ANSONIA – With the Ansonia Tigers clinging to a two point lead with 27.4 seconds on the game clock, the Sidney Lehman Catholic Cavaliers split the uprights on a game-winning field goal to defeat the Ansonia Tigers 29-28 and advance in playoff action.
“They made one more play than we did, so good for Lehman,” said Ansonia Coach Eugene Hoening. “I want to congratulate them. I hope they go far in the playoffs. That’s a heck of a team.”
“They have some great skill people and when you get to the playoffs everybody is good,” Hoening continued. “There were plays in other games where we would have broke one off. Well – they tackled us. Our game plan worked. We possessed the ball, we made first downs, we kept it out of their hands, they made some big plays, we just needed to make one more.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers used a seven play 62-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead at 10:23 with a 1-yard Hunter Buckinghan quarterback keeper for the score.
Ansonia used an 85-yard drive to take a 14-0 lead with the big plays, a Brock Shellhaas 18-yard carry form the Cavaliers 46 followed by a 28-yard Shook touchdown run.
Lehman made it a 14-6 game at the half driving 67-yards in six plays, scoring on a 40-yard pass at the 4:01 mark. The PAT kick missed the mark to close out first half scoring.
Sidney used a 57-yard touchdown run at 11:05 in second half play to trail Ansonia 14-12 with the Shelby County school missing its second consecutive PAT kick attempt of the game.
Reece Stammen pushed Ansonia’s lead to 21-12 at 7:42 with a 2-yard dive capping a 74-yard drive.
Lehman used a 3-yard touchdown run and a PAT kick to trail 21-19 with 6:32 showing in the third.
Ansonia opened fourth quarter play upping its lead to 28-19 with Shook scoring from 25-yards out at 7:14 on the clock.
Sidney Lehman used a 15-yard touchdown run at 5:21 to trail 28-26 and earned the win with game-winning field goal.
“That is the problem with seniors,” Coach Hoening said. “You get them where you want them and then they graduate – but they went above and beyond. They exceeded my expectations. Just a great bunch of boys to work with. We’re going to miss every one of them.”
“Now they will be the boys in four or five years when we talk about a position where a kid’s not getting something done, we’ll say – well so and so when he played he could do that. Now these boys will take that role – we’ll use them as examples.”
Coach Hoening continued to give his players praise following the playoff game.
“One of the neat things about coaching, you’re taking the finest a community has,” stated Hoening. “You get to rub shoulders with a lot of great people. I’ve coached teachers, other coaches, doctors, people in business, fathers, people who contribute to the community. I work with the best the community has to offer. What better job is that … I get the satisfaction of what they become years down the road.”
Ansonia closes out the season with an 8-3 record.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Ansonia Tigers score in playoff game with Sidney Lehman Catholic. (Gaylen Blosser photo)