A mere five yards was all that separated the NDSS Golden Hawks senior football team from their first win of the season Thursday afternoon at Bayridge.
Napanee’s Brock Vale made a mad dash to the endzone with just seconds left on the clock but was halted by the Bayridge defense, allowing the home team to hold on for a 12-7 victory.
It was a particularly disheartening loss for the now 0-3 Golden Hawks, who squandered plenty of opportunities to record their first victory.
On two separate occasions NDSS’ Cal DuChene rumbled his way into the endzone, only to have both touchdowns called back due to offensive penalties by his linemates.
Napanee’s defense was solid through the first half, preventing the Blazers’ offense from ever crossing their own 50 yard line. Aiden Kelly set the tone early with a sack of the Blazers’ quarterback in the opening series. Bayridge had entered the game on the heels of putting up 41 points in their previous game but struggled to get anything going against Napanee’s defensive line through the first two quarters.
The Golden Hawks defense suffered a breakdown early in the second however as penalties and miscues began to mount.
A long pass that was hauled in just in bounds along the sideline helped set up the Blazers first touchdown four minutes into the second half. NDSS was able to block the extra point kick.
Any moment from that block was short lived as the Blazers recovered the ensuing kickoff at the 40 yard line and scored on the next series. They opted to go for the extra two points but were unsuccessful.
The second touchdown allowed seemed to fire up NDSS’ offensive line, as they turned to the ground game of DuChene and short passes to Vale to make steady progress up the field. They finally broke through with their first official touchdown of the season when Vale dove through two defenders and into the endzone. Vale kicked the extra point to make it a one possession game. Napanee got the possession they needed when NDSS’ Preston Dickson recovered the kick off to give Napanee another shot at the 30 yard line. NDSS couldn’t do anything with it however as muddy conditions made it difficult for their runningbacks to gain any significant ground. Hawks quarterback Colby Webb attempted a Hail Mary pass from 20 yards out, but it was incomplete.
The closest they got was five yards out on their final down. With just seconds left on the clock, Bayridge was able to take a knee and secure the victory.
With the loss Napanee now remains the only winless team in the field of nine teams in the KASSAA standings. They’ll look to break into the win column and keep their playoff hopes alive next Friday when they travel to Ernestown to take on the Eagles. On Oct. 18 they face KCVI and then close out the regular season on Oct. 24 at Regi.