Last second field goal lifts Blue Hills Past Eastie in playoff thriller

By Patrick Flaherty, BPSsports Correspondent

 

FRANKLIN — In the 2007 MIAA Football playoffs, the East Boston Jets escaped Stonehill College with a 38-34 win over the Blue Hills Warriors.  On Tuesday, Blue Hills returned the favor.

With 7.9 seconds left on the clock, Blue Hills kicker David Neal kicked a 26 yard field goal to lift the Warriors past the Jets 25-22, at Pisini Field at Franklin High School.  With the win Blue Hills will now face Cathedral in the Dvision 4A  Super Bowl.

Both squads came into the night with high powered offenses, having lead their respective leagues in points per game during the regular season.  And the offensive production continued for both teams in the first half.

Blue Hills opened the game with a 62 yard scoring drive, that took just three and a half minutes off the clock.  The drive was highlighted by an 18 yard pass from John Curran to Vincent Burton, and capped off by a 25 yard touchdown run by Warriors senior running back Jordan Rotman.  East Boston then came back with a four and a half minute drive of their own.  Junior running back Davonte Halloway finished the possesion for the Jets with an 8 yard touchdown run which tied the game at 8.

Following the touchdown, East Boston recovered a squib kick at the Blues Hills 40 yard line.  However, the Jets gave the ball back to the Warriors on the very next play when quarterback Anthony Whitney was picked off by Jordan Rotman.  Blue Hills then put together a 69 yard scoring drive that extended into the 2nd quarter.  Vincent Burton finished the drive off with a 9 yard touchdown run that put Blue Hills back on top, 16-8.

The Jets answered right back, however, with a 68 yard drive of their own.  Throughout the night East Boston featured a 3-headed monster at tailback, using Andre Rickerson, Kyle Jimenez-Fox and Davonte Halloway in their rushing attack.  But this drive featured mostly Rickerson who ran hard in between the tackles all night and helped Eastie tie the game back up with an 8 yard touchdown run and the 2 point conversion.

It looked as though the game would be tied going into the half, but Blue Hills had other ideas.  they got the ball back with 3:35 left on the clock and marched it down inside the 10 yard line with just under a minute before the break.  Then senior running back Isiah Teixeira used his blazing speed for an 8 yard touchdown run off tackle.  East Boston then stopped the 2 point conversion and went into the half, trailing by just 6.

The Blue Hills Warriors kicked off to East Boston to open up the 3rd and didn’t see the ball again until there were 36 seconds left to go in the quarter.  East Boston ate up almost nine and a half minutes with their opening drive of the second half.  But the Jets ended up having nothing to show for it when Blue Hills stuffed Andre Rickerson on a 4th and 1 attempt inside the 5 yard line.

East Boston got another chance at the end zone early in the 4th when Vincent Burton fumbled the football for Blue Hills, and Jets defensive end Daniel Auch recovered it at the Warriors’ 16 yard line.  Just a couple plays later Davonte Halloway tied the game at 22 when he took a hand off 8 yards for a score.  Blue Hills then hung tough on the goal line, stuffing the Jets and keeping the game at a standstill.

Both teams defenses stepped up their game after that and neither team had a chance near the end zone for most of the 4th quarter.

With 1:12 left in the game, the Warriors offense then went to work.  Blue Hills executed thier 2 minute offense to perfection, using timeouts and spiking the ball to save time on the clock.  That good clock management along with big runs by Vincent Burton and Isiah Teixeira gave Blue Hills the ball at the 9, and allowed the newly minted kicker, David Neal to be the hero.

“I was just sitting at practice and I kicked a field goal.  My coach surprisingly had the faith to put me in, in the biggest game.” said Neal after kicking the game winner.

“We just put it in the other day.  We were going to see what we could do offensively, and we saw it was the right decision.” said Blue Hills head coach Ed Catabia when talking about his team’s final drive.

While the Jets finish the season at 7-4, Blue Hills will be moving on to Bentley University on Saturday where they will play Cathedral for the Division 4A Super Bowl.  Kickoff is at 10am.

Pat Flaherty is the producer and play-by-play announcer for Mayor Menino’s Game of the Week, which airs on Sundays at noon and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m, on Boston City TV (Ch. 24).  The games also airs on BNN Channel 9 on Mondays at 9:30 p.m.

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