Patriots win 38-34 in final seconds over Trojans

Antwan Watson rushing for a big 45 yard TD. (Ron Morris)

The Independence Patriots football team showed true character and a never quit can do attitude on Friday night at their home stadium.  With just 10.6 seconds remaining in the contest, Patriots quarterback Luke McPhail connected on a 13 yard pass reception on a corner route to Brian Morgan for the game winner in an exciting comeback.

Patriots offensive line blocking for QB. (Ron Morris)

In the first period the Patriots scored first when McPhail connected with wide receiver Brian Morgan for a 35 yard completion to set-up first and ten from the six yard line.  Running back Antwan Watson would take the snap and rumble into the end for a 6-0 lead.  Ryan Howie made the PAT and Indy was up 7-0 with 10:00 minutes remaining in the first quarter.

After Olympic scored to make the score 7-6 in the second quarter, the Patriots defensive back Sean Pruitt made a key interception at midfield.  On a third down and one situation, McPhail would hand the ball off to Antwan Watson, who ran through a wide hole and scampered for a 41 yard touchdown.  The PAT was good by Howie and the Patriots led 14-6 at half time.

Antwan Watson scores touchdown for Patriots. (Ron Morris)

In the second half this game would go back and forth with seven lead changes with the Patriots coming out on top in the final seconds.  Olympic tied the game by returning the opening kick-off for a 78 yard touchdown and making the two point conversion for a 14-14 tie in less than one minute.

Zach Repak making tackle with help from teammate Dante Anderson. (Ron Morris)

Shai Wheeler would take the ensuing kick-off for a 55 yard return down to the Trojans 35 yard line.  After Antwan Watson would pick up a first down on a 15 yard gainer, the drive would stall at the 16 yard line.  Ryan Howie would connect on a 25 yard field goal to give Indy a 17-14 advantage.

Dillon Tweed pass blocking for QB Luke McPhail. (Ron Morris)

After the kick-off return to their own 43 yard line, on a first down play the Trojans would find the end zone on a burst up the middle for a 57 yard TD to take a 21-17 lead.  On the next possession the Patriots would score when Antwan Watson broke a few tackles and hit the open field for a 45 yard touchdown run.  Indy went for the two point conversion that worked beautifully when Trevor Brian on a hand off from McPhail hit a wide open Shi Wheeler in the end zone to take a 25-21 edge after three quarters.

In the fourth and final quarter this game became even more exciting.  Senior Zach Repak on a third and long made an outstanding solo tackle on the 15 yard line.  However, on fourth down the Trojans decided to go for the first down, this decision turned into a 15 yard touchdown scamper into the end zone to give the visitors a 28-25 upper hand.

Shai “Wheels” Wheeler would take the ensuing kick-off down to the Trojans 37 yard line for a 44 yard return.  On a fourth down and 7 situation, McPhail would connect with Trevor Bryan for a 25 yard gain.  On third down from inside the ten, McPhail would complete a crossing pattern over the middle to Shai Wheeler for the 7 yard touchdown pass putting the Patriots up 34-32 with 4:00 minutes remaining.

Patriots swarming defense in action. (Ron Morris)

Olympic with 55 seconds on the scoreboard would score again to take a 34-32 lead as the two point conversion attempt failed.  Indy took possession in the final drive from their own 40 yard line after the kick went out of bounds.  McPhail would connect with Brain Morgan on the sideline to the Trojans 32.  Another completion to Shi Wheeler to the 13 yard line.  With 16 seconds remaining, Luke McPhail drops back under good pass protection and throws a perfect pass to Brian Morgan who would get behind the defender in the front corner of the end zone for the winning touchdown with 10.4 seconds showing on the game clock.

The Trojans would take the kick-off down to the Patriots 36 in great field position.  However, with 4.6 seconds remaining a pass into the end zone fell harmless and the Patriots would win their second consecutive game of the season 38-34.

Brian Morgan with winning TD reception. (Ron Morris)

After the game, Coach Natoli was really proud of his team and how they responded.  He admitted when the Trojans scored with 55 seconds remaining in the game he was concerned, a little down.  However, senior quarterback Luke McPhail said, “coach we got this,” the offense responded and scored in 45 seconds to win the game.