Just when the Kingsmen thought they were in the clear, they handed some momentum to Sandy. Putnam was called for two personal fouls on the Pioneers first scoring drive.
Sandy failed to convert on a third-and-6, but the Kingsmen were called for a late hit, which extended the possession. They later received an illegal use of the hands penalty, sending Sandy deep into Putnam territory.
A 15-yard pass to Josh Visan set up the ball at the one-yard line, but on the next play, the Pioneers were called for illegal procedure, making it first-and-6.
Wide receiver Austin Gorski finished the drive by making a leaping reception between two defenders for a touchdown, which tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
In the third quarter with the game tied 21-21, Putnam was called for pass interference on Sandys failed third-down conversion, which extended the drive. Later in the possession, on third-and-9, you guessed it, the Pioneers failed to convert, but Putnam was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, moving the ball to the Kingsmens 21-yard line.
But Sandy would eventually fumble inside the red zone, squandering a gift-filled drive.
THE ROBISON SHOW
After some impressive glimpses of potential during Sandys week two loss to Wilson, it was expected that wide receiver Karsten Short would play a major role against Putnam. But the senior missed the game with an injury.
Filling the void was one of the Pioneers top receivers from last season, Blake Robison. And he did it on offense and defense.
Robison intercepted Putnam quarterback Max Bailey inside the red zone in the second quarter, which not only prevented the Kingsmen from taking a two-touchdown lead, but also jump started Sandys quiet offense.
The Pioneers drove 90 yards for a score, tying the game at 7-7.
Then they took their first lead on a screen pass to the wide receiver. Robison slipped through the arms of a Putnam defender and walked into the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.
On Sandys next drive, quarterback Justin Adams found Robison in the back of the end zone, to regain the lead, 21-14 with 2:24 remaining in the first half.
But maybe Robisons biggest contribution came late in the fourth quarter. Trailing 28-27 with less than five minutes remaining, the play broke down and Adams was scrambling around his own 26 yard line. Running toward the sideline, he saw Robison deep down field and heaved the ball despite a defender all over the wide receiver.
Both went up and with one hand Robison caught the ball at Putnams 37-yard line, a 37-yard reception, which set up Sandys potential game winning field goal attempt.
I saw Justin scrambling so I came back across the field, he said. He was playing tough defense. He was holding me across the field. I went up and got the ball. It was a good play.
The kick was no good, but Robisons play made it possible.