GOUVERNEUR — Everything that is good about high school football was on display at Coach LaFalce Field in Gouverneur on Saturday as the host Wildcats shaded the Ogdensburg Free Academy Blue Devils 29-28 in overtime.
Both teams entered the contest at 3-0 in Northern Athletic Conference play and both came from behind on a still, warm afternoon before a standing-room-only crowd, which lined the fence on both sides of the field.
The only negative was that one team had to lose.
The Blue Devils pulled into a 22-22 tie with 5 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on a six-yard run by Drew Costello and a two-point conversion pass from Tristan Lovely to a sliding Justice McIntyre in the front of the end zone. OFA also later forced a Gouverneur punt with 46 seconds left and moved the ball to the Gouverneur 11 on a 32-yard pass from Lovely to Connor Graveline and a 17-yard option pass from Adam Calton to McIntrye.
With one second to play, a strong Gouverneur rush blocked an attempt for a game-winning 31-yard field goal in regulation.
OFA regrouped quickly in overtime and scored on a nine-yard pass from Lovely to Adam Calton but a passing attempt for the two-point conversion failed. Gouverneur answered with a seven-yard wide run by Kyle Savage, who followed with the decisive extra-point kick.
“Two years ago we played a double overtime game with Potsdam and it ended in the same way with Kyle kicking an extra point. Some of our other guys have experience in overtime and we have a lot of gamers on this team,” said Gouverneur coach Sean Devlin.
The Wildcats have emerged as the final NAC unbeaten with three games remaining in the season and as the top Class C seed in the Section 10.
“Our games with OFA are always like a chess match,” he added. “We both kind of know what the other is going to do and it is just a matter of getting an edge. This was a great football game.”
Earning the top Class C seed, Gouverneur earned the right to host the sectional title game should the Wildcats advance through the semifinals in the class, which also includes OFA, St. Lawrence Central and Canton.
OFA coach Matt Tessmer believed that his team showed the ability to play its way back to a possible rematch.
“I hate the score but I love the effort. We asked the guys to come here and play tough for four quarters and they did. We came close but it didn’t go our way,” Tessmer said.
“We just need to keep getting better and cut down on our mistakes and we can get back here and try to reverse that score.”
The Devils opened the scoring on Saturday on a 41-yard drive after a fumble recovery by Drew Piercey. Lovely scored on a fourth down one-yard sneak and found Calton for the two-point conversion.
Gouverneur answered with a 14-8 halftime lead as quarterback Holden Storie scored on a one-yard sneak and then found Carter Baer perfectly in stride for a 61-yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats converted the first touchdown when Caden Storie recovered a fumble in the end zone.
OFA tied the score in the third quarter when Costello raced 60 yards to the end zone after the running back and Lovely combined on a perfectly timed pass reception. Gouverneur answered with a ball-control drive centered around Savage’s running at quarterback, and he capped the drive with a one-yard run. Carter Baer added the conversion run for a 22-14 lead, which set up the dramatic finish to regulation and overtime.
“I think we showed today that we have the kind of the team that won’t give up and keep pushing when we get tired,” said Savage, who rushed for 115 yards on 20 carries and intercepted a pass on defense. “It was a tough game today and we were tired but we didn’t let up.
“Two years ago I kicked an extra point to win a game in overtime. So I felt comfortable. OFA was a tough team and we knew this was going to be a challenge.”
Lovely completed six of 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns and sparked a late defensive surge for OFA with two tackles for a loss and a quarterback sack.
CANTON 26, ST. LAWRENCE 22
Zach VanBrocklin rushed for 204 yards with touchdown runs of 10 and four yards as the Golden Bears held off the Larries in an NAC matchup at Canton.
Rhett Palmer added a 41-yard scoring run while Colin Parmeter scored the eventual game-winning score on a one-yard TD plunge for Canton (1-2).
Ashton Adams carried the ball 11 times for 153 yards and a 66-yard TD run while Ashton Beach caught a 70-yard scoring pass from Tommy Storrin for St. Lawrence Central (0-4).
MALONE 30, POTSDAM 0
Logan Peck and Cayden Carter each scored two rushing touchdowns as the Huskies defeated Potsdam (0-4) in an NAC game in Malone.
Peck finished with 100 rushing yards for Malone (1-2) and Carter gained 72.
DOLGEVILLE 36, SANDY CREEK 7
Jared Bilinski ran eight times for 117 yards and two touchdowns as the Blue Devils beat the Comets in a Section 3 Class D interdivision game at Dolgeville.
Bilinski scored on runs of four and 64 yards while Gregory Gonyea Jr. added 95 yards and a 40-yard score for Dolgeville (5-0).
Mason Ennist notched a touchdown for Sandy Creek (1-3) on a one-yard run.
SYRACUSE ITC 46, SOUTH JEFFERSON 21
Syracuse Institute of Technology (2-3, 2-1) cruised to a win over the Spartans in a Class B West Division game in Syracuse on Friday night.
Quarterback Cobin O’Brien threw a pair of touchdown passes for South Jefferson (0-5, 0-3), one to Derrick Sciarabba and another to Cyren Washington, and William Littell ran for a touchdown.
CANASTOTA 26, LOWVILLE 16
Devon Youker returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring and spark the Raiders (3-2, 3-1) past the Red Raiders to win a Class C2 Division game in Canastota on Friday night.
Max Makuch returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown for Lowville (1-4, 1-3) and Sean Kelly scored on a two-yard run in the fourth quarter. Kelly paced the Red Raiders on the ground with 65 yards on 19 carries and quarterback Elijah Englehart completed six of 11 passes for 84 yards.
ADIRONDACK 53, BEAVER RIVER 0
Ray Hennessey rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns as the visiting Wildcats rolled to victory over the Beavers in a Class D North-West Division game in Beaver Falls on Friday night.
Brett Sanford ran for 54 yards and two touchdowns for Adirondack (5-0, 3-0), which built a 33-0 lead by halftime against Beaver River (2-3, 0-2).