Late Field Goal Sinks Redhawks

Westwood’s Trayshawn Miller (52) and Ellis Hawkins (45) can’t get a handle on York quarterback Ethan Mitchell. (Photo/Ross Burton)

Westwood’s Trayshawn Miller (52) and Ellis Hawkins (45) can’t get a handle on York quarterback Ethan Mitchell. (Photo/Ross Burton)

BLYTHEWOOD (Oct. 18, 2016) – In the last seconds of the game Friday night, the York Cougars scored a distant field goal to nip the Redhawks 10-8 in a region matchup.

Although touted as a close game, Westwood head coach Dustin Curtis was wary, coming off a most disappointing loss to Lancaster last week.

“We hope to make it a close game, they have a great coach in coach Bobby Carroll,” Curtis said before kickoff. “Players on both teams are hungry. We need to limit our mistakes and make plays when we need to make plays.”

The game began as a defensive contest on both sides. The first quarter consisted of three and a punt on both sides, and nobody could connect for big plays. The lack of a kicking game continued to haunt the Redhawks because several times they worked the ball down to field goal range, but had to run the plays on fourth down. Ultimately, the kicking game would make the difference in winning or losing.

Mistakes also contributed to the low scoring early in the game. In the first minutes, Rashawn Green, the Westwood quarterback, fumbled into the hands of York’s J.T. Sanders. Their good luck was wasted when York’s quarterback was sacked and the Cougars had to punt.

Early in the second quarter, Westwood moved the ball close to the York red zone, and on a third down play, came within a yard of the first down. On fourth-and-1, the Westwood punt unit came onto the field. Faking the punt, the Redhawks crashed through the York line for the first down. The good fortune did not last long, however, when an attempted Westwood pitch was fumbled and recovered by Joe’terrious Wade of York.

Facing second-and-14 just inside Westwood territory, Ethan Mitchell completed a pass to Jae’vion Matthews who was stopped on the Westwood 2-yard line. With only 2 yards to cover for the Cougar touchdown, the Redhawk defense needed to get tough in a hurry. They did just that, and after two plays in a row where York was thrown for a loss, York managed to connect with Shandon Cobb for the six. Myles Prosser split the goalposts, giving the Cougars a 7-0 lead with 2:20 to go in the half.

After the score, Westwood worked the ball to their own 47-yard line, but that’s as far as they would go in their last drive of the half. With fourth down and four on their own 47-yard line, they set up in punt formation, and faked the punt again. The pass attempt was incomplete, and York took over the ball on downs and ran out the last few seconds of the half.

The second half kickoff had Westwood kicking to York. Westwood tried for the onside kick, and at first it looked like they were successful, but the officials gave the ball to York. Continuing pressure by the Redhawk defense on Mitchell caused him to rush his pass, which was intercepted by Westwood’s Amare Barno on the York 45 yard line. Westwood couldn’t make good use of the York turnover, however, and found themselves in a fourth down situation and short. Without the field goal kicker they desperately needed, they were forced to go for it, but fell short of the first down.

Westwood knocked on York’s door on their next possession. A long pass to Cortes Branham gets the Redhawks down to the York 30-yard line. A couple of penalties on each team ensued, ultimately leaving Westwood with a first-and-10 on the York 15-yard line. A further pass interference call on the Cougars placed Westwood on the York 8, with a first down and 3:34 to go in the quarter. Again, the lack of a field goal kicker hurt Westwood, who came away empty handed on its promising possession.

The last quarter began slowly, and picked up speed in the last six minutes. The Redhawks started connecting, completing a couple of passes to Kaden Briggs, each for a first down. Bradlee Nelson grabbed a handoff and ran the ball to the York 39-yard line. Two more successful pass plays from Elijah Heatley to Briggs brought the ball to the York 17-yard line. Heatley again connected with Nelson for the score. Westwood took the lead in the game when Brian Horn effortlessly carried the ball across the goal line for the 2-point conversion with 5:27 to go in the game.

Westwood, who’s defense had been tough all night, had a hard time containing a charging York team who was obviously not content to lose by one point. They made it to the Westwood 6-yard line but they were stopped short of the touchdown. The field goal unit came out with 2:26 to go in the game. Horn was again the playmaker, blocking the filed goal with 2:23 to go in the game. All Westwood had to do was get a couple of first downs and run the clock out on the Cougars.

Unfortunately, the Redhawks had to punt it away, giving York one more chance to score. Mitchell blasted a long one to Matthews in the Redhawk red zone. They got a couple more on a handoff, but with 13 seconds on the clock, the field goal unit came back onto the field to attempt a 23-yard field goal. A penalty against Westwood moved the ball a little closer, and Prosser had no trouble completing this one for the three. Time ran out of the Redhawks with the scoreboard reading 10-8 York.

This Friday, Westwood will look for their third victory against Ridge View for an away conference game.

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