Saints rally, but fall in OT

Published 6:58 pm Sunday, September 7, 2008

By Tris Wykes

Trinity Episcopal’s Andrew Sarlo intercepted a Hunt Odom pass in overtime Friday to end a non-conference game and allow his visiting Titans to escape with a 32-26 victory at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

Fans who braved patches of heavy rain saw a highly-entertaining game in which the Saints rallied from a 13-0 deficit after less than two minutes and produced a 26-26 tie with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

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NSA coach Monroe Wells refused comment after the game, leaving without explanation his decision to attempt a 2-point conversion pass instead of an extra point kick after his teams final score. Kicker Scott Guter took a direct snap but his pass fell incomplete.

NSA (0-2) had a shot to win late in the fourth quarter when Trinity turned the ball over on downs at the Saints’ 28 yard-line and 1:23 remaining. However, an Odom pass was intercepted by Justin Garton on the first play after the Saints’ defense had held. NSA’s Michael Coburn intercepted a Will White pass two plays later to produce overtime.

Trinity opened the extra session by committing a holding penalty and running for five yards. On their third play, the Titans scored when White threw 15 yards to a diving Alex Link, who held on despite having NSA’s Isaac Ballou on his back.

The Saints ran Will Crenshaw for a loss of a yard on their first play in overtime, in which teams get four downs to score from the 10-yard line. The game ended on the next play when Odom suffered his third interception of the day.

Odom completed 10 of 15 passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns, two past Trinity’s Justin Garton to Ballou, who finished with four catches for 42 yards. The basketball and baseball star, a receiver and safety on the football field, also lost a fumble and was beaten for two Trinity touchdown passes and on a third play where a Titans receiver dropped the ball in the end zone.

The theme of up-and-down performance extended to the NSA team as a whole. The game began horribly for the hosts when Trinity’s Kyle Marron stripped running back Kenny Rice of the ball on the Saints’ second play from scrimmage and returned the fumble 20 yards for a touchdown.

Two plays later, Odom tried to throw a swing pass in the left flat, only to deliver the ball to Trinity lineman Josh Shaw, who rumbled 18 yards for a touchdown. The extra point put the Titans up 13-0 with 10:29 to play in the first quarter.

Trinity (1-1) went for the jugular by attempting an onsides kick after Shaw’s touchdown, but NSA recovered and began its comeback by marching 52 yards in seven plays and scoring on J.R. Crowder’s 2-yard run. Guter’s extra point attempt was blocked and the Saints trailed 13-6 with 6:50 to play in the opening quarter.

NSA tied the game 13-13 less than two minutes into the second quarter. Odom hit Ballou with an 8-yard touchdown pass and Guter added a conversion kick. However, his subsequent kickoff went out of bounds and Trinity needed only four plays to go up 19-13 when Nick Almond got behind Ballou for a 26-yard touchdown reception.

NSA hurt itself on its next possession, which ended when punter Josh Todd couldn’t hold a snap and Trinity’s Shaw recovered. The Titans scored six plays later when White threw eight yards to Sarlo, who reached the end zone after breaking a Christian Upchurch tackle. A conversion kick let the visitors take a 26-13 lead with three minutes remaining in the second quarter.

NSA cut its deficit to 26-20 before halftime, Odom dropping a lob pass over a defender and into Coburn’s hands 45 seconds before intermission. Guter booted his second extra point.

A scoreless third quarter was noteworthy only for Saint Rich Brummett’s interception of a White pass, a theft that led to NSA’s next score. The Saints covered 75 yards in 11 plays and found the end zone when Ballou leaped in front of Titan Justin Garton, tipped a fade pass into the corner of the end zone into the air with one hand and then caught it with both.

Guter’s attempted conversion pass was incomplete moments later and the game was tied 26-26 with 7:06 to play in the fourth quarter. Trinity won the teams’ matchup for the third consecutive year.