• Val T.

RHS goes down ‘swinging:’ Mac trick play on 2-point conversion in OT drops Zebras to 0-7

Kelly scores 3 TDs for RHS in loss


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

BUNKER HILL –- Jared Blake had a 10-yard touchdown run and the game-winning two-point conversion run in overtime to give the Maconaquah football team a 29-28 win over visiting Rochester Friday.

Landon Kelly ran for two touchdowns and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown, but the Zebras were unable to hold a 14-point second-half lead and dropped to 0-7 overall and 0-7 in Three Rivers Conference play.

RHS was playing in their first overtime game in almost exactly 10 years. They beat North Miami 27-21 in overtime on Oct. 15, 2010.

Senior quarterback Nolan Kelly caught a touchdown pass and also ran for a score for Maconaquah, who improved to 4-3, 4-3. They are 4-0 against the Zebras since becoming conference rivals in 2015.

Nolan Kelly had 72 yards passing, 28 yards receiving, 86 yards rushing and seven tackles on defense. Carter Little ran for 127 yards and a touchdown and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Nolan Kelly.

RHS got the ball first in overtime. Landon Kelly scored on a 10-yard run, and Kaleb Shaffer tacked on the extra point – he was four for four on the night – to give RHS a 28-21 lead.

Blake then scored from the 10 on Maconaquah’s first offensive snap of overtime.

Maconaquah then went to their swinging gate formation, which is typical after all Braves touchdowns. Except this time, the gate didn’t swing. The ball was directly snapped to Blake, who followed the wall to the goal line. He was initially stopped but struggled forward and crossed the goal line for the game-winning two-pointer.

Though RHS coach Sean Kelly said the team prepared for the possibility of Maconaquah attempting a two-point conversion out of the swinging gate, he also said they tried to call timeout prior to the snap, but the officials didn’t see the timeout call in time.

Maconaquah first-year coach Brad Purcell said his team practices that play frequently.

“We’ve been repping that since we put specialty teams in,” Purcell said. “The same day we put PAT (point after touchdown) in, we put that in as well. We were having trouble stopping them obviously. They were gouging us, and I figured that was our one opportunity to just control it, so we decided to go with it.”

With the game tied 21-21, Maconaquah had a chance to win the game in their final drive of regulation after a 44-yard pass from Nolan Kelly to Brayden Betzner deep down the middle of the field got the Braves to the Rochester 12. Maconaquah used their final timeout with 10.4 seconds left, but Richie Leary missed a 29-yard field goal try wide to the left.

RHS then took a knee on the final play of regulation.

RHS had themselves a chance to win the game in the final two minutes of regulation with the game tied at 21. On the 14th play of a drive that started at the Zebra 20 and melted more than seven minutes off the clock, RHS decided to go for it on fourth-and-6 from the Maconaquah 21. Kelly ran hard to the right but was stopped a half-yard short of the first down at the Maconaquah 15 with 1:42 left.

Coach Kelly did not like where the officials spotted the ball on Landon Kelly’s run. Had officials given Rochester the first down, it would likely have denied Maconaquah another possession in regulation time.

“I thought he was across the line, but if you look at the end of the play, I thought he was across the line, and they marked the football on this side of the line, and it ends up that short,” RHS coach Sean Kelly said. “So I didn’t think it was a very good spot myself.”

With wind gusts and occasional spitting rain, the 44-yard pass from Nolan Kelly to Betzner was the only pass either team attempted after halftime.

Leading 21-7 at halftime, RHS opened the second half with an 11-play drive that stalled at the Maconaquah 20.

The Braves then countered with their own 11-play drive then ended with a score, even despite a Maconaquah holding penalty on the drive. Nolan Kelly had runs of 29 and 17 yards on the drive – the 17-yarder came on a bootleg to the left – that got the Braves to the RHS 6.

Kelly scored three plays later on a 15-yard run.

After a RHS three-and-out that ended with a Shaffer punt into a strong gust on the first play of the fourth quarter, Maconaquah drove 49 yards in six plays for the tying score.

Little had runs of 11 and 17 yards to get to the RHS 21. Blake had a 13-yard run on third-and-7 to get to the RHS 5. Little then followed with a 5-yard touchdown run, and Leary added the extra point to tie the game with 8:57 left.

“Little’s just a heck of a back, and they started pounding him up in there, and they’ve got some big boys up front there, and they started driving our defensive line back a little bit there in the second half where in the first half, we were pretty much stalemating them and making plays,” coach Kelly said. “But overall, I thought our kids played really hard and really well.”

Antonio Schlosser started at quarterback for RHS, and the junior contributed to RHS’ first scoring drive, starting right and cutting back left on a 20-yard run to start the drive and later adding an 11-yard completion to Braxton Mencias on third-and-11 to give RHS a first-and-goal at the Maconaquah 3. He later finished the drive with a 1-yard run to give RHS a 7-0 lead.

RHS then recovered a pooch kickoff at the Maconaquah 34. Landon Kelly followed with runs of 29 and 5 yards, the second of which went for a touchdown.

Shaffer’s extra point gave RHS a 14-0 lead.

“It just took us until the last game of the year here, but finally we got some consistency in our lineup,” coach Kelly said. “We’re coming off the football well. We’re able to run some different things there as far as some inside zone plays. We’re coming off the ball, and he’s hitting it well, and obviously he’s a threat we didn’t have throughout the year that when he hits the seam and he bounces something, he could be gone. That’s a big thing. For five or six games, we didn’t have that.”

After an exchange of three-and-out possessions, Maconaquah drove 47 yards for a touchdown with fullback Little throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass to Nolan Kelly behind the safety for a touchdown that cut the lead to 14-7 with 45 seconds left in the half.

But Landon Kelly charged the ensuing short kickoff and outraced the Maconaquah coverage unit down the right sideline for a 78-yard touchdown to make it 21-7 with 33 seconds left in the half.

In addition to the kickoff return for a touchdown, he also ran for 158 yards, had a 2-yard reception and had 11 tackles on defense from his safety spot.

“He’s a heck of a player,” Purcell said of Landon Kelly. “He played well on both sides of the ball. Running the football, he’s extremely patient, a scat guy. He does a good job of getting skinny and finding holes. Heck, we had a heck of a time trying to tackle him. He did a really good job. He’s a good player.”

Alex Deming added 38 yards rushing for RHS. Noah Swango led the defense with 17 tackles. Marshall Fishback had 11 tackles, and Deming had 10. Brady Beck and Mencias each recovered a fumble.

Maconaquah 29, Rochester 28 (OT)

Rochester 0 21 0 0 7 28

Maconaquah 0 7 7 7 8 29

First quarter

(no scoring)

Second quarter

RHS – Antonio Schlosser 1 run (Kaleb Shaffer kick)

RHS – Landon Kelly 5 run (Shaffer kick)

MAC – Nolan Kelly 28 pass from Carter Little (Richie Leary kick)

RHS – L. Kelly 78 kickoff return (Shaffer kick)

Third quarter

MAC – N. Kelly 15 run (Leary kick)

Fourth quarter

MAC – Little 5 run (Leary kick)

Overtime

RHS – L. Kelly 10 run (Shaffer kick)

MAC – Jared Blake 10 run (Blake run)



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