Another heartbreaker for St. Helens
Lions let a 20-point first half lead slip away, fall to Rex Putnam 48-46.
It seems the Lions arent done dropping heartbreakers. Friday evening, it was at the hands of Rex Putnam, who intercepted a desperation pass at the buzzer to preserve a 48-46 victory over the Lions on their home turf. For St. Helens (2-5, 0-5 NWOC) it was a step in the wrong direction in terms of making the playoffs as they fell for the second time by less than a field goal.
St. Helens actually held a two-touchdown lead at the halftime break, and took a 40-27 lead the less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, but the Kingsmen had other plans.
Quarterback Josey Swain stepped up as time expired in the third quarter, hitting standout receiver Tyler Strauss for a 36-yard touchdown pass to bring Putnam to within six points. Midway through the fourth, the Kingsman took their first lead off a huge 53 yard touchdown pass from Swain to senior wide receiver Corey Wells. The extra point from Annabella Geist gave the home team a one point edge.
Now with less than six minutes remaining in the contest, it was time to finish things. The Lions got a controversial first down on fourth and 11 thanks to a reception from Devon Jewett to move the ball inside Kingsmen territory. Two plays later, Bumgardner burst through the defensive line and shot down the sideline, scuttling 38 yards and scoring what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown.
The problem was, the game still wasnt over.
St. Helens forced Putnam into a turnover on downs at the Lions 45 yard line, but facing third-and-10, Bumgardners pass was picked off, giving the Kingsmen a short field with 2:45 left to play. The Lion defense held on the second set of downs, batting away a pass on third and 10 at their own 27 yard-line, but a pair of flags - for pass interference and unsportsmanlike conduct - put Putnam in prime scoring position just six yards from the end zone, and with 32 seconds remaining, Swain snuck past the Lions for the go-ahead score.
There wasnt much life left for St. Helens. Bryce Bumgardner returned the kickoff to the Lions 27 yard line, and with just eight seconds left, Gage Bumgardner hit Justin Helgerson up the right sideline for 53 yards to the Putnam 34 yard line with one tenth of a second remaining. Then came Bumgardners Hail-Mary, which found only the hands of Putnams defense, sealing the Lions defeat.
Defense was key to St. Helens demise, according to head coach Jared Phillips. The Lions were able to stop Putnam only twice in the final two quarters, giving up 21 points in the third and 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Any time you put 46 points on the board, I think you should win football games. Thats the bottom line, said Phillips. We need to play better on defense.
The loss stings, especially since it was a game in which the Lions controlled the first half.
Its a game that we couldve won, should have won, said Phillips. Were just not finishing games the way we need to finish games to win.
Senior lineman Jacob Zartman played part of the first and all of the second half with a swollen knee. Following an unusually somber team huddle, Zartman didnt have much of an answer other than a deep need to put teams away.
We had this one in the bag, said Zartman. But weve gotta finish. Weve gotta execute better. I feel like weve had good weeks of practice, but were just not finishing the games.
Its a mind game for Zartman, a vocal leader on the offensive line and on defense. He said it has to do with seeing the bigger picture instead of letting one or two good plays by the offense. As ever, Zartman ended on a positive note about the teams future.
Well be fine, he said.
St. Helens 15-12-13-6 -- 46
Rex Putnam 7-6-21-14 -- 48
SH - 8:55 Gage Bumgardner 4 run (Ivan Alcazar kick)
RP - 7:33 Tyler Strauss 26 run (Annabella Geist kick)
SH - 6:09 Bryce Bumgardner 24 pass from G. Bumgardner (Pass to Justin Helgerson)
SH - 9:00 Tyler Rea 6 run (kick failed)
SH - 3:21 Tanner Long 3 run (kick blocked)
RP - 0:26 Strauss 18 pass from Josey Swain (run failed)
RP - 10:10 Richie Seratt 22 run (Geist kick)
SH - 9:47 Long 10 pass from G. Bumgardner (pass failed)
RP - 7:17 Seratt 11 run (Geist kick)
SH - 0:59 G. Bumgarder 3 run (Alcazar kick)
RP - :00 Strauss 36 pass from Swain (kick good)
RP - 6:11 Corey Wells 53 pass from Swain (Geist kick)
SH - 4:40 G. Bumgardner 38 run (run failed)
RP - 0:32 Swain 4 run (Geist kick)Add a comment