Last-second field goal lifts Xavier past Staples
Updated 11:57 pm, Friday, September 12, 2014
Three-and-outs, turnovers and crucial penalties hindered both the Xavier and Staples football teams on Friday night in a game that would appeared it would require overtime for either team to score.
At the end of the night, it was a classic drive down the field that separated the two teams before the regulation horn sounded.
Senior kicker Andrew Verre hit a game-winning 19-yard field goal with 1.3 seconds left to lift Xavier past Staples 3-0 in the season-opener for both teams.
In a defensive struggle that had less than 75 yards of total offense combined in the first half, the Falcons (1-0) marched 78 yards on 11 plays in 3:18 to win the game.
"A lot of things can go wrong (on a field goal try)," Xavier coach Sean Marinan said. "I'm very happy for (Verre); he's a good kid. It was a nail-biter, an even game and it was going to come down to one score either way."
The longest play of the game turned out to be the most decisive. Falcons quarterback Michael Scherer scrambled for 33 yards on a crucial third-and-eight on the final drive. That, plus a 15-yard personal foul call at the end of the run, put Xavier in striking range. A few runs by running back Ted Duarte got the ball down to the 3-yard line, making it a chip shot for Verre.
"When you have to account for a quarterback that can run that puts a lot of pressure on your defense," Marinan said. "When you have an athlete like that who can make defenders miss in space a big play is going to happen at some point."
The Wreckers defense bottled up Scherer and Duarte for most of the night. Their front seven led by Jackson Ward and Will Newman helped control the line of scrimmage and keep Staples in the game while its offense was bottled up.
"They were dominant," Staples coach Marce Petroccio said of his defense. "I'm proud of the way they played; they hung in there as long as they could."
Xavier botched a field goal attempt in the second quarter that would have broken the scoreless tie. The Falcons drove to the two-yard line, but an intentional ground penalty and a botched snap prevented a score.
In his first start, Staples quarterback Teddy Coogan was harassed by Xavier's athletic defense. The longest play by the Wreckers was a 14-yard scramble by the senior.
One of Staples' best chance to score came late in the third quarter. The Wreckers worked the ball to the 50 and converted a pass down the middle to Owen Burke that would have placed the ball around the 35. An illegal procedure penalty wiped out the completion.
"We made too many mistakes, too many turnovers," Petroccio said. "It's gut-wrenching and heart-breaking."
Prior to the Falcons' final drive, the Wreckers had moved the ball to midfield with four minutes remaining. After converting a first down, Staples had a 1-yard run and a pair of incompletions and was forced to punt it away.
Xavier 3, Staples 0
XAVIER 0 0 0 0--3
STAPLES 0 0 0 0 -- 0
X--Andrew Verre 20 field goal
Records: Xavier 1-0; Staples 0-1.