|WCA head coach Pete Flammia and his team look on during the second|
half of Tuesday night's game at Ray Snyder Sr. Field. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The second half went in favor of Gilbert/Northwestern, and so did the game by a score of 29-22 at Ray Snyder Sr. Field (Municipal Stadium). It was the season finale for both sides. WCA finished at 3-7 while GN claimed a 5-5 mark.
The Spartans gave themselves a fleeting chance at the end zone on the game's final play, but a scrambling Matt Torres was forced out of bounds by the GN defense on the visiting sideline before he could get a throw off toward the end zone.
After stuffing GN on fourth down, WCA embarked on a final drive from its own 16. The Spartans nearly made the red zone, thanks to a great throw and catch. WCA had one final play with 0.7 seconds left, but couldn't get the ball into the end zone.
The Spartans led 14-0 at halftime, thanks to the efforts of junior quarterback Matt Torres. Torres' scrambling ability led to both scores. WCA had a touchdown erased on a penalty, and after the spot foul, GN forced them into a fourth down. Torres bought time on that fourth down, then found senior Tyler Glenn wide open near the front left pylon for a 6-0 Spartan lead with 4:39 left in the opening quarter.
Torres used his legs again for WCA's second score, but this time he kept it himself. On yet another fourth down, Torres found open space in the middle of the field and ran into the end zone for the score. His two-point conversion pass to senior Jadan Battle put the Spartans ahead 14-0 with 34.4 seconds left in the first half.
GN responded with two touchdowns in the third quarter to tie the game at 14, both scored by Billy Komons. A long run by E.J. Claman set up the second Komons score, with came with 1:48 to play in the third quarter. Chris Nanni, a very effective kicker, buried both extra points.
It took WCA less than two minutes to respond. Torres fired a strike to a streaking Battle, and the senior all-around standout did the rest and found the end zone on a 72-yard scoring strike with 8.2 seconds left in the third quarter. Torres easily scored on the two-point conversion to put WCA ahead 22-14 after three quarters.
It looked like the Spartans had the momentum, but Zach Horvay-McLellan scored on a 13-yard run, then followed it up with a tying conversion rush to make it 22-all with 9:40 to play in the game.
GN held WCA on its next possession, then went ahead on a two-yard touchdown run by Brad Lissy. Nanni's third extra point without a miss put the visitors ahead 29-22 with under six minutes to play.
GN got the ball back again from WCA, but the Spartans came up with a big fourth down stop, which set up the final drive.
It was a tough loss for WCA seniors like Battle, Glenn, Justin Rudel, Nedrion Payne, Christian Calle and Jessah Doctor, but remember that the Spartans were in just their second year of varsity football in 2017. Those seniors have helped build a foundation for the WCA program.
NOTE: Go to The Zone website to see my videos from last night's game.