The difference between winning and losing a high school football game can be three or four plays. And, that’s just what happened in Granville’s loss to visiting Mechanicville High School last week.
The Horde led the Red Raiders 26-14 with 5:06 left. On a fourth-and-one play at the Granville 43-yard line, Mechanicville fumbled the ball and recovered it two yards downfield to keep its drive alive. Then, the Raiders connected on a 15-yard pass, moving the ball to the Horde 26. A draw play and a personal foul on Granville moved the ball to the Horde 4-yard line. Chris Delossantos bulled in for a Raider touchdown to get Mechanicville within 26-20 with 3:02 left. A blocked pointafter followed the 52-yard, 7-play drive.
Logan O’Brien recovered a Raider onside kick at midfield. But, Granville couldn’t close out the win. On fourth-and-two, Horde punter Ronnie Taylor put the ball at the Mechanicville 10-yard line with 2:18 left.
Three Raider incomplete passes brought up a fourth-and-ten play. Mechanicville hit on a pass near the right sideline to get to the Raider 27-yard line. An incomplete pass and a draw play to Delossantos forced Mechanicville to call their final timeout. Another incomplete pass brought up a fourth-and-six play at the Raider 31. Again, Mechanicville converted on a pass to bring the ball to its own 46-yard line. Then, an intentional grounding penalty left Mechanicville with a third-and-fifteen situation. Delossantos hauled in another pass and lumbered down the right sideline, getting to the Horde 30-yard line. Less than a minute remained with neither team having a timeout.
With the clock winding down, Raider quarterback Brandon Russell dropped back and found Alex Hall-St. Gelais wide open over the middle. Hall-St. Gelais, not having to break stride, sprinted to the end zone with :50 to play to complete the 12-play, 90-yard game tying drive. Jake Henes’s point after put Mechanicville ahead 27-26.
The Raiders tried an onsides kick, but Granville recovered at its own 46-yard line. A pass completion to Horde running back Evan Hoagland got Granville a first down at the Mechanicville 41. Granville quarterback Jacob Young scrambled to the Raider 36-yard line. Two incomplete passes brought up a fourth-and-five play at the Raider 36-yard line. A slightly overthrown incomplete pass with :22 to play let the Raiders(3-1) take a final snap and walk away with a hard fought 27-26 win.
Raider coach Kevin Collins had this to say about the big win. “We had a lot of young kids step in and play positions they weren’t familiar with. We had some injuries. There is a big learning curve for our young kids. We knew we had to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We were confident we could come out with a win.”
Horde senior linebacker/right guard John Travis saw things a bit different. “I thought we played hard. We saw it as a win too early. We hurt ourselves on penalties, which set ourselves back. There were some tough calls. It was hard for us to make a comeback. We tried.”
Mechanicville took a 6-0 lead when they took the opening kickoff and moved 65 yards in eleven plays. Russell hit Noah Harpe with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 8:18 left in the quarter. Henes’ point after made it 7-0. Granville began to get a heavy dose of Delossantos, which would continue for the remainder of the game.
The Horde(1-3) came back and tied the score with 5:16 left in the first quarter. Young, a junior signal caller, rolled left and hit senior wide out Jacob Halterman with a 5-yard touchdown pass pass. Jacob Greinke’s point after tied the score at 7-7.
Next, with 3:25 left in the first half, Russell hit Hall-St. Gelais with a short pass near the left sideline. A broken tackle turned into a 75-yard touchdown catch and run. Henes’ point after put the Raiders ahead 14-7.
Granville tied the score with a 5-play, 69-yard scoring drive with 1:32 left in the half. On a third-and-22 play, Young found Ronnie Taylor wide open over the middle, which the speedy junior turned into a 57-yard touchdown catch. Greinke’s point after tied the score at 14-14. A Horde fumble recovery and Raider interception ended the half.
Granville took the lead with a 7-play, 66-yard scoring drive. With 10:19 left in the third quarter, Hoagland swept left for the final 10 yards and the score. A missed point after attempt put the Horde ahead 20-14.
Granville’s Brendan Ricketts, who earlier recovered a Horde fumble, intercepted a Raider pass to set up the Horde’s final touchdown. A 7-play, 41-yard drive was capped off when Hoagland, running right, reversed his field and out sprinted the defense to the left pylon. The conversion run failed, leaving Granville ahead 26-14. Mechanicville then made their comeback.
Horde coach Mario Torres had this to say about the tough loss. “Our inability to convert turnovers into points hurt us. We were plus four on turnovers and had field position. I don’t think we put forth a very good half of football. Our kids played not to lose instead of playing to win. We’ve got to get over that hump of playing to win. We didn’t take care of business.”
About next Friday night’s home game versus Catholic Central Torres said, “Catholic Central has a shifty quarterback on offense. They are coming here to beat us.”