Sports: Bears Suffer Heartbreaking Loss to SHP on Homecoming Night
The M-A football team took on cross-town rival Sacred Heart Prep on Homecoming night Friday in a hard fought, defensive battle. Despite getting out to the early lead, the SHP Gators were able to come back with some late game heroics and rob the Bears of a sure victory.
After receiving the opening kickoff, M-A come out with intensity. Covering 35 yards in just two plays, the electric Bears’ offense fired up the packed M-A stands. Using a wildcat setup, M-A capitalized on confusion from the SHP defense, and found themselves inside the ten yard line just four minutes into the game. However, the Gators came up with a big goal line stand, stopping M-A on the one yard line.
Now holding ball deep in their own territory, the Gators found themselves in a tough situation. M-A’s defense answered the opponents quickly, as senior Quinn Sweetnam tackled the SHP running back in his own endzone for the safety. The defensive stop gave the Bears and early 2-0 lead and the momentum moving forward in the game.
Upon receiving the safety punt, the M-A went back to work. In just as dominant showing as in the first possession, the Bears marched down field unopposed. Sweetnam came back on offense to catch a 20 yard pass from quarterback Brian Keare on the three yard line. The Bears soon punched it in on a one yard touchdown run from Isiah Nash.
Both defenses continued to play strong through the second quarter, not giving up anything easy. M-A made a final push with under a minute left in the half, but the clock proved too much to overcome, and they settled for a field goal to put them up 12-0 at half.
Despite the strong momentum going into halftime, the Bears came out flat in the second half. Though they kept SHP off the scoreboard for the third quarter, the Gators were building on their strong passing game. In addition, Nash went down on a questionable hit from an SHP defender. The loss of one of their leading offensive and defensive players deflated the M-A bench greatly.
The momentum finally shifted in the beginning of the fourth quarter, when M-A turned the ball over deep in their own territory, and the Gators scored their first touchdown of the game.
However, the Bears would not go down without a fight. The Bears marched upfield, led by big runs from senior Brian Jaggers. But the Gators had other plans, forcing a fumble to give them back the ball with just over four minutes left.
Needing a stop to secure their lead, the M-A defense with one goal in mind: get the ball back. But the Gators would not be stopped, converting two fourth and short situations to revitalize their team. The drive culminated with an SHP touchdown and two point conversion to give them the three point 15-12 lead with one minute left.
Receiving the ball on their own 31, the Bears had a long way to go before they could score. Big catches by Oliver Bucca and Spiro Papadakis gave M-A life, bringing them to the 28 with just twelve seconds to go. Lining up for the field goal to send the game to overtime, the crowded stands tensely awaited the final play.
Unfortunately for M-A, the field goal attempt was just barely short, and the game ended with a final score of 15-12.
The game was hard fought from both sides, but ultimately penalties and turnovers proved detrimental for the Bears. Despite the tough loss, M-A looks to come back with a win over Sequoia next Friday under the lights at Coach Parks Field.