The Summit High boys' football team's 21-14 overtime loss at the hands of Arvada Friday was a back-and-forth contest featuring two lead swaps, with the Tigers ahead 14-6 at halftime and tied 14-all at the end of regulation.
With less than a minute left in overtime, Arvada grabbed the lead with a touchdown pass on a first and 18. In the final Tigers possession, senior quarterback Sean Farley returned to the field after sitting the majority of the second half with a hip flexor injury that left him unable to run. Head coach Dylan Hollingsworth said he saw the Bulldog's heavy protection on the running game and needed Farley's arm for the win.
After gaining a yard, the injured quarterback threw a fade to senior receiver Markeith McDonald, who caught the ball but didn't have enough of a grasp to keep it from bouncing out as he came down. Had he maintained possession, the Tigers would have forced a second overtime.
With two more downs left to make up the deficit, Farley overthrew to Coy Coker and on the next play. On the final play Farley once again looked to the endzone, but threw an interception.
"It was an exciting game. It was extremely disappointing," Hollingsworth said, adding that mistakes and penalties again became the Achilles heel for his team, changing the momentum of the game at a moment's notice.
In particular, the team came out in the second half ahead 14-6, but their opening drive was plagued with a triplet of penalties that stalled the drive for the Tigers.
With nothing gained in two running attempts following a poor punt return due to miscommunication, quarterback Farley completed a pass on third and nine - which was nullified by a block in the back. Instead of sitting pretty at first and 10 on the 25-yard-line, the team was pushed back to third and 17. Two offsides calls put them at the three-yard-line.
"Those three penalties in a row were absolute back-breakers for that drive," Hollingsworth said. Not long after that, Farley left the field, putting running back Nic Berry in the quarterback position and leaving the team unable to make plays happen.
"That (injury) without question changed the dynamic of the game," Hollingsworth said.
After trading possessions, the Bulldogs scored and despite heavy pressure, the quarterback threw to the endzone for the two-point conversion, tying the game. With less than 30 seconds left in regulation play, Arvada missed a field goal attempt, sending the game into overtime.
Hollingsworth commended Farley's play during Friday's game.
"Sean Farley was absolutely on fire in the first half. He had almost 90 yards rushing the first half and 115 yards passing, with 8 of 10 completions. One of the incomplete passes was a dropped pass," Hollingsworth said. "He had his best game this season by far."
The head coach also complimented his defense, saying Ben Sloan tallied nine tackles while Duncan Roberts put pressure on the Bulldog quarterback. Though, he added that the "big problem" Friday night was giving up six third-downs where Arvada had to recover more than 10 yards.
"To me, that was another huge turning point in the game. It was about who could make things happen on the third-down conversion," Hollingsworth said.
On offense, Berry did well slipping into the quarterback roll, and Vince Flores ran for 45 yards, setting up one of the team's touchdowns.
The Tigers' loss came after breaking their losing streak in a 31-13 home-turf win over Alameda last week, and the Bulldogs took a step in the right direction following a 55-20 defeat in its previous game against Lutheran. Summit (2-6, 1-3 league) faces off with Conifer (6-2, 3-1 league) next week in its final 3A Metro-West game.
"We have Conifer this week. They beat D'Evelyn, they beat Lutheran, they have one loss in the conference," Hollingsworth said. "This week, we have to buckle down and take care of business. ... We're down to two games. There's no postseason. We need to make the most of the last two weeks."