How do you top last week’s Upper Canada College varsity football semi-final thriller over St. Andrew’s College? By beating Trinity College School, again on the road, and in overtime to boot.
Literally, as in a punt from Aidan Power to secure a one-point rouge and give the Blues the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association championship with a 32-31 victory.
The game began with both teams playing promisingly and trading field goals to make it 3-3. TCS scored the first touchdown of the day to take a four-point lead. Then it was the Blues’ turn with a perfectly thrown 80-yard pass from Power to Matt Parsons. A field goal by Power made it 13-10 for UCC.
The last play of the half was the biggest “non-play” of the season: a 90-plus-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Clayton Jeffrey, who was playing with a possibly broken wrist. The run was extraordinary, as Jeffrey broke stride on at least two occasions to elude TCS tacklers, but it was called back by a penalty.
The second half started with a prevailing steady drizzle and the Bears scoring in short order on a rollout pass to take a 17-13 lead. Turnovers started to hurt the Blues, and TCS capitalized by converting good field position into a short touchdown run in. The extra point kick made it 24-13 for the Bears.
A missed field goal attempt by the Blues and a big runback by TCS set the stage for a long over the middle pass for another score. With less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter, the Blues were down 31-13.
The Blues’ comeback began with an 11-yard Jeffrey touchdown run to make it a much more respectable 31-20 score.
The Bears had the Blues by the throats before things took a turn when one of the team’s players was tackled well behind the line of scrimmage by Sam Beqaj before TCS fumbled the ball away on the next play.
With superb outside passing that stymied TCS defenders and a powerful running game, the Blues marched the length of the field and scored on a beautiful 30-yard pass from Power to Hunter Okubasu to make the score 31-26 for TCS. With no margin for error, a Power to Jeffrey pass for a two-point conversion brought the Blues to within three at 31-28.
The Bears took some costly penalties, giving the Blues good field position just short of midfield with more than minutes to go. Again, the Blues needed to be perfect, and they were. Okubasu made some clutch catches and Rasheed Tucker ran the ball tenaciously.
With just 30 seconds to go in the game, the Blues would got two more chances to win the game. The first play, a rollout, proved inconclusive. Everything fell on the shoulders of Power to kick the tying field goal with time running out, which he did.
Overtime would be decided by alternating series’ where the team scrimmaging first, in this case TCS, would have a chance to score points. Any subsequent series would have to match the first drive.
TCS threw three incomplete passes, so the worst the Blues could do was keep it a tie if they failed to score. Showing remarkable patience, the Blues made their way down the field and put themselves into rouge position. The situation was so novel that many in the crowd weren’t entirely sure of the rules of engagement.
After nearly having a field goal attempt blocked earlier in the game, the Blues elected to go for a single point by punting through the end zone. Power’s punt had a high arc to the left side of the end zone and careened out of bounds, giving the Blues a one-point win.