Dukes win thriller in overtime

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2007

WINDSOR—On Friday morning before Windsor’s football team hosted Washington & Lee, Windsor’s Ryan Acey had never played in an overtime game and had never caught a game-winning touchdown pass.

On Friday night, he did both.

Acey hauled in the floating pass from Kwamane Harris on the first play of overtime, then caught the two-point conversion pass from Harris that held up against Washington & Lee and gave the Dukes a 22-20 non-district win – their third victory in five games.

But it was the defense that stepped up on Washington & Lee’s point-after try and stopped the potential game-tying run two yards shy of the goal line.

Trailing 14-8 at the half, Windsor tied the game with 4:03 left in the third quarter on a two-yard run around the left end by Taury Pittman. The rest of the game was a tug-of-war of field position, and Windsor was losing.

&uot;We played most of the fourth quarter on their end of the field,&uot; said coach Bruce Carroll.

The Dukes dealth with penalties, untimely turnovers and a Washington & Lee offense that moved the ball but could not score.

&uot;I think the penalties killed us all night,&uot; Carroll said.

But the Dukes moved the ball near the end of the fourth quarter, moving from deep in their own end to the Washington & Lee 37-yard line before Harris’ pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted with six seconds left, forcing overtime.

Moving the ball that far up the field that late in the game &uot;gave us momentum,&uot; Carroll said.

There’s a brief break between regulation and overtime, in which each team gets the ball on the 10-yard line with three downs to score until a winner is decided.

Windsor had the ball first in the overtime, and Carroll said it took &uot;about five seconds&uot; to decide on a play.

&uot;It’s a 10-yard pass,&uot; Carroll said. &uot;That’s a tough pass for a high school team to defend.&uot;

&uot;We knew the play when we went into the huddle,&uot; Acey said.

Harris dropped back and had time to wait for the senior tight end to get free near the corner on a crossing route.

Then the two connected on the two-point conversion.

Washington & Lee also scored on its try from the 10-yard line, but took two running plays to do so. The play was stopped inside the 1 on a fumble. The second run was successful, but the Windsor defense stacked up the conversion run, securing the win and causing the Windsor players and coaches to run onto the field in celebration.

&uot;It didn’t matter what play we called,&uot; Carroll said. &uot;The kids worked hard, and they were going to win the game.&uot;

As for Acey’s overtime catches, Carroll said, &uot;I can’t talk about him without talking about his brother, Anthony Cruz. Their daddy’s a brick mason and they know what work is. They come out here to work every day.&uot;

Washington & Lee took the early lead by recovering a fumble and returning it 90 yards for the game’s first score.

Layfette Murphy followed with a 33-yard run for Windsor, and Harris connected with Cruz for the two-point conversion.

Washington & Lee scored its final touchdown just before the half.

For Windsor, which faces Arcadia on the road Friday, Murphy rushed 14 times for 110 yards, Pittman ran nine times for 62 yards and Harris ran it 14 times for 42 yards. Harris was 13-of-25 passing for 142 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

&uot;We just felt,&uot; Carroll said, &uot;like the kids were going to win this.&uot;