Bishop Dwenger made the gutsy call to go for the two-point conversion in triple overtime, but Homestead proved that it was up to the challenge, halting Saints quarterback Brenden Lytle short of the goal line to win 35-34 Friday at Homestead.
“At the beginning of overtime, coaches came to the center of the field and we just said, 'This is fun,'” said Homestead coach Shawn Harkness, who was serving as head coach while Chad Zolman is in district-ordered quarantine. “Both teams were playing lights out, as hard as they can play. It was unbelievable, and just a lot of fun.”
Homestead had the ball first in triple overtime, and on the first play as senior running back Braeden Hardwick ran the ball all 10 yards for the score. The extra point put the Spartans (3-1) up 35-28.
When the Saints (3-1) got their chance, Lytle rolled to his right and heaved the ball to the end zone. One of his receivers was already falling and couldn't catch it, but junior wide receiver Rocco Ciocca dived in front, landing with the ball in the end zone. But instead of kicking the extra point and heading to quadruple overtime, the Saints opted to go for two.
“That was unbelievable. Truly a team effort: Defense did their part, offense at the end did theirs,” said Homestead wide receiver Nate Anderson, who scored both of Homestead's touchdowns in regulation. “A heck of a game for both teams.”
It was an exhilarating end to a game that was scoreless at halftime.
The Saints had their best chance to score in the final minute of the first half, as Lytle hit junior wide receiver Henry O'Keefe with a 54-yard pass. But on the final play of the half, Lytle was intercepted by senior safety Graham Kollen in the end zone.
After a stagnate first half for both sides, Homestead picked up the pace in the second half. The Spartans finally broke up the scoreless deadlock with an 8-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Evan Ormsby, which hit Anderson by the Spartans' sideline just as he was crossing into the end zone.
A few minutes later, a pass by Ormsby was deflected and caught by Bishop Dwenger lineman Vincent Fiacable. That drive concluded at 10:47 in the fourth quarter with what was technically a 4-yard touchdown carry by junior running back Gavin Groves, but what was really more like a full-team dog pile that pushed Groves the final few feet into the end zone.
Bishop Dwenger needed much less time to pick up its second touchdown, as Lytle hit Jack Tippmann with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 4:49 to go in the game.
The Saints now led 14-7, but in the dying minutes of regulation Ormsby and the Spartans pulled out a full-field drive, and with 35 seconds remaining Ormsby aired out a 32-yard pass to Anderson along the Bishop Dwenger sideline, who sailed into the end zone and windmilled his free arm in excitement.
“I was in shock,” Anderson said. “Evan threw a great ball to me, I caught it. Offensive line did their part, everyone did their part. We came together, and I was just shocked.”
Ethan Chambers caught the touchdown pass from Ormsby in the first overtime, and the Saints scored in their first overtime try by handing the ball to Fiacable, who took the ball for the final yard or so.
Lytle scored for Bishop Dwenger in the second overtime on a QB sneak, and Hardwick scored for Homestead on a 2-yard carry.