Jesuit believes that one more play would have allowed a chance to win
PORTLAND - Don't feel sorry for Jesuit.
The Crusader football team - looking for one more chance to score and force overtime against Lake Oswego in Saturday's Class 6A state semifinal contest at Jeld-Wen Field - saw its 2011 season tick away as an official held the ball at the Lakers' 3-yard line at the end of the game.
But don't feel sorry for Jesuit. The Crusaders don't even feel sorry for themselves.
Oh sure, they absolutely wanted to keep playing, and they absolutely believed that they were in position to spike the ball, stop the clock and set up one more play.
The Crusaders knew, with every fiber of their being, that given the chance, they would score on that last play to make it 21-19. And they knew that they would then make the ensuing conversion to tie the game at 21-21 and force overtime.
And Jesuit was pretty darned sure that, once it got to OT, it would win too.
But in one of the more amazing - and for Jesuit, frustrating - ends to a playoff football game, the game official held on to the football. He held on to the ball as Jesuit hustled up to the line of scrimmage - set at the Lake Oswego 3-yard line thanks to a 34-yard Nicholas Rothstein-to-Henry Mondeaux completion.
He held on to the ball as Lake Oswego labored to get back onto its side of the line after stopping Jesuit tailback Morgan Sellers' dive for no gain on first down inside the final half minute.
And he held the ball for what seemed to the Crusaders an eternity - or at least one second too long. When Jesuit finally snapped the ball and Rothstein spiked it to stop the clock, it happened at virtually the same time the final second ticked away to zero.
After that, things got really interesting.
Following a brief pause in which no one on either team seemed to know what would come next, the Lakers raced onto the field to celebrate their apparent victory.
Simultaneously, coaches from both teams hurried out to question game officials who had huddled near the center of the field.
For their part, Jesuit's players looked on in anticipation and disbelief, most with their index fingers pointed in the air requesting that one second be added back to the game clock to allow them one final play.
It wasn't to be, though.
After the officials broke their huddle, they signaled that time had expired, and with it, Jesuit's hopes for one more play and a chance at another state-championship game berth.
'I just wanted another chance. I was really excited to get that last play,' said Mondeaux, a sophomore tight end who had two catches for 68 yards in the semifinal. 'The (officials) called whatever they wanted to call, but I'm not mad that they didn't let us play - I guess we didn't get it off in time.'
'People thought we weren't going to be able to do it, but we got the ball with about 30 seconds to the end and we had a chance,' said junior tailback AJ Glass, who had 30 yards on nine carries in Saturday's semi. 'Everyone played great and we just played to the end.'
They played to the end, and they played with heart. They just wanted to keep playing for at least one more play.
'It was all just a lot of heart and a lot of us just wanting (to win) really bad,' said Jesuit senior quarterback Nicholas Rothstein, who had 158 yards in total offense on Saturday. 'The coaches told us throughout the season 'Play until the final second runs out,' and that's exactly what we did.'