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Bishop Brady outlasts Winnisquam in double overtime, 15-12

There aren’t many better ways to end homecoming than with an empty student section and a crowded field. The Bishop Brady football team experienced just that scenario last night as their fans rushed on to the field to celebrate a 15-12 Green Giants double-overtime victory over Winnisquam (2-2).

In a game marred with penalties and missed opportunities for both sides, the only play that mattered for Brady (2-2) came on second-and-goal on Winnisquam 2-yard line in the second OT. It was Giants quarterback Brendan Johnson (six carries for 22 yards, 10-for-20 for 79 yards passing) who took the snap from under center, put his head down and pushed until he came out on the other side of the pile, face down in the Bears end zone.

The run completed a comeback that was by no means monumental, but certainly took overcoming several setbacks in a hard-fought game from both sides.

“They were ready to play us and we were ready to play them,” Brady Coach Greg Roberts said. “It was a battle. There’s no other way to describe it. For four quarters and two overtimes it was physical football, up and down the field, left and right, a big play here by the offense and then a big play by the defense.

The big play by the Winnisquam offense came midway through the first quarter when Christian Serrano (89 yards on 22 carries) scored on the longest play from scrimmage from either team, taking a handoff for 35 yards and a score. The big play by the Giants’ defense came on the ensuing extra point when Hunter Migneault came flying in off the corner, untouched, and easily blocked the kick.

The rest of the game was all about defense, ironically, since Brady and Winnisquam were ranked first and second going into the game in points scored in Division III.

The Bears leaned on their defense to hold on to their 6-0 lead, which they took deep into the fourth quarter. With 7:15 remaining in the game, the Giants finally threatened to score. Brady put together a drive, highlighted by a 31-yard pass from Johnson to senior Nate Daneault that put the Giants on the Bears 1-yard line. After a Brady penalty, the Giants had little choice but to go for the touchdown on fourth down from the 6-yard line.

Johnson seemed to have found Daneault in the back corner of the end zone, but they were unable to connect, leading to a Giant turnover on downs.

“At that point in the game there was still seven minutes left and I told my guys that if we play football we can score three times,” Roberts said. “So it wasn’t about the clock, it was about playing the game. We had them backed up and if we made them work and put the pressure on them, we’d get the ball back and we’d have decent field position.”

Whether the pep talk resonated with his players, Roberts couldn’t have been more accurate in his prediction. Winnisquam was only able to make its way out to its 13-yard line before a fumble allowed the Giants to regain possession inside the Bears 20 line with three minutes remaining. Five plays later, Matt Tetu (97 yards on 22 carries) made his way to the outside on a 4-yard run to tie the game at 6-6. The extra point, however, sailed left of the uprights, allowing the Bears a sigh of relief and eventually another shot at victory in overtime.

The first OT series was led off by Brady, which managed a field goal by Andrew Jousset to make sure that Winnisquam would have to score. The Bears then brought the ball all the way down to the 1-yard line and appeared to score a game-winning touchdown, only to see an aiding-the-runner penalty bring the Bears back out to the 7-yard line, forcing them to respond with their own field goal by Kyle Sawicki.

“That penalty isn’t one you see often, but it looked way too obvious to the official, so he called it,” Roberts said. “The quarterback got stopped at the line and (the two running backs) both basically ran him over to get him into the end zone.”

In the second OT the Brady defense stepped up yet again, allowing just another Sawicki field goal and giving the ball back over to the Giant offense. Roberts’s offense was then able to give the home fans a night to remember on the Johnson 2-yard touchdown run.

The Giants will travel to 0-3 Farmington-Nute on Saturday, while Winnisquam will travel to 3-0 Pelham.

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