For many Hills West students, September 22nd was the first time they saw this year’s varsity football team. Despite the clouds in the sky and the possibility of rain, the mood was high, and the estimated 300 spectators were excited for a competitive game against West Babylon.
Unfortunately right out of the gate, West Babylon took the lead on a 66 yd rushing touchdown. The point after attempt was blocked, so the score was 0-6 after only a few minutes. After a few back-and-forth possessions in which little happened, the Colts finally stepped up. Quarterback Jake Klose hit receiver Pat Leone for a spectacular catch for a 20 yd gain, which set up a 3 yd touchdown pass by Klose to receiver Cody Clarson. The point after attempt was good so the Colts took the lead 7-6.
The Colts ended the first quarter with the lead, but West Babylon took the lead right back. Their quarterback hit the wide-out downfield for a miraculous one-handed catch that even got applause from the West spectators. The next play West Babylon ran it in for a 17-yd touchdown, followed by a successful 2-point conversion making the score 7-14. After a few 3-and-outs, West Babylon once again exploited the Hills West rushing defense by running in for a 35 yd touchdown followed by another successful 2-pt conversion, making the score 7-22. The following possession by Hills West was dominated by Josh Connor, who kept on finding gaps in the defense for small but important gains. On the 4th down the Colts got a break with a kicker penalty called on West Babylon, which moved the Colts into position to set up a 32 yd field goal. Going into the locker room the Colts were down 10-22.
The Colts got possession first during the second half, but couldn’t make anything of it. Fortunately on the 4th down the punt returner fumbled, and Hills West recovered with good field position. Once again the Colts offense couldn’t make anything of the lucky break. But West Babylon’s quarterback fumbled, the second fumble recovered by the Colts in three minutes. Finally the Colts were able to take advantage of the opponent’s mistakes, as Klose hit Josh Connor in the corner of the endzone for a 15-yd touchdown, for a score of 17-22.
With the lead within one possession, Hills West forced a punt, and got good field position at their 47-yd line. A few quarterback sneaks by Klose, one for 15 yds, led to a 37-yd field goal, making the score a close 20-22 West Babylon lead.
West Babylon once again turned the ball over, as on the 3rd down Josh Connor picked off the ball and returned it 42 yds. That pivotal play set up the 28 yd touchdown run by Kane Boyhle. Hills West went with the gutsy two point conversion, and succeded, making the score 28-22 Hills West.
West Babylon fumbled, this time caused by Hassan Benitez, causing an uproar among the crowd. But three plays later Jake Klose threw an interception of his own, which set up West Babylon to work its way downfield while eating a huge chunk of the clock. Ultimately West Babylon scored a touchdown on a 15 yd pass with 57.8 seconds left, making the score 29-28 West Babylon.
With less than a minute left, the offense tried to pull off a miracle, but 2 incomplete passes and a missed 4th down conversion ended the game with the final score of 28-29. For many in the crowd it was a heart-breaking lose, as the Colts were so close, but not close enough.