Oct 28, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Of all the ways the Christian Brothers Academy football team could have seen its Section III Class AA championship quest come to an end, it might have gone through the most painful one possible.
Less than 90 seconds from knocking off Rome Free Academy in last Friday’s AA opening-round game at Alibrandi Stadium, the Brothers saw the lead slip away — and then the game, too, in a 27-26 overtime decision.
As the Black Knights moved on to face Henninger in this Saturday’s AA semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse, CBA pondered where it had all gone wrong.
It didn’t help matters that, in the week leading up to the game, top two-way player Tre Williams got lost due to injury and could not play.
Worse yet, two team stalwarts, lineman Andy Phillips and running back Tom Trasolini, suffered injuries and would have limited roles. While other teams could afford to find capable replacement, CBA, with its small enrollment, just doesn’t have that luxury.
For all that, though, the Brothers threatened to bury RFA in the first half, racing out to a 13-0 advantage as its defense shut the Black Knights down.
Fajri Jackson opened the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, set up when RFA fumbled a punt on the preceding play.
Then quarterback Jared DePalma threw deep in the second quarter and found Bryant Moore, who caught the ball with one hand and broke two tackles on his way to a 63-yard scoring strike — but in a bit of foreshadowing, Doyle Judge missed the extra point.
Even with that mistake, the Brothers carried a 13-0 advantage to the break, but knew RFA would pose a new threat in the third quarter with the wind at its back.
Sure enough, the Black Knights, a 5-2 team whose pair of defeats came by a combined five points (to Baldwinsville and Henninger), began to stir in the third quarter.
After moving his team to CBA’s 10-yard line, RFA quarterback Mark Capponi threw to the end zone and found Josh Royce for his team’s first points. Minutes later, Capponi led another scoring drive and took the final yard himself, but yet another missed PAT meant that it was tied, 13-13, with one quarter to play.
Short-handed, and a bit fatigued, CBA still went back up 20-13 when DePalma scrambled out of the pocket and went 32 yards to the end zone.
That was still the case when, with 4:46 left, the Black Knights took possession with 4:46 left. All season long, CBA’s defense had made big stops. Now it had to do so one more time.
Capponi stayed cool, though, especially when, on fourth-down-and-eight, he hit Josh Royce on a 22-yard completion. The march, all told, covered 72 yards.
Just 1:14 before regulation ended, on third-down-and-goal, Capponi threw to the end zone and found Josh Royce. Just as importantly, Andy D’Amore made the extra point, and it was 20-20, bound for overtime.
During the OT period, each team gets one possession from the 20-yard line. RFA won the toss and made CBA go first, on offense, to see what was needed.
The Black Knights found out soon enough. Jackson, from RFA’s 14, broke free and found the end zone — only to watch, helplessly, as Judge’s PAT attempt get tipped at the line of scrimmage, no good. At this last moment, the Brothers’ struggles with the kicking game would catch up to them.
When RFA took its turn, it moved to the nine-yard line, then watched top running back Kyle Kimball go home for the TD. D’Amore didn’t miss his extra point, and RFA had won.