In a largely defensive struggle, both teams drove the ball well in the fourth quarter.
First Tamarac punctuated a long drive with a one-yard quarterback dive by junior Dan Motzer. That came after Granville had held on fourth-and-short from the one. Although Granville made the stop short of the goal line, Tamarac got the first down a foot out and on the fifth try from about the 10, Motzer finally snuck across the line with 4:24 to play. He had also thrown for Tamarac’s first score, a 22-yarder to Adam Reiter with 5:12 left in the first half.
His fourth-quarter run made the score 12-8, but Tamarac was unsuccessful for the second time in the game on a two-point conversion attempt.
After the kickoff return to its own 40, Granville made one final push for the game.
On the day, junior running back Evan Hoagland ran for 140 yards on 19 carries, including a 73-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the second quarter, which he also converted for two points. On the final drive, he got outside for long first downs. First he got around the right side for 12 yards, then the left end for 28, going out of bounds at the five.
Then Tamarac’s defense stiffened. Hoagland got two yards off of left tackle, then was dropped for a loss at the 9 trying to get outside on the right. Facing third-and-goal, Granville let the clock run down to 33 seconds before taking a time out to set up two final shots at a touchdown.
But on the third-down play, sophomore defender David Bornt stepped in front of a crossing route on the goal line for the interception and the game.
“That one hurts,” said Mario Torres, Granville’s head coach. “That’s a really good football team. We squandered some opportunities. Defensively we played very well. We generated some turnovers, but we just didn’t finish. We physically beat them up; they’re gonna wake up tomorrow and know they played us. We just have to get better at finishing.”
Tamarac coach Eric Roadcap praised his team’s heart and senior leadership, particularly senior back Nick Arnold, who ran 19 times for 92 yards and caught three balls for 29 more, and senior receiver/safety Reiter, with four catches for 63 yards and a big game on defense.
“Granville played phenomenal,” Roadcap said. He was most impressed with senior captain Josh Scribner, who he said “dominated” the end of the line.
Granville’s Evan Hoagland and Elijah Fournier, who had a pair of interceptions and at least one big stop on Arnold, played a strong game.
“Both of those guys (Evan Hoagland and Elijah Fournier) are new,” said Torres. “Elijah is a transfer, and this is Evan’s first year. They make the other guys around them feel better.”
At 3-1 in the league (4-2 overall), Tamarac is in the playoffs, hoping for a high seed. The loss drops the Horde (0-4 league; 1-5 overall) out of contention. Corinth, at 1-4, holds the tiebreaker over Granville regardless of the league finale, to be played Friday night under the lights.