Football: Concord comes up three yards short in overtime thriller against Dover

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 10-21-2023 1:14 AM

CONCORD – Concord football’s final home game of the 2023 season featured a little bit of everything for the Crimson Tide: an onside kick recovery, a blocked punt, an interception and multiple big plays.

But when Dover’s defense stuffed Tide quarterback Colby Nyhan short of the goal line on a 2-point conversion attempt in the bottom of the first overtime, Concord (1-6) once again walked off the field without a win to show for its efforts. In a game that it led 21-7 in the third quarter, the Green Wave (5-2) roared back for a 28-27 overtime victory.

Dover started overtime with possession, and each team had four untimed downs from the 10-yard line to try to score. The Green Wave scored a touchdown on its first play, a 10-yard pass from quarterback Ryder Aubin to receiver Amari Lewis. During Concord’s possession, Nyhan completed a 9-yard pass to tight end Oscar Humelsine Perez and then punched the ball across for a touchdown on a QB sneak two plays later. Down one, head coach Jim Corkum opted to go for the 2-point try and the win instead of the extra point to tie. 

“We wanted to go out and win the game,” he said after the loss. “We didn’t want to just keep trading touchdowns and extra points. You’re playing a team like Dover, it’s tough to sit there and try to out-punch them in an overtime situation. … We wanted to see if we could get those final three yards, but we just came up a little short.”

Still, on the Crimson Tide’s senior night, Corkum walked away more satisfied than not with how his team performed. A few weeks ago following a 34-7 loss to Pinkerton, he outlined the two choices his team had: pack it in or keep fighting. On Friday night, Concord gave it everything it had in the tank.

“I told them I’m so proud of them, the effort they put forward,” Corkum said. “I’m just happy with how our guys fought from start to finish. I hope they had fun. It’s fun to play in games like that against good teams in a competitive game. It’s too bad we came up short. I feel badly for them. I really wanted this game for them.”

Nyhan finished the evening 7-for-11 passing with 114 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 16 times for 72 yards and two additional scores. Junior running back Sawyer McCready accounted for Concord’s other touchdown on a 3-yard run.

Junior Angelino Rodriguez and Perez, a senior, also turned in noteworthy performances.

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Rodriguez, Corkum said, has played mostly with the JV team this season. But with several more players banged up and unable to play, Friday was his opportunity, and he capitalized. Late in the first half, he intercepted a pass from Aubin to thwart the Green Wave’s quest to tie the game before the break. Then on Concord’s third play of the third quarter, Rodriguez broke behind the defense for a 45-yard catch and run. 

“He did a great job. I’m really proud of him,” Corkum said. “He’s been working hard all season. Shows up every day. Loves football, so I’m really happy with his performance.”

As for Perez, he caught the Tide’s first touchdown of the night and had two sacks on defense.

“Oscar’s just been a man for us all year,” Corkum said. “He’s a leader in terms of making a big play when we need it, and he’s always making sure he’s rallying the guys. I’m really happy with how he's played for us this year.”

Perez was one of 12 seniors Concord honored before the start of the game. The class that includes Eli Bahuma, the Tide’s running back who suffered a season-ending injury in the loss to Salem on Sept. 14, running back/receiver Conner Hughes, running back Jackson Borkush and defensive back Levi Madison, have had a significant impact on the program the last several seasons, including last year’s team that reached the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

Now 1-6, the Tide’s playoff window is officially closed. Next Saturday’s game at Windham will be the end – the end for the dozen seniors and the end for a team that had high hopes entering 2023 but just couldn’t quite live up to the bar it set for itself. Of course though, high school sports are about more than the on-field record, and for the Concord football class of 2023, they can walk away confident in the legacy they’re leaving behind.

“They’re a fantastic group,” Corkum said. “We have a lot of guys who have been getting some good playing time since their sophomore, junior year. We have several guys who actually didn’t start playing until their sophomore year, so some of them haven’t even played a full four years of football. They’re a tight group, and they're fun to be around. They make coming to practice every day a joy. We’ve still got more football to play, and I know this might be our last one here, (but) certainly when it is time for our last game, I’ll probably be getting a little bit more emotional thinking about these guys. I’m going to miss them for sure.”