Guilford (1-3) at Hillhouse (4-1): Heartbreak in New Haven
Bowen Field, New Haven, CT
Thursday, October 18, 2012 3:30PM
It was a breezy fall afternoon in New Haven when Guilford rolled into New Haven with a vengeance after their crushing loss to Amity. Hillhouse seemed ready; the band was playing and the crowd was cheering and from a glance, it looked like Hillhouse was ready to crush the Indians just as they did last year in Guilford. But they were missing one very important thing: Harold Cooper one of their best running backs. It would be no question that Cooper’s injury would affect Hillhouse on offense. Although, even with Cooper’s injury, it would take every thing that the Indians would have to grind out a victory against the Academics’ tough defense and explosive offense. The Indians had proved they could play with West Haven although they had lost. Now it was time to prove themselves against Hillhouse but this time pull off the win.
Guilford won the coin toss and started out on their own 20 yard line after a touchback. Even with a 7 yard pass from quarterback Joe Nault to K.C. Horton, the Indians first drive resulted in a three and out. The Indians made a statement on the Academics’ first play of the game by sacking quarterback Je’Vaughn Moore for a loss of three yard. On the ensuing play, James Moore was able to run the ball back to the original line of scrimmage on the 41 yard line. After, the Academic’s running back Andre Anderson ran allover the field with a 6 yard run and then followed up a 13 yard pass reception with 5 and 3 yard runs. A motion penalty backed up Hillhouse 5 yard and an incomplete pass on the next play forced them into a punting situation.
On the Indians next possession, they were able to move the ball better. David Knapp had an 8 yard run to start the drive and Eric Zergiebel added another 12 to gain a first down. Zergiebel quickly got another 8 yards and Horton gain another Indians first down with a 7 yard run. Zergiebel gained another 5 on the next play but was unsuccessful in gaining any on the next. Knapp lost 2 on his next run attempt and a false start penalty backed the Indians up another 5. Nault then threw an incomplete pass and the Indians had to punt again. The Academics were only able to get one first down on their next possession with a 9 yard run by Anderson followed up by a 3 yard run by Je’Vaughn Moore. James Moore was able to gain another 5 yards but on his next run, he lost a yard and after an incomplete pass by Je’Vaughn Moore, the Academics had to punt again. With the ball in their possession again, Knapp was able to run for a yard and then Horton was able to make long 13 yard run. Time then expired in the first quarter with the score board reading 0-0.
The Indians started the second quarter with a first down after Horton’s run that closed the first quarter. Horton gained another yard and Nault scrambled for another 3 before Nault made an electrifying 56 yard run for a first down on the Academic’s 15 yard line. Nault gained another 4 yards and then Knapp gained another 5 which set up Nault for an 8 yard Touchdown run. The extra point was no good so the score was 6-0 with 9:09 left in the quarter. The Indians’ defense was able to hold the Academics on the next Hillhouse possession and only allowed 4 yards to Anderson on two plays. After an incomplete pass, the Academics punted the ball away.
Zergiebel started the next Indians possession with a 15 yard run for a first down. But a false start backed up them up five yards and then they fumbled the ball which was recovered by the Academic’s Teno Simpson on the Indians’ 26 yard line. The Academics were given an easy five more yards on an offside penalty against Guilford. The Indians defense responded with a sack of quarterback Je’Vaughn Moore for a loss of 4. A short pass to Andre Moore gained two of the yards back. With 30 seconds, left in the half Je’Vaughn Moore was able to throw for a 19 yard touchdown to Daryn Horner. With a good extra point, the Academics now led 7-6. After the kickoff, Zergiebel was able to gain another first down after a 10 yard run but time expired to close off the first half before the Indians were able to make another play.
The Indians had shown the mighty Hillhouse academics that they could play with them. It now came down to the second half as it has before. Last week against Amity, the Indians were in a good position after the first half but lost the game in the second. With the Academics with the momentum after their end of the half touchdown, the Indians would have to come out and make a statement on defense and then make a statement on offense. As the second half started, the fans were wondering if this Indians team could pull of this win. It looked possible, but after the Indians’ second half losses in the past, the team would have to prove it.
