Calhoun needed its top players to come through in the clutch when things looked bleak. The Colts got just that and, in the end, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Ariel DeJesus forced a game-changing fumble late in the fourth quarter and blocked a potential game-tying extra point in overtime and Thomas Casimano rushed for 175 and two touchdowns as Calhoun rallied for a wild 20-19 victory at Carey last Saturday in Nassau Conference II football.
Carey led 13-6 with less than five minutes left in regulation and was on the verge of icing the game by moving the ball inside the Colts 10-yard line when DeJesus caused a key turnover. Casimano recovered on the 3 to give Calhoun one last chance to tie it.
Two plays later, Casimano ripped off a stunning 90-yard run on a trap play before being hauled down from behind at the Seahawks 7. Two plays later, the senior scampered into the end zone from five yards out with just over two minutes left that helped force overtime.
The Colts possessed the ball first in the extra session and went up 20-13 on quarterback Nicholas Turrini’s seven-yard rushing touchdown. Carey scored on its first play of overtime when quarterback Jason Kessler rolled to his right and found fellow junior James Stein in the end zone from 20 yards out to shrink the deficit to a point. But DeJesus got enough leverage at the line of scrimmage to deflect the extra-point attempt to end the game.
“Our best player made the biggest play to win the game,” Calhoun head coach Brian Moeller said.
Calhoun improved to 2-0 and will next face MacArthur, the team it defeated in last year’s playoffs for the school’s first-ever postseason win. Carey dropped to 1-1 and will try to rebound against Elmont.
“We’ve got to take care of the football,” Carey head coach Mike Stanley said. “We’re minus-2 today in turnovers and minus-3 a week ago and we were lucky to win [that game].”
The Colts had two opportunities to score in the first half, but long possessions that went deep into Carey territory fell short. A 17-play drive that bridged the first and second quarters stalled at the Seahawk 15 when Casimano was stopped for no gain on a 4th-and-3 play.
On the ensuing drive, Kessler completed passes of 29, 28 and 8 yards to Riley DeMeo before finding Nick Giacalone at the left pylon on a 4th-and-3 play from the 8 for the game’s opening score. The lead remained 6-0 after the extra-point kick failed.
Calhoun almost put points on the board in the final seconds of the first half, but a field goal attempt from the Carey 13 fell short. The Colts finally tied the game with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter on Casimano’s 41-yard touchdown run.
The Seahawks regained the lead 30 seconds into the fourth quarter on Kessler’s 10-yard touchdown pass to DeMeo.
Kessler completed 14-of-20 passes for 170 yards and rushed for 53 more. Turrini had 14 carries for 101 yards.