A 5-yard touchdown run, set up by a fourth-down pass interference call on Columbia High, earned King’s Way a stunning 27-21 double-overtime victory here last Friday, in CHS’s homecoming game.
Columbia trailed the 1A Trico League game 14-0 at halftime and 14-6 after three quarters. The Bruins tallied two passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, however, to tie the game at 21-21.
The second TD, created by Trenton Howard’s running after the catch, came with no time showing on the clock.
Bruins Coach John Hallead signaled for a 2-point conversion try, but King’s Way called time out in an attempt to ice CHS kicker Cesar Isordia, who’d missed his first point-after try.
“I then let the players choose to play in overtime or go for the win, and they told me, ‘We train for overtime,’” Hallead said, “so we decided to kick the PAT.”
King’s Way got the ball first in overtime but turned the ball over on downs after gaining 5 yards from the 25-yard line.
CHS moved the ball to the King’s Way 11 following runs of 12 and 2 yards by Bucklin. A fumble on third-and-8 cost the Bruins 11 yards and forced CHS to attempt a game-winning field goal.
William Gross spotted the snap at the 29 for Isordia, whose kick sailed wide left of the uprights.
Columbia got the ball first in the second overtime. The series last only three plays as Adam Goodwillie’s third-and-9 pass from the 24 got intercepted. An official blew the play dead with the change of possession, negating an attempted return by the Knights.
In its turn, King’s Way mustered 4 yards on three rushing plays and faced a fourth-and-6 from the 21.
The Knights threw it on fourth down over the middle in pursuit of a drive-saving first down. A CHS defender and King’s Way receiver crossed paths near the 5-yard line. The receiver fell down and the back official threw a flag for pass interference on the defender.
“Obviously, we are not happy with the pass interference call on fourth down in the second overtime,” Hal-lead said. “Our player made a great break on the ball and the King’s Way receiver tripped over his feet. It should have been a no call.”
That said, five fumbles and one interception did not help Columbia’s case for another Trico victory.
“Each of the series where we turned the ball over, we had a lot of momentum and should have scored in at least one of the possessions, but very easily could have in five or six,” Hallead said.
He added, “It’s a killer whether you are playing a 1-5 team or a 5-1 team. You just simply cannot with with that many turnovers.”
The Bruins lost two fumbles in the first 3:23 of the fourth quarter: one at their own 34, the second at King’s Way’s 27. CHS trailed only 14-6 both times.
In between those ill-fated possessions, Howard intercepted a pass over the deep middle and returned it 12 yards to the CHS 27.
Twice in the first half the Bruins started drives from their 4-yard line. The first time, Myles Moon broke up a pass play in the end zone on fourth-and-goal.
CHS managed 1 yard in three plays before Isordia punted from his end zone. King’s Way’s return man muffed the reception and fell on the ball at the CHS 43.
The Knights scored on a short run on the 10th play of the drive, kicked the PAT, and led 7-0 with 3:25 left in the first quarter.
Columbia had good field position for its second drive, at its 32, after Moon recovered a squibbed kickoff.
The Bruins held the ball first-and-10 at their 45 following a 10-yard run by Tylan Webster. They lost a fumble and turned the ball over on the ensuing play.
The second time the Bruins started deep in their own end came after a defensive stand at their 41. King’s Way dropped a punt inside the CHS 5 and the Knights touched it down at the 4.
A King’s Way face-mask penalty on third-and-1 moved the ball out of the shadows of the uprights, to the CHS 18. Eventually, Columbia advanced the ball into the Knights’ half of the field.
Key plays included a 15-yard run by Howard and a 17-yard catch-and-run by Howard, via a short pass by Bucklin.
The Bruins converted on third-and-1 with a short run by Howard that gave CHS a first down at the King’s Way 39.
Columbia lost a fumble on first down and King’s Way recovered at its 36-yard line. The Knights hit a big pass play on third-and-9 from midfield to extend their lead to double digits.
The Bruins got on the scoreboard with 4:25 left in the third quarter, on a 12-yard scoring run by Bucklin.
CHS tied the game at 14-14 with 5:33 to go in the game on 12-yard pass from Adam Goodwillie to Isordia. Goodwillie also completed the equalizing pass for 2-point conversion to Howard.
King’s Way answered on the following drive, going 80 yards in 11 plays for the go-ahead touchdown. The drive consumed 4:40 of game clock and left the Bruins with 45 seconds to work more comeback magic.
They did. Starting first-and-10 from their 29, the Bruins marched the distance in six plays and 44 seconds.
Howard took a pass from Goodwillie on second-and-10, and through some nifty back and forth running, found the end zone with :00 on the clock.
The key play in the drive was a masterful catch by William Gross that gained 23 yards on second-and-14 from midfield.
Howard finished with six receptions for 67 yards, and ran nine times for 43 yards.
Bucklin carried a career-high 27 times for a career-high 121 yards, and completed 3-of-3 passes for 24 yards.
Goodwillie threw for 80 yards and two scores on 5-of-9 passing.
As a team, CHS ran for 225 yards and passed for 104.
Coming up: The Bruins are at the La Center Wildcats on Friday to play for a shot at the 2017 Trico League championship. Kickoff of La Center’s Senior Night game is set for 7 p.m.
“La Center will be a tremendous challenge for us,” Hallead said. “They are a high-scoring, high-yardage offense. We will need to clean up a lot of mistakes defensively to play competitively.”
Hallead said the Bruins will need to throw the ball more often “to soften defenses up, or they will continue to load the box against our potent running game.”
He added, “Although we ran for 225 yards [against King’s Way], we had numerous opportunities for big plays killed by fumbles.”