The Indians were able to make a bold statement coming out of the half. The Indians defense was able to hand the Academics a three and out and only allowed Anderson 6 yards on three carries. After the touchback that put the Indians on their own 20 yard line, the offense was ready to go to work. Nault’s 8 yard run combined with Knapp’s 6 yard run were able to get an Indians first down. Nault was just short for the first down on his next 9 yard run and was sacked for a loss of 2 on the next play. He was only able to gain one yard but got a first down on the nest possession on a 7 yard dash. Now on the 50 yard line, Zergiebel was able to make 3 runs for a total of 10 yards and go another first down. Zergiebel’s 3 yard run and Nault’s 2 yard run got the Indians to the Academic’s 35 yard line. Horton was able to break through the defense to get a 35 yard touchdown on the next play. The Indians attempted a two point conversion but it failed so the score was 12-6 with 2:45 to go.
The Academics started out going backwards on their next drive. After an incomplete pass, they lost 5 yards on a motion penalty. They thought they caught a break after the 20 yard plus run by Anderson but that was called back too on another 5 yard motion penalty. Their opposite direction did not last long though. On 3rd and 18 Je’Vaughn Moore completed a 27 yard pass to Anderson which got the Academics back into the drive. A few runs by Anderson got them closer to the end zone and on 1st and 10 from the Indians’ 37 yard line Je’Vaughn Moore completed a 37 yard touchdown pass to Daryn Horner. The extra point failed which made the game13-7 as the third quarter ended.
The Indians start to the forth quarter was nothing like the third. Nault and Horton lost five yards and after Nault was unable to gain any on 3rd down and 15, the Indians were forced to punt. The Academics had the same result as the Indians and were forced to punt on a 4th and 9. The Indians did not have much luck again. After a 1 yard run, an incomplete pass, and a sack for a loss of 2 yards, all by Nault, they punted on a 4th and 9. The Indians luck did not change when Anderson returned Nault’s punt for a 45 yard touchdown. After another successful extra point, the game was 20-12 Academics with 6:52 to go.
After the Hillhouse touchdown, the Indians came alive again. They were backed up to the Academic’s 26 yard line after a 10 yard holding penalty was assessed against the Indians. Nault came back with a 10 yard first down run and the Horton was able to get another quick first down after a huge 58 yard run. Horton gained another 2 yards and then Nault ran the ball into the end zone for a 3 yard touchdown. After another failed two point conversion attempt, the Indians were still losing 20-18 with 4:47 left. The Indians’ offensive momentum carried onto the other side of the ball and the defense was able to stop the Academics and the Indians received the ball back after a turnover on downs.
The Indians made a short drive until they were around field goal range. With no time outs left and only a few seconds on the game clock, Coach Unger could not risk running another play and not getting out of bounds to stop the clock so they could attempt another play. From where the ball was, it would be about a 32 yard field goal attempt for Nault. It was possible for Nault to make the kick; his longest successful attempt was 34 yards last year. Everyone on both teams were waiting for this moment. As the ball was snapped and then kicked by Nault, everyone held his or her breath. As it flew though the air, it looked good off his foot. As it approached the yellow uprights, it still looked good. Was this the day the Indians would pull off an upset win against the mighty Academics? A cheer went out from the Guilford crowd as the ball passed the its intended goal but the cheers turned into gasps and disappointment as the referees crossed their arms and waved the no good sign for everyone to see. With the failed field goal, the Academics took over and took a knee to win the game 20-18.
This game was a heartbreaker for the Indians of Guilford. Although it was an accomplishment for the Indians to almost win against Hillhouse Academics, it is hard for a team to take another “moral victory”. With a now 1- 4 record it is time for the Indians to start getting some wins. They have everything they need but with a tough schedule, it is difficult. They Indians will be playing Branford (4-2) next Friday October 26 at the Guilford High School turf field at 7:00 PM. It is the football team’s pink night for Breast Cancer Awareness Month so everyone should come out and show their support and wear pink!