McKinley shines late in 2OT win over Lake

BY Jim Thomas

 

LAKE TWP. When McKinley missed a late field goal in regulation, the drama that is overtime football hung heavy in the air at Lake's Blue Streak Stadium.
When Lake quarterback Owen Goodheart lofted a fourth-down pass into the McKinley end zone in the second overtime, the game hung in the balance for what seemed an eternity.
In a split second, McKinley junior defensive back Lonnie Richardson-Parr ended the defensive slugfest, his crashing tackle sending the ball to the turf, incomplete, sealing the Bulldogs' 20-14 double-overtime Federal League victory.
McKinley had just made its biggest offensive play minutes earlier on third down, when quarterback Dominique Robinson slipped right and threw a back screen to Javon Lewis, a 5-foot-5 lightning bolt who shot down the left side for a 22-yard touchdown that was the deciding score. It was McKinley's longest play of the game.


"Coach Phil Martter made that call up in the box recommended running it," McKinley head coach Dan Reardon said after improving to 5-1. "Our offensive line did a great job executing it, and obviously (Lewis) made a play."
The Lewis touchdown reception and the breakup by Richardson-Parr were vindication for the Bulldogs. Robinson lost a fumble on McKinley's first series of the second half and in OT, then came back to make the winning throw. The Bulldogs defense allowed the Streaks to go 80 yards on 18 plays late in the fourth quarter, twice converting fourth downs, to tie the score 14-14 to send it to OT.
Robinson had put McKinley in front with an 11-play, 76-yard scoring drive capped by his 7-yard keeper with 25.9 seconds left in the third quarter. The big 6-5 senior nearly got McKinley the win in regulation, only to have a lack of timeouts force a rushed field goal that preceded OT by 2.2 seconds.


Robinson was pretty much McKinley's offense. He ran 20 times for 70 yards and threw for 117 more as the Bulldogs were limited to 240 yards, and their 14 points in regulation matched their season low.
The Blue Streaks never led, but they were just a tantalizing second away from a catch and point-after try to win the game. Richardson-Parr wasn't going to let that happen, even with three starters out on defense.
"I just seen the ball and tackled the guy," Richardson-Parr said. "I wasn't seeing him catch no touchdown. Man, I made a play for my team.
"We just had to adjust, play as a team and keep the faith."


Lake head coach Dan DeGeorge was bowed but unbroken after seeing his team fall to 4-2 and 0-2 in the league.
"That's a tough way to lose," DeGeorge said. "I am very proud of our kids' effort tonight. We played hard for four quarters and both overtimes. We didn't do that last week against Jackson, so I'm really proud of their effort.
"We still have to clean up a lot of things ... but playing a good team like McKinley is good, we've got to find a way to finish it."


The McKinley defense limited Lake to 166 total yards despite the absence of linebackers Josh Chandler and Kadeem Trotter, key pieces to the puzzle. It didn't matter, though, as Joe Corner and Reggie Corner (12 tackles), Ja'Ron Lee, Ca'Ron Tuner (10 tackles), Jordan Gardener, Darius Houston and more locked down the Lake attack in the first half.


The second half was different. DeGeorge inserted Zack Straley at quarterback and also gave the Bulldogs a steady dose of Cameron Martin, rather than Joel Francis, at running back.
Martin ran for 66 yards and two scores, the second from a yard out to cap the 18-play series set up by Goodheart's dandy fourth-down pass to Brandon Hadinger for 16 yards. Straley also ran hard as he gained 43 yards, while adding a team-high 10 tackles on defense.


Then came overtime. Ronbinson and Lewis hit the big play for the go-ahead score. Even then it wasn't over, because it missed the extra point, leaving the door open for Lake to steal the win.
Uh-uh, Richardson-Parr said.


"We just had faith," he said. "Faith in our team, that's it."

 

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