St. Pius X needed just three plays to score in the final minute of the half after recovering an O’Hara fumble—the first turnover of the game—at the Celtics 31. Gabe Akalugwu scored on a 6-yard run with 53 seconds left in the half.